6 Burlington Gardens - London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 30.591 W 000° 08.420
30U E 698436 N 5710402
Quick Description: Six Burlington Gardens lies on the south east side of Burlington Gardens. It was designed by Sir James Pennethorne and built for the University of London in 1866-69. Today it forms a part of the Royal Academy with Burlington House.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 5/27/2014 9:05:53 AM
Waymark Code: WMKTBV
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member razalas
Views: 0

Long Description:

The building is Grade II* listed with the entry at the English Heritage website telling us:

Built as the headquarters of the University of London, now museum. 1866-69 by Sir James Pennethorne. Portland stone and pink sandstone; slate roof.

Boldly modelled free Renaissance classicism, richly carved and endowed with free standing statues sculpted by J. Durham, P. MacDowell, W. Theed, E. W. Wyon, J. S. Westmacott, W. F. Woodington and M. Noble. 2 tall storeys and basement. Main centre block of 7 bays with flanking square pavilion-towers, 3 bay wings and flanking archways. The centrepiece has a projecting colonnaded portico approached by balustrated steps at sides. Arcaded upper storey with giant order of Corinthian columns between the pavilion-towers which have square attics bearing clock face and weathervane dial. The wings have statues in niches to ground storey and 3 light windows above articulated by Corinthian columns. Enriched cornices and balustraded parapets. The portico surmounted by seated scientific worthies and standing figures of same on the balustraded roof parapet. Carriage archways to east and west, the former partly blind. Returns of red and black brick and sandstone.

Although altered the interior retains grand clerestory- lit central stairwell, hall and landing each being screened from well by 3 large arches. The stairs rise one flight and then divide. Ornate plasterwork to 1st floor ceilings etc.

Wikipedia also tells us:

6 Burlington Gardens is a Grade II*-listed building in Mayfair, London. Built for the University of London, it has been used by various institutions in the course of its history, including the Civil Service Commission, the British Museum and, currently, the Royal Academy of Arts.

University of London and the Civil Service Commission

The Italianate building was designed by Sir James Pennethorne between 1867 and 1870 as headquarters for the University of London. It occupied the northernmost section of the former garden of Burlington House. It was a grand building, but not especially large. The University of London is a federal university and this early central building contained little besides examination halls and a few offices; the premises of several of the constituent colleges were larger. The university vacated Burlington Gardens in 1900 for the Imperial Institute building in South Kensington. Briefly the headquarters the National Antarctic Expedition, in 1902 it was given to the Civil Service Commission.

Museum of Mankind

In 1970, this was the site of the Department of Ethnography of the British Museum, which housed its collections from the Americas, Africa, the Pacific and Australia, as well as tribal Asia and Europe, because of lack of space in the Museum's main building in Bloomsbury. Between 1970 and 1997, the building, as the Museum of Mankind, hosted around 75 exhibitions, including many famous ones such as Nomad and City, 1976, and Living Arctic, 1987. It was created by Keeper of Ethnography Adrian Digby in the 1960s, and opened by his successor William Fagg. Fagg was succeeded by Malcolm Mcleod in 1974, and by John Mack in 1990. The museum ceased exhibiting at Burlington Gardens in 1997 and the Department of Ethnography moved back to the British Museum in Bloomsbury in 2004.

Royal Academy and private tenants

After the ethnography collection’s return to Bloomsbury the building was purchased by the Royal Academy. In 1998 an architectural competition was held to connect it with Burlington House, which was won by Michael Hopkins & Partners. This was abandoned as the Heritage Lottery Fund was not persuaded that there was sufficient need for the project, which would have cost £80 million.

In about 2005 the building was brought back into use by the Royal Academy, the tenant of the original wing of Burlington House and the wing which lies between the two buildings. It was used mainly by the Royal Academy Schools. On 29 August 2006, the building was damaged by a fire, but there was no loss of Academy artworks as it was being prepared for a future exhibition.

In 2006 Colin St John Wilson drew up a masterplan for the whole complex, which included a more modest link between the buildings than that proposed by Hopkins. However, Wilson died the following year, which led to another competition being held in 2008, won by David Chipperfield Architects. In order to raise capital for Chipperfield’s design, the building was lent to the commercial gallery Haunch of Venison, which occupied the site from 2009 to 2011 while their existing building was being renovated. In 2012 space in the building was lent to the Pace Gallery, which will occupy it on a 15-year lease. A second application to the HLF for £12.7m to go towards a £36 million project, was successful in 2013. This will include a sculpture court in the bridge between the buildings, a lecture hall where that of the University of London originally stood and a permanent home for Giampietrino’s full-size copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper (currently on loan to Magdalen College, Oxford). It is hoped that redevelopment will be complete in time for the Academy’s 250th anniversary in 2018.

The Encyclopedia website tells us about Sir James:

Pennethorne, Sir James (1801–71). English architect and planner, most of whose work was for Nash or the Government. Brought up in Nash's household, he entered Nash's office in 1820 and worked with A. C. Pugin. Later he completed the Picturesque Park Villages, Regent's Park. In 1832 he was employed by the Commissioners of Woods and Forests and in 1843 became Architect to the Commissioners. He designed Victoria Park, Bethnal Green, Kennington Park, and Battersea Park, and prepared many schemes for urban improvements. His best-known public building is the Public Records Office, Chancery Lane, London (1851–70), in which the module was arrived at by cells made of iron with shallow brick vaults, the whole of fire-resistant construction. He also designed the sumptuous State Ball Room, Buckingham Palace (1853–5), the Duchy of Cornwall Offices, Buckingham Gate (1854), and what is now the Museum of Mankind, London (1866–70). His brother John Pennethorne (1808–88), was also a pupil of Nash, and made detailed studies of the optical corrections at the Parthenon, Athens, which he published in 1844, and which prompted Penrose to pursue the matter.

Architect: Sir James Pennethorne

Prize received: RIBA Royal Gold Medal

In what year: 1865

Website about the Architect: [Web Link]

Website about the building: [Web Link]

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