What’s happening at Clandon Park in 2018?

The exterior of Clandon Park following the end of the salvage project
Published : 20 Mar 2018 Last update : 26 Apr 2018

2018 will be another important year for the restoration project at Clandon Park. With an architect-led design team in place following 2017’s international design competition, we now embark on a year of careful planning and consultation. Hear from Project Director, Paul Cook, on the next steps for the largest conservation project undertaken by the National Trust in a generation.

The quality of the entries for the international design competition was superb. The competition enabled us to explore ideas, engage with the design community and speak to our local audience via the concepts display on site. The competition was about finding the right team rather than the right design, so the work they’d done in the past, their attitude to the brief and their ideas were the key criteria for the jury. 

We’re absolutely delighted to have a team on board of the calibre of Allies and Morrison. Accompanying them on the Clandon Park design team are Purcell (conservation architects), Price & Myers (structural engineers) and Max Fordham (services engineers). A landscape architect will be appointed after further consultation.

Short section from the restoration of the Marble Hall, through the series of grand rooms of the piano nobile
A design concept for the restoration, reimagining and rebuilding of Clandon
Short section from the restoration of the Marble Hall, through the series of grand rooms of the piano nobile

Getting off to a strong start

The competition was really thorough. It’s incredibly reassuring to know that we’ve gone through such a strong process of selection, ensuring that we finished the competition with the right people in the right places. 

This was one of the most important appointments we’ll make so it was essential that we got it right. The process allowed us to make the most informed decision possible and Clandon is a project that deserves that level of attention to detail. 

Behind the scenes in 2018

This is a very exciting year, setting the project up for success. It’s a big planning year, central to which is a full feasibility study where we review all our options. There are a huge number of decisions to make on the way to a final design, assessing choices on every element of the project. On such a complex project we need to consider every option so that we’re able to make the right recommendations and decisions.

Key themes will focus on the conservation of the collection, planning our conservation and construction methods, reviewing schemes for heritage impact and further research and investigations following the guidance in our Conservation Plan. This plan draws together all the research carried out since the fire and will inform our decisions on Clandon’s future. We’ll be sharing its contents in due course.

" All of this work is to make sure that, as well as a thoughtful and scholarly restoration, we instil the building with relevance for the future and allow visitors to discover something new each time they visit."
- Paul Cook, Project Director

We’ll also be developing our vision for the stories we might wish to tell around a rebuilt Clandon Park and the exciting prospect of how we treat the gardens, making sure the whole property reads as one.

All of this work is to make sure that, as well as a thoughtful and scholarly restoration, we instil the building with relevance for the future and allow visitors to discover something new each time they visit.

How we’re making our decisions 

Part of this very considered approach involves consulting the key specialists in each field. We’ve spent a lot of time working with experts up to this point, through the salvage phase and the competition process, and we’ll continue to do that this year.

We want our local audience, our members and visitors, to express their views about Clandon. We want there to be an open dialogue so that people can contribute and, importantly, feel able to contribute, and we’ll continue to show everyone what we’re doing so that they can question and comment. This two-way flow of information is important - particularly with our local community - to help us shape the future of Clandon.

Welcoming our visitors back

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about this project is that we’ve been able to open the site to visitors throughout. Last year we extended the purpose-built walkway further into the house. For 2018 visitors will again be able to experience the building via the walkway. Later in the year we’ll be making even more of the house available to see, including some incredibly atmospheric spaces that haven’t been accessible to the public since the fire.

Exploring further inside Clandon Park on a walkway tour
Visitors on the walkway at Clandon Park
Exploring further inside Clandon Park on a walkway tour

This is a real opportunity for our audience to see where we’re up to and join the conversation. It’s also fantastic to have our wonderful team of volunteers back onsite, supporting the project. Throughout the year we’ll continue to look for ways to bring our decision-making to life for visitors to see, both onsite and online. 

With the restoration due to begin from 2019 onwards, visiting Clandon now presents a unique opportunity to see the extraordinary bare bones of this grand Palladian mansion, in its post-fire state, before access may become more limited further down the line.

Join the conversation

We want our local audience, our members and our visitors, to express their views about our work at Clandon. If you'd like to get involved then it's easy to get in touch.