A serendipitous moment and a hint of what’s to come

Sensing Spaces

Published 14 January 2014

Shortly after I had been sent the initial ideas by Siza and Souto de Moura I headed into the Main Galleries to consider how they would work.

  • On my way I passed a colleague who was carrying the below sketch by Sir Hugh Casson PRA. It was delicately wrapped in tissue paper on the way to be framed for the Casson exhibition which was to shortly open. It was a serendipitous moment. Siza had proposed working with columns in the courtyard, and Souto de Moura with door arches in the Main Galleries.

    On looking at the sketch, I saw that there was indeed a place within the Royal Academy – between courtyard and galleries where the columns themselves met the door arches. Every time I now walk up the main staircase from the entrance hall I appreciate this junction. How else might these architects make us look more carefully at the spaces around us?

  • Sir Hugh Casson PRA, Grand staircase, Burlington House

    Sir Hugh Casson PRA, Grand staircase, Burlington House, c. 1977.

    Watercolour with pen and ink on paper. 347 x 250 mm. Photo: Royal Academy of Arts/Prudence Cuming Associates Limited. Estate of the Artist..