Piecing together the history of the Royal Albert Hall

Our B.15 Modelmaking Workshop has collaborated with the V&A and the Building Centre on a new exhibition titled ‘Shaping Space - Architectural Models Revealed’.

Royal Albert Hall modelThe exhibition explores the role of physical models in architecture through their history, craft and changing technologies that support their continued use in new digital ways.

The workshop made a significant unique contribution to the project that has helped researchers better understand the design process behind one of the UK’s most iconic buildings; The Royal Albert Hall. Records of planning meetings that took place during the Hall’s development made mention of a model being used to inform design decisions. It was assumed this model was lost until 2019 when it was rediscovered in a heavily damaged state in a room at the Hall itself. Efforts were made to restore the piece and a reconstructed fragment was completed showing a part of what might have been.

B.15 staff took on the task of analysing the fragment in order to replicate the model in a more complete form as it might have appeared in the mid-1800s. This involved the comparison of reference images and original plans. Workshop technicians Scott Miller and Saul Parker-Backhouse began the task alongside Manchester School of Architecture students Ruben Greyson and Cezara Mișca to produce a faithful interpretation of the original in time for the exhibition opening.

Workshop Technician Scott Miller said: “It was a pleasure to collaborate on such a precarious project and a truly insightful experience for me, Saul and our student assistants.

"We look forward to our continued involvement with the exhibition and are honoured to support the V&A, Building Centre and superb range of architectural practices that make up the content of the Shaping Space exhibition.” 

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