I first came across Soane’s Bank of England in a painting by Gandy. It was another image that stayed with me throughout my architectural education.  As a picturesque ruin, it anticipates that element of architecture that can be forgotten: time.

The building is undergoing this process of gentle decline, and though not as far gone as Gandy speculates, I wanted to make a drawing that formed a dialogue with his, cataloguing a particular moment of its change.

This is to say nothing, however, of The Bank of England’s beauty.  Soane’s work is first and foremost a walled city within the city, but such is the wall’s delicacy, that one might not suppose it.  The careful rhythm of solid and void, light and shadow, invites the eye to linger on the composition.

There is a quiet grace and dignity to Soane’s ribbon wall as a back drop to city life. It was a pleasure to study it, and carefully catalogue a small moment of its life.



4 thoughts on “The Bank of England

  1. As a student I too was impressed with Soane’s Bank of England. How such an enormous and varied mosaic of spaces could be arranged on a plan into a simple overall entity. I hadn’t seen Gandy’s painting before but obviously the ruined fantasy theme is a brilliant device for making those spaces three-dimensional and internally visible. The romantic narrative of gentle entropy is more accessible than an abstract sectional drawing. Gandy cleverly leaves salient structure intact to help identify and define spaces but also associate Soane’s classical with similarly ruined Roman antiquities in Italy.
    Looking a little deeper at Gandy, he was the top 3D visualiser or his day and worked with Soane for 30 years. Sadly, he died in a mental institute.

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