Roofscape and landscape

©National Trust/Lucy Reynolds

©National Trust/Lucy Reynolds

When you have a big roof that leaks, you have a big problem.

©National Trust/Steve Heywood

©National Trust/Steve Heywood

At Castle Drogo the roof has never really been watertight since the castle was built by Sir Edwin Lutyens for grocery magnate Julius Drewe between 1910 and 1927. But then they do say that all great architecture leaks…

©Lobster Vision

©Lobster Vision

Following intermittent repairs over the years, the National Trust has now initiated a five-year project, with major support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, to finally sort out the problems with the Drogo roof.

©National Trust

©National Trust

A huge and almost Piranesian scaffolding structure has been erected to provide access and protection for the contractors.

©National Trust/Lucy Reynolds

©National Trust/Lucy Reynolds

A two-layer membrane designed by Bauder will be introduced to cope with the extreme temperature fluctuations and heavy rainfall of the Dartmoor area. This will involve the removal and reinstatement of 2,355 separate granite blocks weighing 680 tonnes.

Channel 4 television has just broadcast a special Time Team programme about the restoration of Castle Drogo, entitled The Edwardian Grand Design.

9 Responses to “Roofscape and landscape”

  1. Susan Walter Says:

    Wow! What an undertaking.

    (and whoever ‘they’ are that say that all great architecture leaks are idiots.)

  2. Sue Rugg Says:

    I was enthusiastically looking forward to the programme but was left very disappointed. It was really about Lutyens with only a nod to the work going on at Castle Drogo. There must be ample material for the NT to encourage interest from another programme maker, who would really tell the story of this huge restoration project, including sourcing the funding (which can’t have been easy) to the individuals who are making it happen. I’m sure someone is keeping a record as the work progresses ……?

  3. The Devoted Classicist Says:

    What great news!

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Susan, it seems to have been Frank Lloyd Wright who originated that phrase – the classic virtuoso architect with an ego to match 🙂 I suppose he made the ultimate creative use of ‘the leak’ at Falling Water…

    And there is even a PhD study on that phrase and phenomenon: I know of your struggles (ultimately successful I believe?) with an old building with ingress issues, so I can see why you disagree!

    Sue, I am sorry to hear the programme didn’t show more about the current project – I agree it would make fascinating viewing. Perhaps the programme-makers can be persuaded to keep coming back to Drogo while the works continue and to make a second installment when the project is complete.

    • Susan Walter Says:

      Even FLW must have had second thoughts about his aphorism — wasn’t his next house somewhere in the desert? 🙂 And yes, we don’t leak any more (at least through the roof), but I did break one of my own house purchasing rules, which is ‘never buy a house with a hole in the roof’. My second rule of house buying is ‘never buy a mill’, for much the same reasons, and I have managed to avoid that so far.

      Someone once told me that Norman Foster’s own apartment, in the Riverside Apartments, leaks.

  5. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Presumably he is proud of that, then – badge of honour 🙂

  6. Carlton Says:

    A post on how the NT conservators are dealing with the floods would be interesting 🙂

  7. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Yes indeed, I must check if there are any images available.

  8. Bill Barksfield Says:

    Yes, as noted above, an interesting programme on Lutyens but far too little on Drogo. I noted that the programme said it had a “unique” behind the scenes view of the renovations. Well, not exactly unique. Heritage of Industry on its South West Country House tour last year was granted a fascinating behind the scenes view, thanks to Bryher and Wesley who will now presumably be adding ‘as seen on TV’ to their many qualifications 🙂

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