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Soane and Architecture’s Interior
Megan Panzano
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On August 30, 1812, John Soane stood at the active construction site at No.13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields (13 LIF), London, examining the work surrounding him. The front brick wall of what would become his famous house-museum had just been constructed and some of the building’s floors had been inserted, but the project remained largely an empty shell. At this site, most responsible for his own public “image-building,” Soane did something unusual; he created a story of the building through the image of it as a ruin (Figure 1). Started on the same August date of bustling construction, Crude Hints Towards an History of My House was a manuscript Soane wrote during phase one of 13 LIF, though the story imagines a completed, deteriorating architecture found in the future by visitors who wonder about its origins and function. The text foresees the work’s future perception, not as a house or as a museum, but as a Roman temple, a burial site, a monastery, or (even) a magician’s lair. During construction, Soane conjured images of other architectures, but not the one he built. Crude Hints articulates that the act of building, for Soane, revealed things one could not yet see and touch, as much as it made tangible form and space.

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