Robert Bevan of Building Design Magazine
And by way of achieving this, there is, in addition to the attributed charms of Vanbrugh and Robert Adam's architecture, now the singularly handsome work of Stanton Williams to admire.'
Paul Williams, partner in charge of architects, Stanton Williams, found a Robert Adam drawing in John Soane's Museum that clearly showed the house had once had a service wing attached to its north face where other small buildings still exist, like a brew-house and chapel (one of Capability Brown's few architectural projects). In Paul Williams' view, the new extension – a contemporary foil to the existing house – restores the relationship between the buildings by occupying an unsightly gap:

"It was almost as if a tooth was missing",
he says.

Restoration of the classical parkland will further enhance the fusion between the old and new buildings. From the March 2009 opening, visitors can enjoy the network of footpaths laid out by 'Capability' Brown which restores the historic balance of trees and shrubs in the woodland and offers improved access and new views of the gallery and landscape.
Architects Stanton Williams began transforming Compton Verney House into a state-of-the art gallery in 1997, in collaboration with conservation specialists Rodney Melville & Partners. Their work received a RIBA award in June 2004 for

'an extremely well conceived, organized and executed scheme'.

This has entailed meticulous restoration of the original fabric of the House, installation of the high-tech environmental and security controls necessary to meet international gallery standards, and a new, purpose-built extension housing a temporary exhibitions gallery and a learning centre with workshop and seminar facilities, bookshop, café, cloakrooms and office.
'This interface between the old and new is harmonious yet forceful and one of the rare recent examples of such successful grafts in this country. In Italy they happen all the time, but here such dialogues are few and even then are usually embedded within or between buildings (such as the Sackler galleries at the Royal Academy)...

A sober approach to these issues by Stanton Williams has resulted in the exemplary restoration of a grade I listed house to public art gallery use and a new extension which is consciously subservient to the four-square main house which is its constant reference point. It is all about creating a new order that responds to the classical order of the mansion.
26 October 2016