Reply To: National Gallery Extension

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I like the Museum of Scotland, but I’m not so sure about this matching-stone business. Modern buildings seldom model stone in the same way as old ones did – they merely use stone as a surface material.

Consequently, identical stone on a new building can look very different to that of its neighbours. Given which, a contrast may well be better than a match.

– same applies to brick. New British Library is suposedly the same red brick as 19th century St. Pancras Station next door. Even with the station cleaned, it looks nothing like.

Even when old-fashioned mouldings are used, matching stone still doesn’t necessarily work. Think of Norman Foster’s South Portico in the British Museum Great Court. The French limestone is actually identical to Portland stone, as used on the 150-year old surrounding facades. But Foster’s portico is brand-new and looks it. Not least because it hasn’t been weathered for a century and a half.

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