June 2013

The Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) is partnering with the Architecture Department of the University of Greenwich in an event at the 2013 London Festival of Architecture over the weekend of 8-9 June. Queen’s Paper House will see a giant, inflatable, temporary structure situated on Lower Grand Square. The 30ft cubed installation, made out of white paper, will be sited between the iconic domes of the ORNC.

The inflatable will also do what Sir Christopher Wren never dared to do, sit between the Queen’s House - Inigo Jones’ celebrated Palladian Villa - and the river. When he was invited to design a Royal Hospital for Seamen to complement the Royal Hospital at Chelsea, Wren initially proposed a single domed structure on the site of the former Greenwich Palace, but was 'encouraged' not to block the view from the Queen’s House to the river. Inigo Jones' masterpiece, which is now part of Royal Museums Greenwich, thus became the focus of the axis of Wren’s twin domed design. Visitors will be able to enter the paper structure as well as seeing it from the outside.

'Queen’s Paper House has been conceived as a temporary annex, an extension and theatrical masque to Inigo Jones’ masterpiece,' says Simon Herron, Academic Leader, Architecture Department at the University of Greenwich. 'With its clean lines, that are typical of both Palladian and modernist architecture, it will sit in stark contrast to the Baroque glory of the buildings of the Old Royal Naval College.'

Later in the festival the ORNC will launch its new Art and Architecture tour. The one-hour long tours, led by the ORNC’s expert Yeomen, will take visitors from the 21st century visitor centre, Discover Greenwich, on a journey through the landscaped grounds and magnificent interiors of the former Royal Hospital for Seamen. En route visitors will learn more about the commissions and inspirations that shaped the world famous buildings as well as their celebrated designers and artists – Wren, Hawsmoor, Thornhill, Stuart and West. The tours, priced £5, will run daily at 14.00 from 24 – 30 June and then weekly every Monday and Thursday. 

'We are delighted to be partnering the Architecture department of the University of Greenwich on Queen’s Paper House for the London Architecture Festival,' says Brendan McCarthy, CEO of the Greenwich Foundation, the charity established in 1997 to manage the ORNC. 'The installation is a serious commentary on architectural development, but it is also a fun way to celebrate both historic and contemporary design.'

'We are also pleased to be able to launch our special Art and Architecture tours during the Festival', he adds. 'The tours will give our visitors a deeper insight into the history of the site from the earliest surviving buildings through to our state-of-the-art visitor centre, Discover Greenwich.'

There will also be a programme of free workshops and activities associated with the Queen’s Paper House. For further information visit http://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/index.php/calendar

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