Drawing Soane’s

Drawing Soane’s. © Eu Jin Lim.


Text and drawings by Eu Jin Lim


In most cases, a successful building usually comes with a story, whether it’s a good or a bad one. The “character” of the space or the “character” in the space is therefore undeniable in narrating the plot in architecture.

Sir John Soane’s museum in London is a building that cannot exist without its characters and their stories. It is a building that was built in phases and closely related to Soane’s own personal life, from his knighted years to the later solidarity and betrayed second half of his life. (Soane died in 1837 estranged from his surviving son, George.)

This project borrows the license to experiment and draw in homage to Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Joseph Michael Gandy, and William Hogarth—to whom Soane himself highly associated with during the process of building.

This drawing experiment started off with the hypothesis that traditional orthographic architectural drawings are not sufficient to tell the full story of a building. The project uses the medium of graphic novels to narrate the architecture hand in hand with the hidden stories behind objects, materials, sequence, and most importantly the intangible qualities of the museum.

Approaching the building from the perspective of Soane’s life was crucial to better understand how the building was used. Traces of domestic patterns and behavior can be seen throughout the architecture.

There are “rooms” of emotions that can only be narrated if one understands the journey through his life. A walk through the place requires one to put on his lens to understand the plot he built up behind the walls.

Decorative and ornamental objects may not be favorable in modern buildings, but they are part of the skin of the rooms at Soane’s. They were planned with the spaces and therefore the objects mean as much to the space as the space to the objects. They are objects specifically chosen by Soane to achieve a certain mood in each space. Every object tells a story.

A home is a museum of one’s personal life. A place where there can only be spaces that are unique to one’s personal character. It is an interesting typology when the architecture here is a mix of both.

It takes the architect’s unique persona to decide, compose, and pick every single item, material, and shape that will go into a space. In the case at Soane’s, the experience through the building is almost as if one is flipping through the pages of his diary.















The drawings were produced as part of the 2014-2015 Masters by Conversion course at the Mackintosh School of Architecture.


Eu Jin Lim is an artist currently practicing architecture in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Eu Jin graduated from The Glasgow School of Arts and has gained graphical and architectural experience both locally and abroad. He is practicing in the architecture industry on a day-to-day basis while continuing his passion for narrative drawings producing illustrations that contest the dogma of traditional architectural renderings with the hypothesis that the traditional orthographical architectural drawing is maybe not enough to tell the story of a place.

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