Category: architecture

One of the loveliest and most peaceful spaces in London is literally in the centre of one of the busiest. The Tower of London gets some two million visitors a year, and in high season one can wait several hours to shuffle past the Crown Jewels, and the space in the White Tower around the […]
I actually thought it might be a good idea. It was certainly an idea worth exploring, and perhaps wacky/left field enough to work; plant a hill in the centre of the city, with flowers and trees. Bring a spot of the old rus to the very urbe Oxford Street. Give Nash’s poor, lost, isolated Marble […]
There are quite a number of ‘Holland Houses’ in the capital – the remains of a Jacobean country home in Holland Park, Kensington; a school in Edgware; a student hostel near Victoria – but it’s only outside Holland House in Bury Street in The City (a stone’s throw from the Gherkin), that they still fly […]
Don’t call it a moat. Let’s be clear about that from the start; it’s not a moat – it’s a lake. Well, that’s according to the US Embassy. We’re talking about the stretch of water that separates the main embassy building (or, more properly, the ‘Chancery’ of the Embassy) from the road. There’s a patch […]
farm st church
The Victorians loved the medieval. The ‘gothic revival’ actually started earlier – in the late 1700s/early 1800s as a reaction to classicism – but it was mid-century that saw it flourish. For many, this architectural style is far too ‘fussy’ – there is just too much detail, colour, decoration, too much of everything. But despite […]
“Miss the Tower of London, if you have to, but don’t miss this” wrote Ian Nairn in his 1966 guide, Nairn’s London. A Nash terrace? A Wren church? No – the inside of Buzz Bingo in Tooting. Of course, Nairn din’t know it as a bingo hall, but as the Granada cinema, and it dates […]
I’ve tried hard to like the Walkie Talkie, Rafael Vinoly’s skyscraper at 20 Fenchurch Street, but so far I’ve been unsuccessful. The thing dominates the surrounding streets, blocking out the whole sky from the narrow cobbled alleyways that lead up to Eastcheap, and its solitary position away from the cluster of tall glass and steel […]
london society development plan
Before Abercrombie and Forshaw, with their 1943 and 1944 plans for modernising London , with new ring roads, ‘zoned’ areas and satellite new towns, there was the London Society‘s Development Plan. Put together between 1914 and 1918 (the coincidence that both plans were the product of wartime is interesting), the Society’s plan grew out of […]
Rogers' Lloyd's Building reflected in Foster's Willis Building
In 1978, the year after architect Richard Rogers’ Pompidou Centre opened in Paris, construction started on his first major London project, The Lloyd’s Building in Lime Street. Built to house the London Insurance Market, this was the first “high tech” building in the UK and there is still nothing quite like it. The building is “inside […]
The Monument and the Shard
Climb the 311 stairs today to the top of the Monument and the the 21st century City spreads out around you. To the north the Walkie Talkie seems close enough to touch, and behind that are the Cheesegrater, the Gherkin, Heron Tower and the other towers of skyscraper alley. To the south the view is […]
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