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  • chaithanya ganesh

Architecture in the City - London, England.


London, a place of fantasy for a wider population is the largest and the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. The London cityscape includes a wide array of architectural styles from a variety of historical periods.

There isn’t anywhere else in the world quite like London when it comes to architectural diversity. It is a city known worldwide for its varied architecture rather than a homogeneous pattern of structures. The architectural style/pattern ranges from old to new, traditional to contemporary, gothic to roman, and innumerable styles in between.

London's Architecture is a visual and illustrated guide to pre-historic times.

"London has hundreds of beautiful old buildings, some obvious, some less obvious, but all exquisite. The best contemporary architecture is when new builds reuse what’s there, and knit themselves into the city. To do that well, you have to think about the context of the building, its use, and the neighborhood. It’s not about rubbing something out and starting again". (will be in italics)

And London had done pure justice to the above statement. In this blog, we will be looking at the top ten iconic architectural structures of London and their significance.

1. Tower of London


Tower of London is the oldest intact building in the capital with almost an age of thousand years. Throughout the centuries, this building has had many incarnations yet serving as the royal household. In the early 13th century it was even found that exotic creatures like polar bears, lions, and elephants living inside the tower.

2. British Museum


It is the world's first-ever national public museum which opened the door in 1753. British museum gives the opportunity to the visitors to witness 8 million wondrous objects, which were collected during the British era. It is often quoted as a public institution dedicated to human history, art, and culture.

3. St. Paul's Cathedral


St. Paul's Cathedral - the majestic dome of Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece, which also did dominate London's skyline for 300 years. The Baroque style cathedral of Wren was completed on Christmas day in 1711 and since then it has remained a national treasure. One of the highlights is the whispering gallery and 528-step climb to the top of the dome.

4. Houses of Parliament

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Houses of Parliament is considered as the finest example of Gothic Revitalist architecture in the world. The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was built by Sir Charles Barry, but the real brains were of Augustus Pugin who was just 23 years old when he was called to help with the design of the building.

5. Tate Modern


Tate Modern is recognized as a gem by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Tate is an institution that houses, in a network of four art museums, the United Kingdom's national collection of British art, and international modern and contemporary art. It is not a government institution, but its main sponsor is the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport.

6. The Gherkin


The Gherkin is Norman Foster's bullet-shaped building that happens to be one of the first truly great contemporary skyscrapers to sculpt London's skyline. With a height of 180m ( 590 ft ), the glittering glass gherkin is three times the height of Niagara falls.

7. London Aquatics Centre


The London Aquatics Centre is an indoor facility with two 50-meter swimming pools and a 25-meter diving pool in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London

This majestic building bears the trademark sweeping curves of the late Zaha Hadid inspired by the fluidity of moving water.

8. National Theatre


The Royal National Theatre in London, commonly known as the National Theatre, is one of the United Kingdom's three most prominent publicly funded performing arts venues, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House. Internationally, it is known as the National Theatre of Great Britain. It was designed by Ar. Denys Lasdun.

Prince Charles described it as “a clever way of building a nuclear power station in the middle of London without anyone objecting” and a Radio Times poll found it to be in the top five of both the most hated and the most loved British buildings. And often this theatre is considered as an important icon of "Brutalism".

9. Lloyd's building


Lloyd's building was designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour+Partners.

The Lloyd's building is the home of the insurance institution Lloyd's of London. It is located on the former site of East India House in Lime Street, in London's main financial district, the City of London. This structure was nicknamed inside-out building due to all its services being placed on the outside, giving it a futuristic, machine-like exterior.

10. The Shard


The Shard also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge, and formerly London Bridge Tower, is a 72-storey skyscraper, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, in Southwark, London, that forms part of the Shard Quarter development.

The structure soars to a height of 309.6m (1016 ft) containing its own vertical city within. It is relatively a newcomer to London's cityscape but has already managed to gain a famous tag worldwide.

There is a lot more to explore in London with respect to architecture and it is recognized as an architecturally sound city. A passionate architect cannot really tour around the country without an "awe moment" every five minutes. London is famous worldwide and so do its architecture and it has also successfully proven the city's accepting nature through the mix of influences in their design.