Architecture in the UK – London’s Historical Landmarks
London is a diverse city with a mixture of old and new architecture. In the start of a new series of blogs exploring architecture, we take a look at some of the greatest architectures in London and just how exactly they have made an impact on the way we see our country. We start with the classics, some of the most iconic structures in the Capital, buildings that are recognised worldwide.
Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament)
The Palace of Westminster, or more commonly known as The Houses of Parliament has played a huge part in the history of London, home of parliament and Big Ben.
Our modern parliament is the result of architect Charles Barry’s perpendicular gothic style which was chosen in February 1936 to grace the River Thames, with an estimated construction time of six years, at an estimated cost of £724,986, the project in fact took more than 30 years, at a cost of over £2 million.
Did you know that the first stone was laid by Charles Barry’s own wife on 27th August 1840?
St Pancras Station and Hotel
This beautiful International station was designed by William Henry Barlow in 1863 costing £320,000 for the actual station and £117,000 for the roof. The hotel, designed by Sit George Gilbert Scott was originally part of the station as a Grade 1 listed Gothic front façade that was created as part of a competition in 1865, with a total bill of £438,000 for the finished build. The Midland Grand Hotel soon closed to be railway offices and was reopened the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in 2011. A beautiful Victorian building that still stands proud!
The Shard is the most modern building of this list with construction beginning in March 2009 and finished July 2012, but didn’t open its doors until February 2013. The entire building is made of glass, and displays a breath taking view of London from the top. This spectacular building designed by Renzo Piano cost £435 million, but is sure to make this all back with the outstanding restaurants and hotel inside. Dominating our skylines, this modern design gets London away from the historical background, and gives an insight in what the future might hold for the London Skylines.
30 June 1894
Tower Bridge is a renowned bridge in the heart of London that originally opened on the 30th June 1894 after Sir Horace Jones submitted his design in 1884. The bridge took eight years overall to complete, costing £114 million to date and has been a key part of London to this very day. The bridge was used for London Olympics 2012 to show the Olympic rings in the heart of London.
30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin)
Another example of modern architecture is The Gherkin which was designed by Norman Foster and Arup engineers. Construction started in 2001 and lasted for two years. The building is built on the former plot of the Baltic Exchange which was extensively damaged on the 10 April 1992. The cost of the plot and the entire build totalled £138 million. The Gherkin has become recognised as one of London’s iconic modern buildings and is largely recognised as one of the best designed.
St Pauls Cathedral
St Pauls is one of our oldest buildings, dating back to as early as 1087 with what is referred to as Old St. Pauls. Old St Pauls was burned in the Great Fire of London and Sir Christopher Wren was assigned the task to redesign the Cathedral on 30 July 1669. The New St Pauls was declared complete by Parliament on Christmas day 1711, and to date cost around £139 million to complete. The Cathedral is one of the most famous and recognisable buildings in London, and is a beautiful example of Old Gothic styled architecture.
Did you know the current St Pauls was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1962?
Westminster Abbey is another one of our oldest pieces of architecture, dating back to 1042 where King Edward the Confessor started reconstruction of an old cathedral as a place for his burial. The construction of the present church was begun in 1245 and was overseen by the architect Henry Yevele. The beautiful Gothic style has been adapted and updated over the years, and has become the place for burials of some of the most important people in the UK such as Princess Diana.
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall was designed by Captain Francis Fowke and Major General Henry Y.D Scott and cost only £200,000. Prince Albert proposed the build after the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park was a big hit and needed a permanent fixture. Construction for the arena started in 1867 and was completed in 1871 on 29th March, with it being renovated from 1996-2004. The plan of the hall makes the perfect venue for shows, and the beautiful design makes sure that it isn’t only the show that you are going to see.
The beautiful design of the Shakespeare’s Globe is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre that was originally built in 1599 and reconstructed and reopened in 1997 as the Shakespeare’s Globe. Theo Crosby was part of the design team for the final design of the Globe.
The beautiful thatched style of the Shakespeare’s Globe is an amazing design that catches the audiences’ eye and in much the same way as the Royal Albert Hall, the design of the building embraces the shows that are put on in the Globe, making the experience even more worthwhile.
The British Library was created on 1st July 1973 by Colin St John Wilson and after being part of British Museum, it became its own landmark. The Library is renowned for the size of the book collection which holds around 14 million books. The design of the library is key for the practicality of researching books and other media. The amphitheatre style plaza fits well with the airy interior, which makes the building the beautiful build it is.
There are so many beautiful pieces of architecture that make up the beautiful British Culture and how the style has changed throughout time, from the Gothic Victorian to the modern glass builds that reach into London’s skyline.
But which is it you prefer, the old styled designs or the modern twist on London?