11 Reasons to Love London’s Architecture
When it comes to architectural excellence, England’s capital city is bursting with innovative buildings. From iconic museums and classic cathedrals to impressive theatres and towering temples, London has a vibrant array of amazing architecture on offer.
If you’re on the hunt for some design inspiration, we’re getting up close and personal with some of the city’s best buildings. With talent coming in the shape of both commercial and residential architects, London is a testament to daring design – and today, we’re looking at 11 of the city’s most awesome architectural wonders.
1. A smart investment
When it comes to eye-catching and innovative architecture, London’s Lloyd’s Building has more to shout about than most. Thanks to its breathtaking design, the Lloyd’s Building has provided inspiration for many residential architects in London. Often referred to as the ‘inside-out’ building, this feat of modern architecture is nestled among Edwardian and Victorian buildings – and combines high-tech design with a glass roof to create a 14 floor wonder.
As the UK’s national library, the British Library is one of London’s most noteworthy attractions. A stone’s throw from King’s Cross, the building is infamous for the amount of time it took to complete. One of the world’s greatest libraries, the British Library houses any number of major research papers, manuscripts and journals. With the Talking Statues adorning the library’s foreground and row upon row of classical literature decorating its interior, this amazing building emanates history and culture.
3. A touch of Greece
With an impressive 44 columns and a pediment at the top of the building, the British Museum serves as an homage classical Greek architecture. This breathtaking building houses over 13 million artefacts and is considered – by London’s residential architects, tourists and locals alike – to be one of the city’s most astounding structures.
4. Innovation of India
From its conception to completion, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir faced several obstacles. Both British and Indian scholars and architects were involved in the design of the building, but adhering to building codes and regulations while still following the architectural guidelines of the Vastu Shastras proved to be a challenge. To complete the building, huge amounts of marble and limestone were imported and hand-carved to form the stunning masterpiece which sits in the heart of London today.
5. Spires on the skyline
Built in 1666, St Paul’s Cathedral has long been one of London’s most iconic buildings – dominating the city’s skyline with its instantly recognisable dome and towering spires. St Paul’s was designed as part of the city’s reaction to the Great Fire of London, and has since gone on to survive the bombings of WW1 and host many famous celebrations. Silhouetted against London’s skyline, St Paul’s is one of the city’s most popular historical sites.
6. Vertical vision
With a vision for what he called a ‘vertical city’, the Shard’s designer, Renzo Piano, set about designing an intimidating and powerful building. Taking its name from its resemblance to a shard of glass, the building delights tourists by daylight – and when night falls, the stunning structure lights up the city. Standing an overwhelming 310 metres high, the Shard’s architecturally dynamic design demands to be noticed – and tourists from all around the world flock to the capital to get a glimpse of the powerful pyramid.
7. Distinctive design
30 St Mary Axe is a towering commercial skyscraper. More affectionately known as the Gherkin, thanks to its distinctive shape, the London icon rises 180 metres into the city’s skyline. A staple of contemporary architecture, the office building opened in 2004 and has become a prominent feature in London’s financial district.
8. Powering the people
With influences from both commercial and residential architects, London’s Battersea Power Station is dedicated to putting the local people first. Famed for its prominent chimneys, the power station – which is currently under development – will benefit from £8 billion worth of investments, designed to change the face of the city for the next generation.
9. Controversial construction
Born from rough-cast concrete, the National Theatre is one of Britain’s most well-known Brutalist buildings. The daring design is typical of post-war architecture, using bleak lines to create an industrial effect. Housing plays, musical performances and exhibitions, the stark structure is looked on favourably by most – but its construction has been met with some controversy, famously being likened to a nuclear power station by Prince Charles.
10. Victorian influence
Taking the lead from Victorian design, St Pancras train station is the result of centuries of construction. With essentials like limestone, iron and coal rapidly running out during the building process, materials were sourced from all around Britain. From the design of the tracks to the construction of the platforms, hundreds of years of planning and detail have gone into creating the station and making St Pancras the visually stunning space it is today.
11. White noise
Converted from a warehouse in south London, White Cube Bermondsey is London’s third art gallery to be designed by Casper Mueller Kneer. Hosting three large exhibition spaces, private viewing rooms and a storage warehouse, this impressive building has plenty to offer. While the South galleries operate as the main display space, the North Galleries benefit from cubic design and are flooded with natural light.
Home to some of Europe’s most innovative commercial and residential architects, London is filled to the brim with dynamic designs – inspiring both locals and tourists and adding to the vibrant culture of the city.