While places are often accredited as being capitals of culture and the home of architecture, it is important to understand the diversity of past-times, behaviours and building that exist throughout the world. Take architecture, for example, as while the Italian city of Florence may be renowned as the capital of renaissance architecture of the world, there are other location that have a far greater diversity of structures and design influences.
London is one such destination, as England’s capital has a number of unique and fascinating building that transience the epochs of time and trends. Here are five of its most unique and eclectic building, each of which has carved its own unique place along the London skyline:
The National Theatre
Located in the heartland of London, The National Theatre represents the type of bleak and brutalist architecture that defined post-war London. While this structure may have bleak lines and rough cast concrete pillars that cut a decidedly sombre visage, it was simply a product of its time and one that reflected the mood after the Second World War. It is therefore an important piece of Britain’s cultural heritage, and one that still retains a sense of macabre magnificence.
The Ritz Hotel and Private Casino
Distinctly continental in its visual design, the Ritz Hotel and private member casino was the first steel framed structure of any importance in the nations’ capital. Completed in 1906, it owes its continental influence to collaboration between Frenchman Charles Mewes and Englishman Arthur Davies, who had already designed the Hotel Ritz in Paris and the Carlton Hotel in London. Now one of the most exclusive buildings in the UK and with its casino a beacon to the cities enthusiastic high-rollers, this structure is as iconic today as it was a century ago.
St Pancras station
The Scott family (most notably George Gilbert Scott and Giles Gilbert Scott) are responsible for creating some of the most recognisable structures in London. It is the St. Pancras Hotel that stands alone in terms of quality and presence, however, with its vast red and coloured brick edifice and quintessentially Italian design influences. Grand and intimidating in equal measure, it is a structure that evokes memories of continental train stations and architecture from mainland Europe.
The House of Parliament
No list would be complete without the House of Parliament, which have dominated the London skyline since the middle of the 19th century. It represents not only the heartland of the political scene in England, but also the very finest example of grandiose and overblown architecture in the whole of Great Britain. The Victorian pile was designed by Charles Barry, and this structure remains one of the most important and seminal buildings in the UK today.
On paper, a series of towering, concrete grey buildings should have little or no visual appeal. This is the simplistic description of The Barbican, however, which just so happens to be one of most brilliant and stunning pieces of architecture still standing in contemporary Britain. The most evocative of simple, modernist designs, this structure features jutting towers and curving, low-rise buildings and creates the most unique visual impact.