The architecture of London forms a fascinating patchwork. Central London is not a planned city, like New York or Paris. In London, each successive generation builds something new that adds to the city’s patchwork. The following is a survey of five of London’s most iconic buildings.
Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of The Queen. It is situated in the City of Westminster district of London. The original building was constructed in 1705 and was enlarged on a number of occasions over the next two centuries. It has been the London home of the Royal Family since Queen Victoria took up residence in 1837.
Situated at the top of The Mall, Buckingham Palace is traditionally the focus of national celebrations and other state occasions.
The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament or, to give the building its more correct title, the Palace of Westminster, is the UK seat of government. It is home to the nation’s two Houses of Parliament: The Commons and The Lords.
The Houses of Parliament are situated in central London beside the River Thames, close to Downing Street, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace. The current building was constructed between 1840 and 1870 in the Perpendicular Gothic style. The building’s clock tower, commonly known as Big Ben, forms one of London’s most recognisable images.
The Lloyd’s Building
The Lloyd’s Building is situated in the heart of London’s financial district. It is one of London’s most highly regarded examples of modern architecture. Designed by Richard Rogers and opened in 1986, the Lloyd’s Building bears some similarities to the Pompidou Centre in Paris, principally in the fact that its service and access systems are located on the outside of the building.
The building is home to Lloyd’s of London, Britain’s major insurance broker.
The South Bank Centre / Festival Hall
The South Bank Centre is London’s foremost complex of arts venues. The site, on the South Bank of the River Thames, was originally developed for this purpose as part of the Festival of Britain event in 1951.
The South Bank covers more than 20 acres and centres on the Royal Festival Hall, one of Britain’s premier concert venues. It also includes a number of other venues and galleries and receives more than three million visitors each year.
The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre was the London home of William Shakespeare’s theatre company and the venue where his plays were originally performed. The original Globe Theatre, sadly, was destroyed in 1644.
However, as a labour of love led by the American actor, Sam Wanamaker, the Globe Theatre was recreated from the original plans and re-opened close to its original site in 1997. The new building is a stunning recreation, made entirely from English oak, and it regularly stages Shakespeare’s plays.
These are just five from many hundreds of iconic buildings London has to offer for the enjoyment of both Londoners and visitors.