- Architecture of London
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London is not characterised by any particular architectural style, having accumulated its buildings over a long period of time. Few structures predate the Great Fire of 1666, notable exceptions including the
Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Banqueting Houseand several scattered Tudor survivors in the City.
In itself, the City contains a wide variety of styles, progressing through Wren's late 17th century churches and the financial institutions of the 18th and 19th century such as the Royal Exchange and the
Bank of England, to the early 20th century Old Bailey(England and Wales' central criminal court) and the 1960s Barbican Estate. Notable recent buildings are the 1980s skyscraper Tower 42, the Lloyd's buildingwith services running along the outside of the structure, and the 2004 Swiss Re building, known as the "Gherkin".
London's generally low-rise nature makes these skyscrapers and others such as
One Canada Squareand its neighbours at Canary Wharfand the BT Towerin Fitzroviavery noticeable from a distance. High-rise development is restricted at certain sites if it would obstruct protected views of St. Paul's Cathedral. Nevertheless, there are plans for more skyscrapers in central London "(see Tall buildings in London)", including the 72-story "Shard of Glass", which will be one of the tallest buildings in Europe.
Other notable modern buildings include City Hall in
Southwarkwith its distinctive ovular shape, the British Libraryin Somers Town, the Great Court of the British Museum, and the striking Millennium Domenext to the Thames east of Canary Wharf. The disused (but soon to be rejuvenated) 1933 Battersea Power Stationby the river in the southwest is a local landmark, whilst some railway termini are excellent examples of Victorian architecture, most notably St Pancras and Paddington (at least internally).
Several monuments pay homage to people and events in the city.
The Monumentin the City of London provides views of the surrounding area whilst commemorating the Great Fire of Londonwhich originated nearby. Marble Archand Wellington Arch, at the north and south ends of Park Lanerespectively, have royal connections, as do the Albert Memorialand Royal Albert Hallin Kensington. Nelson's Columnis a nationally-recognised monument in Trafalgar Square, providing a focal point for the whole central area.
Georgian housing in London
Georgian eraLondon increased in size greatly to take in previously separate village such as Clapham, hence much of inner Londonis dominated by Georgian buildings. Georgian houses in London are quite distinctive and in general can be easily distinguished from those built later. Common features include the following:
Sash windowsbecame common in Georgian times - previously casement windows had been the norm.
*Window frames are rectangular, in contrast to Victorian windows which are often arched or pointed. They often have a width:height ratio of 1:2.
*The roof is often hidden by a
parapet. This was originally because of building regulations in central London. However in much of London parapets were added to Georgian houses for aesthetic reasons alone. From the street the building looks as if it has a flat roof, but from the back one can see that there is a sloping roof with a small wall at the front to disguise it. This feature is not found in later houses.
*Suburban buildings are usually constructed from
London stock brick, which have a yellowish colour (which with two centuries of pollution looks grey - see 10 Downing Street). More prestigious houses, for example, in Kensington, are rendered with stucco.
* [http://newbrutalism.awardspace.co.uk The New Brutalism] Brutalist architecture in the UK
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