Top Ten Essential Architecture top ten London public buildings  
     
  For a more complete list, see the main list  
1 Crystal Palace  

architect

Joseph Paxton

location

London, (then Sydenham)

date

1851, moved 1852, burnt 1936

style

Italianate

construction

Modular cast iron and glass Floor area of 770,000 sq ft.,1851 ft long, 450 ft wide. 

type

Exhibition hall

The project took almost 2½ years to come to fruition and it’s leading light was Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert, Prince Consort. In 1848 he placed a proposal before British Parliament to set up a self supporting exhibition of the products of British Industry. However, Albert cannot be credited with inventing the concept of an Industrial Exhibition as the formula had already been successfully employed in England, but most particularly in France, on many prior occasions. At the end of the 18th century the Marquis d’Aveze – Commissioner of the Royal Manufactories of the Gobelins, of Sèvres and of the Savonnerie initiated the first of what was to become a series of Expositions which culminated in the highly successful French Industrial Exposition of 1844. After the success of the 1844 Exposition proposals were put to Parliament detailing the benefits such an Exhibition held in England would have on commerce and the British economy as a whole. These initial proposals were met with absolutely no support and it was not until 1848, and the involvement of the Prince Consort, that progress began to be made towards realising the event.
 
     
2 Palm House at Kew Gardens  

architect

Decimus Burton and Richard Turner 

location

Kew, west London

date

1844 to 1848

style

Italianate

construction

glass and steel. 363 feet long, 100 feet wide, 66 feet high. 

type

greenhouse

"Sir Joseph Paxton (1801-65), who achieved fame with his all-glass, prefabricated — and incomparable — Crystal Palace Exhibition Hall of 1851, was the protagonist of glass in architecture. His conservatory at Chatsworth (1837; now, like the Crystal Palace, destroyed) was one of the great glass pioneers.

"Inspired by Chatsworth, and by the eager searching of the times, Decimus Burton and Richard Turner designed the much larger Palm House in London's Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, where they were the supervising architects. Palm House is 363 feet long by 100 feet wide and rises to a height of 66 feet. Besides educating visitors in the natural world, one of the functions of English greenhouses at the time was to display the exotic range of plants and flowers that flourished in the British Empire."
 
     
3 Leadenhall Markets  

architect

Sir Horace Jones

location

City of London, located in Gracechurch Street.

date

1881

style

neoclassical

construction

ornate steel and glass roof structure, painted green, maroon and cream, and cobbled floors

type

Shop, Market

The market dates back to the fourteenth century. It is open from 07:00-16:00 Monday to Friday, and sells fresh food; among the vendors there are cheesemongers, butchers and fishmongers.

The ornate roof structure, painted green, maroon and cream, and cobbled floors of the current building, designed in 1881 by Sir Horace Jones (who was also the architect of Billingsgate and Smithfield Markets), make the building a tourist attraction. It was used to represent the area of London near the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley in the film Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It is also popular among local city workers specifically from the nearby Lloyd's of London building.

 
     
4 Horse Guards  
081-Horse_guards_parade.jpg (78591 bytes)

architect

William Kent

location

between Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade

date

1751-1753

style

Palladian

construction

stone

type

Government

Horse Guards is a large building in the Palladian style between Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade. It was built between 1751-1753 by John Vardy to a design by William Kent. The building was constructed on the site of the Guard House of the old Whitehall Palace, which had been destroyed by fire in 1698. The palace's tilt yard became the exercise ground of Horse Guards Parade, located behind the Horse Guards building.
 
     
5 Guildhall  
080-London_Guildhall_Corp_of_London.jpg (28326 bytes)

architect

Sir Horace Jones Sir Giles Gilbert Scott

location

off Cheapside and Basinghall Street, near Bank

date

1411,1866,1954

style

Gothic

construction

stone

type

hall

The Guildhall is a building in the City of London, off Cheapside and Basinghall Street, near Bank. It has been used as a town hall for several hundred years, and is still the ceremonial centre of the City of London. The term Guildhall refers both to the whole building and to its main room, which is a medieval style great hall similar to those at many Oxbridge colleges. The Guildhall complex houses the offices of the Corporation of London and various public facilities. (Greater London also has a City Hall).
 
     
6 Harrod's  

architect

 

location

Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London, England

date

1885

style

Victorian Free Classical

construction

terracotta cladding 4.5 acre site and has over 1 million square feet (over 92,000 square metres) of selling space

type

Shop

The store occupies a 4.5 acre site and has over 1 million square feet (over 92,000 square metres) of selling space. The Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique - All Things, For All People, Everywhere. Several of its departments, including the seasonal Christmas department and Food Hall are world famous for the abundance and quality of goods on offer. The nearest tube station to the flagship store is Knightsbridge on the fashionable street of that name, so Harrods called itself "Harrods of Knightsbridge", and effectively expanded Knightsbridge to include itself. Mohamed Al-Fayed who bought the store in 1985 for £615 million is the current Harrods owner.
 
     
7 King's College  
8-kings-02.jpg (80735 bytes) King's College. According to Brown, "King's College houses its Department of Theology and Religious Studies adjacent to Parliament on property granted by the Crown." The college's religion department is also the home of the Research Institute in Systematic Theology, one of the world's most advanced religious research libraries. Brown describes the research room vividly: "a dramatic octagonal chamber dominated by an enormous round table around which King Arthur and his knights might have been comfortable were it not for the presence of twelve flat-screen computer workstations." King's College has several campuses on both sides of the Thames, just above Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. The Department of Theology and Religious Studies is in the School of Humanities.  
     
8 Bank of England  
072-London.bankofengland.arp.jpg (80668 bytes)

architect

Sir Herbert Baker's rebuilding of the Bank of England, demolishing most of Sir John Soane  's earlier building was described by Pevsner as "the greatest architectural crime, in the City of London, of the twentieth century".

location

Threadneedle Street

date

1734

style

NeoClassical

construction

stone

type

Bank

The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom, sometimes known as "The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street" or "The Old Lady". The nearest London Underground station is Bank station.
 
     
9 Freemasons Hall  
079-Freemasons.hall.london.arp.750pix.jpg (56176 bytes)

architect

 

location

Great Queen Street between Holborn and Covent Garden

date

1927 - 1933

style

Art Deco 

construction

stone

type

hall

Freemasons' Hall in London is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and a meeting place for the Masonic Lodges in the London area.

The site of the Freemasons' Hall in Great Queen Street between Holborn and Covent Garden has been a Masonic meeting place since 1775.
 
     
10 Imperial College  
082-Queen27s_Tower.jpg (41089 bytes)

architect

 

location

main campus is located on the boundary between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster in London, with its front entrance on Exhibition Road.

date

1907

style

'blood and bandage" Edwardian

construction

stone and brick

type

Education

Imperial College London is a prestigious British academic institution focusing on science, engineering and medicine, complemented by a business school. Its main campus is located on the boundary between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the City of Westminster in London, with its front entrance on Exhibition Road. Imperial is a constituent college of the University of London, though it is set to be become an independent university by 2007.
 
     
11 The Oxo Tower  

architect

Albert Moore

location

on the south bank of the River Thames in London, in the London Borough of Southwark

date

1920s

style

Art Deco 

construction

brick, etc

type

Factory
The OXO Tower is a building with a prominent tower on the south bank of the River Thames in London, in the London Borough of Southwark. The building currently has a set of bijou arts and crafts shops on the ground and first floors, and a well-known restaurant on the 8th (at the top of the tower).

The original building was a power station, but in the 1920s it was acquired by the Liebig Extract of Meat Company, manufacturers of Oxo beef stock cubes. The building was largely rebuilt to an Art Deco design by company architect Albert Moore. Liebig wanted to include a tower featuring illuminated signs advertising the name of their product. When permission for the advertisements was refused the tower was built with four sets of three vertically-aligned windows, each of which "coincidentally" happened to be in the shapes of a circle, a cross and a circle. Liebig and the building were eventually purchased by the Vestey Group.
 
     
12 Lincolns Inn  
086-Lincolns_Inn_1.jpg (65028 bytes)

architect

The Great Hall and part of the Stone Buildings were designed by the father and son architects, Philip and Philip Charles Hardwick. Another famous architect, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott , also contributed to the Great Hall and it can be clearly seen which part.  Philip Hardwick wanted to be known for as his initials are shown one side of the building as P.H - 1843.

location

It is situated in Holborn, in the London Borough of Camden, just on the border with the City of London and the City of Westminster, and across the road from Royal Courts of Justice. The nearest tube station is Chancery Lane.

date

1843

style

Gothic Revival

construction

stone

type

Education