Top Ten Essential Architecture top ten London Government buildings  
     
  For a more complete list, see the main list  
1 Westminster Palace  
047-Houses.of.parliament.overall.arp.jpg (54285 bytes)

architect

Sir Charles BarryDesign of gothic details assisted by A. W. N. Pugin.

location

Westminster

date

1836 to 1868

style

Gothic Revival

construction

stone

type

Government

The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament, is where the two Houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (the House of Lords and the House of Commons) meet to conduct their business. The Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the London borough of the City of Westminster, close by other government buildings in Whitehall.

The oldest part of the Palace still in existence, Westminster Hall, dates from 1097. The palace originally served as a royal residence but no monarch has lived in it since the 16th century. Most of the present structure dates from the 19th century, when the Palace was rebuilt after it was almost entirely destroyed by a fire in 1834. The architect responsible for rebuilding the Palace was Sir Charles Barry with Augustus Welby Pugin. The building is an example of Gothic revival. One of the Palace's most famous features is the clock tower, a tourist attraction that houses the famous bell Big Ben. The latter name is often used, erroneously, for the clock itself, which is actually part of St Stephen's Tower.

 
     
2 Tower of London  
044-Tower_of_London2C_Traitors_Gate.jpg (93369 bytes)

architect

unknown 

location

east London

date

1070 to 1090

style

Gothic Elizabethan

construction

masonry 

type

castle, fortress, prison
The Tower of London is a landmark in central London—in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets—just outside the City of London.

The White Tower, the square building with turrets on each corner that gave it its name, is actually in the middle of a complex of several buildings along the River Thames in London, which have served as fortresses, armories, treasuries, zoos/menageries, mints, palaces, places of execution, public records offices, observatories, shelters, and prisons (particularly for upper class prisoners). This last use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower" meaning "imprisoned". One widely known example was that Elizabeth I was imprisoned for a time in the Tower during her sister Mary's reign.
 
     
3 Hampton Court  

architect

Thomas Wolsey and Sir Christopher Wren

location

in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, south west London

date

1616-1694

style

an interesting mix between mediaeval Tudor and neoclassical Elizabethan

construction

brick, stone

type

Palace

Hampton Court Palace is a former royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, south west London, United Kingdom. The palace is located 11.7 miles (18.9 km) south west of Charing Cross and upstream of Central London on the River Thames. It is currently open to the public as a major tourist attraction. The palace's Home Park is the site of the annual Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

 
     
4 Windsor Castle  

architect

Jeffry Wyatville

location

Windsor

date

1820

style

Romanesque (Norman)

construction

Stone

type

Palace

A thousand year old fortress transformed to a royal palace. This well known silhouette of a seemingly medieval castle was not created, however, until the 1820s by Jeffry Wyatville
Windsor Castle, at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, is the largest inhabited castle in the world and, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror, it is the oldest in continuous occupation.
 
     
5 Westminster Hall  

architect

unknown 

location

Westminster

date

1397 to 1399

style

Gothic

construction

stone 290 feet long inside, 68 foot span between walls, with ceiling structure rising to 92 feet at the ridge.
Current roof structure built by King Richard II.

type

meeting hall
An ancient, beautiful hammer-beam roof structure of heavy truss-like wood beams, covering half an acre.

Westminster Hall is the oldest remaining part of the old palace, with its walls being erected in 1097 in the reign of William Rufus. The roof was originally supported by two rows of pillars, but by 1399 Richard II wanted to make the Hall more impressive by building an unsupported roof. This great challenge was met by carpenter Hugh Herland and architect Henry Yevele. They solved the problem by building huge hammer shaped oak beams and strengthening the walls. The hammerbeam roof is still an impressive sight today. Westminster Hall is now used for major public ceremonies.
 
     
6 Admiralty Arch  
069-AdmiraltyArchLondon.jpg (85585 bytes)

architect

Sir Aston Webb

location

access between The Mall, which extends to the southwest, and Trafalgar Square to the northeast

date

1910

style

Edwardian

construction

stone

type

Office Building

Admiralty Arch is a large office building in London which incorporates an archway providing road and pedestrian access between The Mall, which extends to the southwest, and Trafalgar Square to the northeast. It was designed by Sir Aston Webb. It adjoins the Old Admiralty Building, hence the name.

The building was commissioned by King Edward VII in memory of his mother Queen Victoria, although he did not live to see its completion.
 
     
7 London City Hall  

architect

Norman Foster

location

The Queen's Walk (south bank of the Thames) London SE1 2AA

date

1998 to 2003

style

Biomorphic High-Tech Modern

construction

lopsided egg

type

Office Building Government

City Hall in London is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority and the Mayor of London. It stands on the south bank of the River Thames, in the More London development by Tower Bridge. Designed by Norman Foster it opened in July 2002.

The building has an unusual bulbous shape, intended to reduce the building's surface area and thus improve energy efficiency. It has been compared variously to Darth Vader's helmet, a misshapen egg, a woodlouse or a motorcycle helmet. London Mayor Ken Livingstone referred to it as a "glass testicle". Its designers reportedly saw the building as a giant sphere hanging over the Thames, but opted for a more conventionally rooted building instead. The building has no front or back on conventional terms but derives its shape from a modified sphere.
 
     
8 The Old Bailey  
058-GEStreetCourtsofJustice.jpg (65143 bytes)

architect

George Edmund Street

location

on The Strand The nearest tube stations are Chancery Lane and Temple.

date

1882

style

Gothic Revival

construction

stone

type

Government

The Royal Courts of Justice, commonly called the Law Courts, is a building in London that houses the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. Courts within the building are open to the public although there may be some restrictions depending upon the nature of the cases being held.

The building is a large grey stone edifice in the Victorian Gothic style and was designed by George Edmund Street, a solicitor turned architect, and built in the 1870s. The Royal Courts of Justice was opened by Queen Victoria in December 1882 and became the permanent home of the Supreme Court. It is on The Strand, in the City of Westminster, near the border with the City of London and the London Borough of Camden. It is surrounded by the four Inns of Court.
 
     
9 County Hall  
077-County.hall.london.arp.jpg (57643 bytes)

architect

Ralph Knott

location

on the south bank of the River Thames, just north of Westminster Bridge, facing west towards the City of Westminster. The nearest tube stations are Waterloo and Westminster.

date

1911 - 1933

style

Edwardian Baroque

construction

Portland stone

type

Government

County Hall is a building in Lambeth, London, that was the headquarters of London County Council and later the Greater London Council (GLC). Today County Hall is the site of businesses and attractions, including Saatchi Gallery, Dalí Universe and the London Aquarium, as well as two hotels and several restaurants. Other parts of the building have been converted into flats. The London Eye is nearby.

The building is on the bank of the River Thames, just north of Westminster Bridge, facing west towards the City of Westminster. The nearest tube stations are Waterloo and Westminster.
 
     
10 Somerset House  

architect

William Chambers

location

London

date

1776 to 1786

style

NeoClassical

construction

stone. Corinthian orders above arched courtyard apertures, rusticated base. 

type

Government and Education

Somerset House is a large building situated on the south side of the Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The central block of the Neoclassical building, the outstanding project of the architect Sir William Chambers, dates from 1776–96. It was extended by classical Victorian wings to north and south. A building of the same name was first built on the site more than two centuries earlier.