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Thursday, July 16, 2020

During lockdown, if I'm totally honest, out of a desperate need to tweet something vaguely relevant (plus to shake-up ground hog day boredom!) I decided to turn to Google for inspiration.

London was top of my surfing list, having lived and worked in this amazing City for a good number of years, I thought I knew her well enough to knock up a couple of architectural points of interest. Turns out I have only ever been scratching the surface. The staggering abundance of hidden and not so hidden architectural and historical gems to be found is almost overwhelming. 

The upshot of my new-found insight is bite sized tweets on @archsonline about buildings of interest in our extraordinary Capital, a few of which I've included below.

I thoroughly enjoyed compiling them, hope you enjoy reading them!

 

Did you know that buried below Guildhall Yard Art Gallery London, is an enormous 2,000 year old Roman amphitheatre? A black semi-circle has been built into the floor showing where the theatre lies beneath.

 

Old Operating Theatre, St Thomas's Church, Southwark. This most intriguing and historic interior lay undiscovered for almost a century in the roof of St Thomas's Church, Southwark and is in-fact the oldest surviving operating theatre in the country.

 

Abandoned architecture - Maunsell Forts, Thames Estuary. Built during WWII by the civil engineer Guy Maunsell, there are 2 distinct designs with different purposes for Naval and Army defense. De-commissioned in the 1950's, later occupied by pirate radio stations.

 

Wilton's Music Hall, Tower Hamlets. Grade II* listed, opened in 1859, it's the only remaining example of first generation grand music halls in the world. The main hall has a barrel vaulted ceiling & the balcony is decorated with cartoon papier mache!

 

An award winning architectural gem - Royal Ballet School's Bridge of Aspiration, linked between the Royal Ballet School & Royal Opera House. Designed to reflect the movements of dancers, consisting of 23 elegantly turned glass & aluminium portals.

 

Southwark Needle, London Bridge. 19.5 degree tilt, 16m spike is made up of 25 different sized Portland stone. Some say it marks the spot where spikes held the heads of those executed or follow the trajectory over the Thames to where medieval London Bridge crossed?

 

The House of St Barnabas, Soho, Georgian Grade I listed, a house of charity to a private members club. It boasts the finest examples of Rococo plasterwork & a donation 'penny chute' leading from the pavement to a kitchen alms box.

 

The Leadenhall Building aka The Cheese Grater is 738 ft tall with 75,000 sq ft of glass, 80% of components were prefabricated off site. The shape was designed to complement views of surrounding architecture including St Paul's Cathedral.

 

London Aquatic Centre, built for the 2012 Olympics has a wave effect roof inspired by moving water, mirroring its riverside surroundings. The pools have moveable floors & booms to adjust depth & size. A prehistoric settlement was discovered during construction.

 

Tottenham Court Road Tube Station is home to both the visually stunning Eduardo Paolozzi's thousand square metres of mosaics inspired by London life (1980s) and more recently Daniel Buren's striking geometric pattern art installations.

 

Stunning & dramatic, The Crystal, Royal Victoria Docks London, hosts a permanent exhibition dedicated to urban sustainability. Its design incorporates a wealth of advanced sustainability elements.

 

Once home to Punch illustrator Edward Linley Sambourne, 18 Stafford Terrace is a grade II listed Victorian townhouse where time stands still.....almost all original furniture & fittings are still intact.