Best Looking Buildings in London, British Capital Architecture Guide
London’s Best Looking Buildings
23 Sep 2020
Lloyd’s of London building:
London is a city where history lurks in dark corners of cobbled streets, and shadows cast by shimmering glass towers. It existed during the Roman Empire, with a settlement beginning in the year 47 AD known as Londinium, eventually becoming the capital of Britannia.
Influence from invading and conquering nations, as well as the industrial revolution, the brutalist movement, and 21st-century technology and investment, have shaped the city in many ways, leaving us with many beautiful buildings.
Lloyd’s of London is an insurance institution that should not be confused with Lloyds Bank. It has been operating in the city for more than three centuries. However, it’ss not a regular insurance company. Iinstead, it creates a marketplace for underwriters and even has a footing in law thanks to the Lloyd’s Act.
Its home, Lloyd’s building sits in the City of London, right in the financial district. Looking at it, you would be mistaken for believing it is a modern construction thanks to its use of steel and glass that help it blend in with nearby buildings like the Gherkin and the Shard.
However, Lloyd’s building was designed in 1978, though construction didn’t finish until 1986.
It’s sometimes called the “inside out building” because many features that are usually hidden, such as a staircase and ventilation pipes have been placed outside, making them visible from the street.
The Hippodrome was first opened in 1900, right at the end of the Victorian era. Its age is reflected in its design, with intricate detailing, a canopy, and a bell tower. It was designed originally by Frank Matcham, with the purpose of hosting circus acts and variety shows, though it was shortly repurposed into a music hall.
The Grade II listed building has gone on to have several other uses over the years, becoming “The Talk of the Town”, a nightclub that saw performances from famous names like Diana Ross, Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, and The Jackson 5. It served as a nightclub into the 21st century before the Police and local council had it shut down.
Today, The Hippodrome has been converted to provide another new kind of entertainment. In its modern form, it’s a casino offering all the casino games that have been lately raising popularity online, including card games like blackjack, casino war and baccarat, roulette, and dice. Around the outside of the main gaming floor, players can enjoy the large collection of slot machines and electronic gaming machines.
The Hippodrome also packs in the Magic Mike Live show, several bars, and one of London’s best steak houses, making it a one-stop-shop for your next night out.
It’s a beautiful building from the outside, but the real beauty can be seen on the inside. Much of the original decor has been put back by the building’s new owners, mixed in with a few modern style choices.
Palace of Westminster building:
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster is one of the most visited landmarks in London, though most visitors stay outside and focus mainly on the famous clock tower, known famously (and incorrectly) as Big Ben.
The tower is, in fact, called The Elizabeth Tower, and the name Big Ben refers to the bell that sits at the top.
The Grade I listed building is home to the United Kingdom’s two parliaments, the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
The current Palace of Westminster was built in the mid 19th century after the original building was destroyed by fire. It uses perpendicular Gothic Revival styling, using large windows, central archways, and a lot of straight lines. It also has intricate stonework that is in-keeping with municipal and Royal buildings at the time.
It has undergone several repairs, restorations, and expansions in recent history. It was hit by bombs several times during the 1940s, requiring extensive repair work, while the Portcullis House was constructed in the 1990s to provide more office space.
The Palace of Westminster is worth admiring, far beyond just the typical photo of Big Ben. If you live in the UK, you can ask your Member of Parliament to give you a tour of the building, and the public is also allowed to watch proceedings from the Strangers’ Gallery.
Comments on this London’s Best Looking Buildings article are welcome.
London Building Designs
Contemporary London Architectural Designs
London Architecture Links – chronological list
London Architecture Tours – bespoke UK capital city walks by e-architect
City of London Buildings
1 Leadenhall Tower Skyscraper
Design: Make Architects
image from architects
1 Leadenhall Tower
Design: Kohn Pederson Fox – KPF
image courtesy of the architects
The Scalpel City of London Skyscraper
Comments / photos for London’s Best Looking Buildings page welcome