AN ARCHITECT’S DREAM -
RELEASE YOUR INNER URBAN EXPLORE #URBEX
As part of Berlin Travel Festival we published a secret guide to London, created by our team. One of the pages was dedicated to architecture - avoiding the obvious landmarks like St. Paul’s Cathedral and recommending different, more unusual London gems that will appeal to architects and fans of architecture…
London is a global leader in architecture - the city is a playground for the world’s biggest minds to build their fantasies. The first four destinations on this list are quite near to each other, in an around “The Square Mile” so might make a good day out!
The final two on this list are for geeks only!
SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM
Step into the world of a distinguised Victorian architect’s house, with over 30,000 architectural drawings and onetime home of debauched parties! Check their website for architectural talks and special events. They don’t stay open too late so good to schedule a morning visit. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and open Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Saturday - Sunday, from 10am to 5pm, with last admission at 4.30pm.
Postcode: WC2A 3BP
Described by The Queen as one of the world’s modern wonders, this magnificent post-war fortress estate is sublime. The towers are private flats but you could always try your luck on Tindr. The Barbican has a theatre, public swimming pool (no membership required) and a conservatory garden. Nearby The Guildhall has some cool stuff like a statue of Winston Churchill. The Barbican estate is built on an area of land obliterated by bombs during World War II.
Postcode: EC2Y 8DS
‘The City’ is our local name to describe where London’s centre originally was - dubbed “The Square Mile” also. This now mostly financial district holds a significant cluster of skyscrapers including Norman Foster’s ‘The Gherkin’, Roger Stirk Harbour’s ‘The Cheesegrater’ and Rafael Vinoly’s ‘The Walkie Talkie’. And don’t forget the Lloyds Insurance Building, inspired by Archigram with its Pompidou Centre pipes!
At weekends this area is a ghost town and not much is open - but it makes for great photos and an inspiring walk! Across the river of course you can see Renzo Piano’s ‘The Shard’, and in the mornings there’s Borough Market - fabulous for food!
THE ALEXANDRA ROAD ESTATE
Neave Brown’s magnum opus was grossly unpopular when built and he never worked in Britain again. 40 years later this striking concrete ziggurat won the RIBA at the ceremony Brown received a standing ovation of applause that exceeded five minutes. He died shortly afterwards. Walking distance from the Abbey Road ‘Beatles Crossing’, this imposing social housing estate has an underground road network, allowing space for ‘Rowley Way’ the pedestrian footpath that threads along the estate.
Used as a location for numerous sci-fi films and “gritty” English movies, the estate is a favourite among location researchers.
Postcode: NW8 0SL
THE OLYMPICS PARK
The site of the famous London Olympics of 2012 boasts some beauties and some beasts. Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor’s vibrant, chaotic, slide tower sits alongside Zaha Hadid’s gorgeous sapphic aquatic centre. Many Londoners consider the 2012 Olympics a highpoint of London life - the fantastic opening ceremony directed by Danny Boyle featured David Beckham and James Bond in a speedboat, a doppelgänger of The Queen parachuting in, and a showcase of London’s most proud cultural icons - ranging from Mary Poppins to Pet Shop Boys!
Nearby Westfield Shopping Centre is good for an “everything under one roof” shopping blitz, with lots of eating options, while Hackney Wick a short walk away has some cool bars along the canal - fun for finer weather.
Postcode: E20 2ST
BLUE HOUSE by FAT
The ultimate expression of a live-work unit, The Guardian dubbed it a “decorative shed by architecture’s biggest pranksters”. Architects themselves, however, adore it, a mini postmodern masterpiece.
Postcode: E2 9AQ
SEVEN SISTERS STATION by ASSEMBLE
Not far from Green Rooms is architecture firm Assemble’s 2017 reworking for Seven Sisters tube entrance, featuring 1000 handmade tiles - our architect friend Dominik said it’s supercool, so maybe you’ll like it too!
Postcode: N15 5LD
This Green Rooms guide was created and written by Jack Cullen @jackcullenuk for Green Rooms at Berlin Travel Festival 2019 #BerlinTravelFestival