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Top Ten Essential Architecture top ten modern London buildings  
   
  For a more complete list, see the main list  
1 30 St Mary Axe  
001-gherkin3.jpg (31677 bytes)

architect

Norman Foster

location

30 St Mary Axe

date

2004

style

Postmodern

construction

590 ft (180 m) tall

type

Office Building

30 St Mary Axe is a building in London's main financial district, the City of London. It is informally known as "The Gherkin", and sometimes as The Swiss Re Tower, Swiss Re Building, Swiss Re Centre, or just Swiss Re, after its owner and principal occupier. It is 590 ft (180 m) tall, making it the 2nd tallest building in the City of London, after Tower 42, and the 6th tallest in London as a whole. The building is famous for its daring architecture by Pritzker Prize winner Sir Norman Foster and ex-partner Ken Shuttleworth. The building was constructed by Skanska.
 
     
2 Lloyds Building  
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architect

Richard Rogers

location

Lime Street in the City of London

date

1979 to 1984

style

High-Tech Modern

construction

steel. Expressed services.

type

Office Building

The Lloyd's building is the home of the insurance institution Lloyd's of London, located in Lime Street in the City of London.

It was designed by architect Richard Rogers and built over eight years from 1978 to 1986. Like the Pompidou Centre (designed by Renzo Piano and Rogers), the building was innovative in having its services such as staircases, lifts, electrical power conduits and water pipes on the outside, leaving a clean uncluttered space inside. The 12 glass lifts were the first of their kind in the UK.
 
     
3 The London Eye  
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architect

David Marks, Julia Barfield, Malcolm Cook, Mark Sparrowhawk, Steven Chilton, and Nic Bailey

location

on the South Bank of the River Thames in Lambeth, London, England, between Westminster and Hungerford Bridges.

date

1999

style

High-Tech Modern

construction

135 metres (443 feet) high

type

observation wheel

The British Airways London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, opened in 1999. It is the largest observation wheel in the world (a type of Ferris wheel). It stands 135 metres (443 feet) high on the western end of Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the River Thames in Lambeth, London, England, between Westminster and Hungerford Bridges. It is adjacent to London's County Hall, and stands opposite the offices of the Ministry of Defence.
 
     
4 Lord's  
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architect

In 1987 the new Mound Stand, designed by Sir Michael Hopkins, was opened. The Grand Stand (by Nicholas Grimshaw) and the Media Centre (by Future Systems) followed in 1998-9.

location

St John's Wood

date

various

style

various

construction

various

type

cricket ground

Lord's Cricket Ground is a cricket ground in St John's Wood in London, at grid reference TQ268827. It is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club and is the home of Middlesex County Cricket Club, and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB); and until August 2005, the International Cricket Council (ICC). Lord's is often referred to as the Home of Cricket. Lord's today is not the original site, which was used by MCC during the summers of 1811, 1812 and 1813 before being abandoned due to the construction, through its outfield, of the Regent's Canal. This led to MCC moving around 250 yards north-west, to its current home, in 1814. A plaque was unveiled at the site of the old ground on 9th May 2006 by Andrew Strauss. The ground is named after its founder, Thomas Lord.
 
     
5 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.
 
     
6 Millennium Dome  

architect

Richard Rogers

location

south east London

date

1999

style

High-Tech Modern

construction

tent

type

Exhibition hall

The O2, still generally referred to by its former name, the Millennium Dome, is a large dome shaped building on the Greenwich peninsula in south east London, the United Kingdom. The name was officially changed when O2 plc purchased the naming rights from the developers, Anschutz Entertainment Group.

The dome was constructed in order to hold a major exhibition celebrating the beginning of the third millennium. This exhibition opened to the public on January 1, 2000 and ran until December 31, 2000; however the project and exhibition was the subject of considerable political controversy and did not attract the number of visitors anticipated in its planning and costing.
 
     
7 Food Theater Cafe  

architect

Daniel Libeskind Engineers Arup Associates

location

On the Serpentine, Hyde Park

date

2001 

style

Deconstructivist

construction

steel

type

Gallery

Regarded by some as a precursor to the eagerly anticipated Victoria & Albert Museum spiral extension (London, UK), the second temporary pavilion commissioned by the Serpentine Gallery, and designed by the team responsible for the V&A Spiral, opened in June 2001.
 
     
8 Penguin Basin  

architect

Berthold Lubetkin  engineer Arup Associates

location

Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY

date

1933 

style

Modern

construction

concrete 

type

zoo enclosure 

Lubetkin seems to have seen this building as an opportunity to creatively explore the possibilities of a new building material available in 1934 - reinforced concrete. Having studied the habits of penguins he created a penguin enclosure and pool that provides an interesting environment for the penguins, a multiplicity of viewing angles for the spectator and a Modernist building of true clarity and style.
 
     
9 Offices, Finsbury Avenue  

architect

Arup Associates

location

1 Finsbury Avenue

date

1982 to 1984

style

High-Tech Modern

construction

exterior metal framework

type

Office Building

At Broadgate, No 1 Finsbury Avenue set the aesthetic standard, almost single-handedly, for a new breed of speculative office buildings. Its elegant, open, well-lit atrium brought an unusual element in speculative offices but provided the building with, as it were, an internal series of façades.
 
     
10 88 Wood Street  
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architect

Richard Rogers

location

88 Wood Street, London, England

date

1993 to 2001

style

High-Tech Modern

construction

concrete frame with steel bracing, glass curtain wall

type

Office Building

The first City building completed by RRP since Lloyd’s of London in 1986, 88 Wood Street demonstrates the potential for speculative commercial development that does not compromise on quality and enhances the public domain. 

The site, at the junction of Wood Street and London Wall, was formerly occupied by a 1920s telephone exchange. Delays in securing the demolition of this supposedly "historic" building, combined with the onset of the Nineties recession, led to the cancellation of a 1990 Rogers scheme for a prestige new headquarters for banking corporation Daiwa. A larger scheme was designed in 1993-94, with speculative letting in mind. 
 
     
11 The Mound Stand  

architect

Michael Hopkins  

location

St. John's Wood, London

date

1985 to 1987

style

High-Tech Modern

construction

tensile fabric roof, steel masts

type

cricket stadium