I wonder if I can call this a favorite; it's more a reality of the heterogeneous architecture of London since the restrictions on building heights originally imposed by the London Building Act of 1894 have been eased, especially since the 1980s and a marked run to tall buildings in the last ten years. Between my first visit in 1961 and now it seems to me that I'm on another architectural planet.
The contrasts are surprising, amusing, if not shocking. I just put here two photos made from the Tower of London towards the City.
The medieval tower or turrets from the London Tower, the "Ten Trinity Square" from 1922 topped by a series of sculptures and originally built for the Port of London Authority, the "Gherkin" (Swiss Re Building - 2003) which I call "le suppositoire" and further the Tower 42 (1980).
After that you will understand that I prefer the views on Rome or Paris aside from economic considerations.
Just read in the Telegraph of 24 Oct 2009.
"Ben Bradshaw, the Culture Secretary, has criticised the Prince of Wales for interfering with a high-profile housing development because he did not approve of its style of modern architecture."
I must say that, when looking at the architectural landscape of London and remembering how it looked half a century ago at the time of my first visits, I'm not really enthusiast about the evolution.
Maybe I like harmony and that's not what I find nowadays looking at London. There is big contrast - an architectural shock - between modern buildings and older ones crammed on each other.
Some modern architecture is interesting but the narrow streets, the absence of perspective make me understand the reluctance of Prince Charles.
All London is divided into 6 zones. Central London is in the 1st zone. I lived at the south-eastern part of London in the 3rd zone. The life is more calm here, not so noisy and surroundings are quite cozy.
If you have a chance and time discover more parts of London, not just a central one.
Looking back from the Tate Modern towards St Pauls, the Millenium Bridge was London's first new pedestrian Thames crossing in 100 years!! Designed by Norman Foster and sculptor Anthony Caro the bridge was opened on 10 June 2000. It developed an obvious wobble after some 10,000 visitors walked across on the first day of opening but it was soon corrected and is now perfectly safe!
Read more about the Wobbly Bridge at the BBC news website.
Fondest memory: Fondest memory? Too many to list! What do I miss most when I am away? The sublime .... and the ridiculous and the unexpected.
I love the way London constantly makes new from old... this former hospital for women and children in Waterloo (1905-1936) is now a university but the old facade hasn't changed.
Fondest memory: What do I miss most when I am away from London? The newness and the oldness :)
"Switched on London" is a new Lighting Festival which takes place for over a week at the beginning of February in the Pool of London.
For the first time it took place in 2007 and annual repetitions are planned. During the event various sights in the area are temporaily illuminated in artistic and exciting ways. Among other landmarks the Tower of London, HMS Belfast, London Bridge, City Hall and the Design Museum were involved in the event in 2007.
In both February 2007 and 2008 I visited some of the illuminations with a lovely bunch of VT members and we really enjoyed a walk along the banks of the river Thames in between Tower Bridge and London Bridge (Pool of London).
Please check the following website for more info about the event:
Walking around London looking at the great icons like the Tower of London & Tower Bridge, keep your eyes peeled for the unusual. In the picture you will see Cannon Street Station, a very ordinary place at it's street entrance, but stunning with its old Victorian Towers viewed from London Bridge.
Fondest memory: Strolling around less well known tourist routes, meandering along narrow streets spotting unfamiliar street signs with interesting names & being rewarded with interesting & historic things to see & do that are not particularly in the guide books. So best foot forward go explore you won't get lost but may find yourself lost in time.
Well, at least it is a different photo :-)
My dream house, in pink and green ( the colors of my favorite samba school in here, Mangueira ). It was love at first sight and sigh.
As I told before, I used to go back there and pass by just to look at it. And I was so curious about who actually lived in there. I almost wrote a story in my mind.
Next time I go there, I hope to being able to find it again.
Most cities reward the explorer. I would suspect none more so than London. Thus it was that I strolled down a street, Langham Place as it turned out, and was confronted by this amazing spire and church.
So affected was I that I failed to notice the BBC opposite yet this very building often doubles as a recording studio for the daily broadcast service.
It is John Nash designed, circa 1824, and its standout circular frontage resplendent with Ionic columns supports a spire that was initially ridiculed as too slender and flimsy. Needless to say, as it approaches its 200th birthday, while many other buildings are absent, the All Souls church survives.
The Grand entrance shows the Victory Arch. It is part of the office buildings and designed by J.R. Scott, chief assistant architect of the London South Western Railroad society. It is built with Portland Stone in Imperial Baroque Style. Its statues represent War and Peace, situated under a statue of Britannia. It commemorates the men of the railway of London; South Western and Southern Railway, who offered their lives during the First World War.
It was opened by Queen Mary in 1922
I read somewhere that at night its own searchlights light it. Maybe I should come back at night!
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