3 Of The Most Wonderful Buildings In London

Some of the greatest wonders of architecture can be seen and experienced in England. These go from buildings born of the mind of great British architects all the way to sculptures erected to commemorate historic happenings in time. Since many years ago, British architecture dwelled in the gothic style and during the renaissance this language of expression was used in art just as much as it was in architecture. Italian influences were a key aspect in the creation of many of these pieces as it is evident by the gothic Tudor style that started to take place and makes reference to flat arches and sharp surfaces and shapes molded in materials like brick and limestone. Nowadays, there is a permanence of such medieval styles and that is why the use of large windows and skylights continue to be relevant.

Today, here at Kenny Slaught’s Blog we want to continue talking about some of the world’s most wonderful works or architecture, based on their geographical location.

The Monument of the Great Fire of London

Sir Christopher Wren designed this monument between 1671 and 1677 with the purpose of commemorating and honoring the great fire that occurred in London and destroyed dozens of wooden homes. The spire measures 50 meters in height and is known for having one of the most amazing views you can have of the entire city. The column does not have an elevator, so the only way to reach the top is by walking up several flights of stairs in a spiral staircase. For those people with reduced mobility, there are screens available at the bottom that can show the view from above. This pantheon has very particular characteristics on its built and design, like the vertical fluted pattern that runs up the Portland stone surface. Portland stone is a type of limestone used in many of these types of buildings from the era. At the top of the monument, there is a golden urn. As far as the access goes, there are 311 steps that spiral all the way to the top. A particular feature of the monument is the inscriptions that commemorate important moments in history like the measures taken by King Charles II after the great fire occurred and which are written on the south side of the column. On three sides of the base, there are inscriptions in Latin that describe the building and how it was created, on the north side there is a description of how the fire started, how much damage it caused and ultimately the consequences of the destruction.  

30 St Mary Axe/ The Gherkin Building

30-st-mary-axe_the-gherkin-building_london_architecture
Image courtesy of Gary Ullah at Flickr.com

This is one of the most recognized and amazing skyscrapers in London and it is also the second tallest in the whole district with 40 stories and 180 meters of height. It opened on the 25th of May of 2004. The building was created and designed by Norman Foster, Ken Shuttleworth and Arup Engineers while the construction was undertaken by the Swedish firm Skanska from 2001 to 2003. One of the most particular aspects of the building is the fact that it works with green energy, something that allows it to utilize only half of the power that it would otherwise take to operate a building that size. The narrow openings on the building work as a ventilation system for the whole tower. Hot air is pushed out of the tower during the summer months while during the winter they maintain a warmer temperature utilizing sunlight as well.

The Shard

shard_london_architecture
Image courtesy of jon crel at Flickr.com

This masterpiece was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano that ended up becoming a 306-meter tall skyscraper with 73 stories, becoming the tallest building in the whole European Union. The building has a triangular design that runs from the base all the way to the very top, making it seem like a pyramid with a complete façade made of glass. The building has an open-sky terrace located on the top floor that can be accessed by visitors. The tower is part of London’s skyline but is located next to very old buildings that beautifully contrast with its modern design. The interior has 44 elevators and 11,000 glass panels that cover its exterior. The idea of its creator Piano was to change the way the building is built and the functions of its environments depending on the height of the different levels. In the bottom, you can find offices, public access areas, and a hotel while you can find apartments at the top. The idea was to created areas that were more secluded and exclusive as the building got higher and make a better use of the reduced space of the upper floors. The Shard is a true marvel of modern architecture that exemplifies all the ingenuity and the spirit of human accomplishment when it comes to building taller, larger and more amazing structures every year.

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