Posted on Monday, February 4, 2019
Ask someone to name London’s famous buildings and they might mention the Shard, the Gherkin, the Walkie Talkie or any of the iconic structures that make up the capital’s skyline. Or they might look to London’s heritage buildings for their choice of famous landmark, picking the Tower of London or the Houses of Parliament.
In the diverse and historic city of London, outstanding buildings in various architectural styles can be found on every street corner – from Art Deco tube stations to Brutalist galleries, Victorian pubs to gothic churches. Some are major tourist attractions, but many are offices, shops and even homes.
North West London has its share of architectural gems, spanning all eras of London’s past. Read on for a selection of five classic buildings that are definitely worth a look.
Affectionately nicknamed 'the sardine can' by cab drivers, 125 Park Road is a Grade II listed apartment block. With its rounded corners, corrugated aluminium and glazed roof it really does stand out from crowd, making the most of a fantastic location opposite the Hanover Gate entrance to Regent's Park.
The building was designed by architects Terry Farrell and Nicholas Grimshaw and constructed in the late 1960s at today’s eye-wateringly bargain price of £227,000.The 11-storeys hold 18 two-bedroom and 18 one-bedroom flats, along with and four penthouse suites - plus a flat for the caretaker.
It was built for the Mercury Housing Society, under the co-ownership principle, made possible by the recent formation of the Housing Corporation.
There was a great sense of community among those living in the building in its early days, many of whom were architects, designers and journalists - Farrell and Grimshaw even lived in the block themselves. It was so popular that at one point there were more than 400 people on the waiting list.
The building was listed in 2001, recognising Farrell and Grimshaw as pioneers of the high-tech movement in British architecture.
With an intricate red brick façade, gothic metalwork and gold leaf ceilings, it's easy to see why the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel has been called London's most romantic building.
The St Pancras hotel has seen mixed fortunes, however. At one point the poet Sir John Betjeman called it "too beautiful and too romantic to survive" among London's concrete tower blocks. It proved him wrong with a spectacular renaissance of its own.
The hotel is located just above St Pancras International station, one of London's favourite landmarks. Originally named the Midland Grand, it was opened by Queen Victoria in 1873, as a convenient stopping-off place for weary rail travellers passing through St Pancras station.
Sadly, the hotel went into a decline and closed in 1935. After more than 60 years of being left to its own devices, 2001 saw restoration work begin on this grand building. Ten years, and £200 million later, the hotel was returned to its former glory, and it truly is a wonder to behold.
Just a short walk from St Pancras is another amazing red brick structure. The British Library is a fantastic piece of modern architecture often compared to a ship in sail. The largest UK building to be constructed during the 20th century, the British Library was 30 years in the making – it was the longest construction project since St Paul's Cathedral, more than 400 years before. It opened in 1995.
Built in a Scandinavian modernism style by Sir Colin St John Wilson, the library is home to of the world’s most significant books, manuscripts and sound recordings. These range from the Magna Carta and Jane Austen’s notebook to The Beatles song sheets. At its heart is the King's Library, containing the 60,000-volume book collection of George III.
You can sign up for a free pass to visit the British Library’s reading rooms and access the extensive collection. The library has a range of major exhibitions and special events on offer too – currently a look at the Anglo Saxons and their kingdoms.
Neasden’s BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu temple has been described as one of London’s most beautiful landmarks and a wonder of the western world. The traditional stone mandir is the only temple of this scale to have been built outside India. With its white marble domes andexquisite carving, it’sanelaboratemasterpiece of workmanship.
Based on traditional design it took three years to build, with input from 1,500 people, many of them volunteers. It was hand-carved in India before being assembled in London.
The exterior is made of Bulgarian limestone, while the interior is shaped from 5,000 tonnes of Italian and Indian marble – materials chosen to withstand the British climate, while being soft enough to carve. People of all beliefs are invited to pay a visit and experience a traditional Hindu prayer ceremony or learn more about the faith in its exhibition space.
A stunning Art Deco building made from Portland Stone, BBC Broadcasting house was the UK’s first purpose-built radio studios. It was designed by G Val Myer and built in 1932 and is now is Grade II* listed.
With its sweeping circular shape, it cuts an impressive figure in Portland Place, between Oxford Street and Regent's Park, and has been described as like a great ocean liner.
Having undergone extensive renovation, New Broadcasting House, as it’s officially known, is now one of the largest live broadcast centres in the world, with 36 radio studios and six TV studios. It houses BBC Radio, News and the World Service.
The building is thought to have inspired the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1948 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, with the book’s notorious Room 101 based on an office where Orwell worked during his time at the BBC.
If you’re looking to buy or rent in London, leading North and Central London Estate Agents Kubie Gold can help you. Visit our office in Marylebone and speak to our friendly team or take a look at our properties online now.