We were really pleased when Julian Cross, Design Lead Europe from Woods Bagot, took up our challenge of curating an architectural London landmark tour. You might have seen some of these iconic buildings when you visited London Design Festival last week.
Which London Landmark do you find most architecturally exciting?
Swiss Re. I was lucky enough to work on it early in my career and still admire its architectural clarity, which is both modern and timeless. I also enjoy the fact it has become much-loved by Londoners as an iconic part of the city’s skyline, despite the fact it was originally designed for a reinsurance corporation.
Which London building is a hidden/undiscovered/underappreciated gem?
26 St James Place, designed by Sir Denys Lasdun. It’s a building that proves Brutalism can be luxurious. A decidedly ‘English’ building that is at ease among the Portland Stone confections of St James.
Which London outside space do you like to spend time in?
Ching Court in Covent Garden. An early work by Farrells, built not long after Sir Terry Farrell succeeded as part of the group petitioning to save Covent Garden from demolition. It is a space and group of buildings that are sensitively contextual, yet still distinctly part of his post-modern period of work, rich in craft and detail. It is also just a nice place to sit for a moment of peace amongst the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden.
Which historic London building do you find inspirational?
Chiswick House for its Palladian beauty alongside the A4 road as you head home from Heathrow Airport, reminding you of one of the many reasons you love London.
Which contemporary building (or extension) have you been excited to see unveiled?
The extension to the V&A by Amanda Levete has been long awaited and in its realisation, represents a singular answer to a complex architectural challenge. It manages to create an interesting urban room that acts as a transition space, decompressing you from the hubbub of Exhibition Road into the calm serenity of the V&A Collection.
Which London interior do you enjoy being in?
The Flight Gallery at the Science Museum. It captures both the civility of London and Albertopolis with the excitement of the evolution of aircraft, yet smells like a proper museum. It also remains unchanged from my childhood so holds a certain nostalgia.
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