Exploring...'Architecture'

Author

Throughout June, we are exploring the theme of Architecture. Look out for special collaborations with the London Festival of Architecture, which has gone digital this year, as well as stories from the archives, exhibitions and much more.

We've picked out some highlights below - follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more.

The delicacy of concrete at the Smithfield Poultry Market

Nothing special from the outside, the Smithfield Poultry Market seems like a row of loading bays, but the interior, with its single, vast, shell concrete dome roof never fails to astonish. Situated at the western end of Horace Jones’s 19th century Smithfield Market building, the Poultry Market was built between 1961 and 1963 to replace a section of the original market that had been destroyed by a fire in 1958. The engineer, Ove Arup, had for some time been working on the development of wide span roofs using shell concrete, with the minimum of internal supports. It is the apparent lightness of the concrete shell (3 inches thick over most of the area of the dome) and the delicacy with which it rests on the building that still amazes architects today.


Stockhausen goes to the Turbine Hall

A look back at 30 June 2018 when the London Symphony Orchestra performed for the first time at Tate Modern in London. Conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, with Matthias Pintscher and Duncan Ward, the LSO performed Messiaen's Et exspecto resurrectionem morturom and Stockhausen's Gruppen for three orchestras for an audience in the Turbine Hall.

"When Stockhausen wrote this piece, he wanted to explore the different sounds and the different combinations of sounds in a big space..." - Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director of LSO
"Simon Rattle had a vision...Of course when we heard what he wanted to do, a piece that's so radical, experimental, but never been performed in an industrial space like this before, it was an obvious thing for us to come on board with." - Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern

Modern music in the home of modern art. Take a look below.

London Bridge

London Bridge was one of the great sights of medieval London. Foreigners remarked on its splendour and the many 'dwelling-houses ... built above workshops' belonging to 'diverse craftsmen'. By 1358, the bridge supported 138 houses and shops and the rental income was used in maintaining the structure. Additional funds were obtained from tolls paid for carts passing over the bridge, vessels passing under the bridge and fines for unlawful fishing from the bridge. Wardens were appointed by the City to administer the revenues and this plaque, from the collection of the Museum of London, bears the Wardens' mark and the inscription 'Annodni/1509'.

© Museum of London

The People's Tower

Last year, as part of Fantastic Feats: the building of London, 3,000 Londoners helped to build Guildhall out of cardboard boxes with artist Olivier Grossetête. Once built, the structure was ceremoniously toppled and trampled - watch this video of the highlights.

Hidden landmarks

You may not have seen it for a while, but do you recognise this fabric?

Barman moquette by Wallace Sewell

Transport for London’s fabrics, known as moquettes, are as iconic as the company itself. The Barman moquette, designed by Wallace Sewell, is named after Christian Barman, who commissioned the first moquettes for the London Underground in 1936. By 2010, design duo Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell had already put their stamp on the London Overground and Tram seats, when TfL opened a competition to design its latest moquette. To maximise their chances in line with the competition rules, they each entered two designs. One of their four designs was picked over 300 other entries, and that's the one you see today, which is pictured above. The pattern was first used on refurbished Central Line trains in 2011.

If you look carefully, you can spot four London landmarks: the London Eye, Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, and if you concentrate enough, Tower Bridge. Can't find them all? Click this link to locate the landmarks.

It seems that architecture is all around us, even inside a bus.


Lloyd's of London

After the completion of Paris' Centre Pompidou in 1977 with Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers was commissioned to design a new building to replace the original Lloyd’s insurance building in the City of London. It was the second expansion in the history of the insurance company’s headquarters due to overcrowded conditions. Started in 1978 and completed in 1986, the Lloyd’s building brought a high-tech architectural aesthetic to the financial district of London.

Similar to the Centre Pompidou, the Lloyd’s building was designed “inside out.” All the service functions were removed from the interior and placed at the exterior of the building.  This allowed for easy replacement and maintenance on the elevators, plumbing, or electrical facilities, but also freed up the interior to create an open and flexible plan that allowed for uninterrupted activity on each level. When Rogers took on the project, it required the demolition of the original 1928 building, but rather than completely demolishing all traces of history for the Lloyd’s of London, he retained part of the original façade as an homage. Read more about the Lloyd's of London building on Dezeen.

© QQ7, Getty Images

The architecture of a Roman bathhouse

To mark London History Day on 31 May 2020, the City of London team who looks after the 1800-year-old site of the Billingsgate Roman House and Baths shared a video introduction to the site. Discover how it was found and preserved in 1848, and explore the remains of the house and bathhouse as they are today.

A building with unusual skills

The City of London’s skyline is unique because of the diversity of its architectural styles, the distinctive shapes of its skyscrapers and their peculiar nicknames. One of them though has all of this...and more. The Walkie Talkie, designed by architect Raphael Viñoly can claim to melt cars and fry eggs!

In September 2013, before its completion, the building was blamed for reflecting light which melted parts of a car parked on a nearby street. A member of the public had parked his Jaguar on Eastcheap one afternoon. When he returned two hours later, he found parts of his car - including the wing mirror and badge - had melted. This was due to the concave shape of the building which was reflecting concentrated rays of sunlight down onto the streets below. This problem was eventually solved by adding a permanent sunshade along the entire south side of the building.

Another unique feature of The Walkie Talkie is The Sky Garden, London’s highest public garden.

20 Fenchurch Street, popularly known as The Walkie Talkie
© NORRIE3699 / Getty Images


Architecture Bake Off

The popular baking competition from London Festival of Architecture (LFA) is back. Each year, London’s leading architecture practices have competed fiercely against each other, bringing together their architects to design and bake some of London’s best-loved building – in cake form.  This year, the competition has been opened up to the public, including children.

Each entrant has from 9am on Monday 1 June until Monday 8 June to bake and document their creations. Registration to participate is now closed. However, you can follow the participants as they prepare their masterpieces on social media with the hashtag #LFABakeOff, and sign up to watch the winners being announced on 11 June.

A team competes with their version of Tower Bridge in 2019's Architecture Bake Off
© London Festival of Architecture