Last years’ RIBA awards (referred to as the World Cup of the property market) caused controversy and consternation within the industry, with the winners largely chastised for their lack of flair, innovation and social relevance.
Some of this may be traced back to the return of the so-called Brutalist movement, with concrete-clad public buildings performing particularly well.
Even London was unable to provide inspiration last year, with the nominations for the South West of the capital having been debated at length.
Despite this, the South West of London is home to some spectacular examples of historical architecture and buildings that have incredible social and political influence.
While there may be a divide between modern and traditional architecture in London’s South West, it is important to give praise to the structures that adorn the skyline in the capital.
To this end, we have listed our top five examples of architecture in South West London and considered their individual merit: –
1. The Palace of Westminster
Not only is the Palace of Westminster home to the House of Lords and the House of Commons, but it is also a building with significant political and social heritage. As the political powerbase for the whole of the UK, it has overseen some of the most monumental decisions and legislation reforms in history.
Above all else it is a staggering beautiful piece of architecture, having originated during the Anglo-Saxon period circa 950AD and established itself as one of the UK’S longest-standing buildings.
2. The Ritz Casino
In an age when you can download poker online, it seems strange to think that bricks and mortar casinos are still able to thrive. The example of London’s Ritz Casino proves that this type of entity retains a core foundation of loyal players, while also offering a luxurious gaming experience that is hard to enjoy online.
Even the best UK online poker sites cannot match the stunning beauty or sense of style boasted by the French, which boasts a distinctly Parisian design influence and resembles a block of French apartments from a distance. Both distinctive and architecturally stunning in equal measure, the Ritz casino is the reason that land-based gaming outlets continue to thrive.
3. The Natural History Museum
A towering colossus of a building, the Natural History Museum is one of the jewels’ in the crown of South West architecture. With two peaks overshadowing a beautiful Victorian design, it bears a passing resemblance to Rome’s imposing Colosseum and is also home to a huge range of specimens spanning the length and breadth of British history.
The evolution of the UK since the Stone Age means that its natural history is rich with diversity, while this building also provides an interactive experience for children and adults alike.
4. Battersea Power Station
We have already touched on the return of the Brutalist architectural movement in the UK, and this is having an increasing influence on contemporary design. In addition to this, there are constant reminders of this movement dotted across the UK skyline, with Battersea’s imposing grey power station among the most prominent.
This piece of architecture fuses concrete and steel without compromising its innate natural beauty, and this serves as a template that modern buildings seem to be following.
5. The All England Lawn and Tennis Club
The Wimbledon Championships remain the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and are certainly established as the Grand Slam that every player wants to win regardless of their origins.
Beyond the heritage and history of this venue, however, the All England Lawn and Tennis Club is also a beautifully designed and compact structure that provides a fitting home for one of sports’ most prestigious events. This is why a trip to the Wimbledon Championships is a must for everyone regardless of whether you are a tennis fan or not.