Architecture of the United Kingdom  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Ron Herron was a British architect and member of Archigram. He conceptualized The Walking City.

Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and the Great Fire of London in 1666 an opportunity was missed in London to create a new metropolitan city, featuring modern architectural styles. Although one of the best known British architects, Sir Christopher Wren, was employed to design and rebuild many of the ruined ancient churches of London, his master plan for rebuilding London as a whole was rejected. It was in this period that he designed the building that he is perhaps best known for, St Paul's Cathedral.

In the early 18th century baroque architecture—popular in Europe—was introduced, and Blenheim Palace was built in this era. However, baroque was quickly replaced by a return of the Palladian form. The Georgian architecture of the 18th century was an evolved form of Palladianism. Many existing buildings such as Woburn Abbey and Kedleston Hall are in this style. Among the many architects of this form of architecture and its successors, neoclassical and romantic, were Robert Adam, Sir William Chambers, and James Wyatt.

In the early 19th century the romantic medieval gothic style appeared as a backlash to the symmetry of Palladianism, and such buildings as Fonthill Abbey were built. By the middle of the 19th century, as a result of new technology, construction was able to develop incorporating steel as a building component; one of the greatest exponents of this was Joseph Paxton, architect of the Crystal Palace. Paxton also continued to build such houses as Mentmore Towers, in the still popular retrospective Renaissance styles. In this era of prosperity and development British architecture embraced many new methods of construction, but ironically in style, such architects as August Pugin ensured it remained firmly in the past.

At the beginning of the 20th century a new form of design arts and crafts became popular, the architectural form of this style, which had evolved from the 19th century designs of such architects as George Devey, was championed by Edwin Lutyens. Arts and crafts in architecture is symbolized by an informal, non symmetrical form, often with mullioned or lattice windows, multiple gables and tall chimneys. This style continued to evolve until World War II.

Following the Second World War reconstruction went through a variety of phases, but was heavily influenced by Modernism, especially from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Many bleak town centre redevelopments—criticised for featuring hostile, concrete-lined "windswept plazas"—were the fruit of this interest, as were many equally bleak public buildings, such as the Hayward Gallery. Many Modernist inspired town centres are today in the process of being redeveloped, Bracknell town centre being a case in point.

However, it should not be forgotten that in the immediate post-War years many thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of council houses in vernacular style were built, giving working class people their first experience of private gardens and indoor sanitation.

Modernism remains a significant force in UK architecture, although its influence is felt predominantly in commercial buildings. The two most prominent proponents are Lord Rogers of Riverside and Lord Foster of Thames Bank. Rogers' iconic London buildings are probably Lloyd's Building and the Millennium Dome, while Foster created the Swiss Re Buildings (aka The Gherkin) and the Greater London Authority H.Q.

Twentieth century architecture

Twentieth century architecture

At the beginning of the 20th century a new form of design arts and crafts became popular, the architectural form of this style, which had evolved from the 19th century designs of such architects as Charles Rennie Mackintosh and George Devey, was championed by Edwin Lutyens. Arts and crafts in architecture is symbolized by an informal, non symmetrical form, often with mullioned or lattice windows, multiple gables and tall chimneys. This style continued to evolve until World War II.

Public buildings and commercial buildings were often executed in the neo-classical style until the late 1950s. Lutyens designed new civic buildings in this style as did Herbert Baker, Reginald Blomfield, Bradshaw Gass & Hope, Edward Maufe, Albert Richardson and Percy Thomas. A notable example of the style is Manchester Central Library by Vincent Harris. With the exception of Lutyens, the reputations of these architects suffered in the later twentieth century. Some architects responded to modernism, and economic circumstances, by producing stripped down versions of traditional styles; the work of Giles Gilbert Scott illustrates this well.

Following the Second World War reconstruction went through a variety of phases, but was heavily influenced by the late work of Le Corbusier, especially from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Significant movements in this era included the British 'New Brutalist' style such as the Economist Building by Alison and Peter Smithson, the Hayward Gallery, the Barbican Arts Centre and Denys Lasdun's Royal National Theatre . Many Modernist-inspired town centres considered unappealing by some, are today in the process of being redeveloped, Bracknell town centre being a case in point.

However, it should not be forgotten that in the immediate post-War years many thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of council houses in mock-vernacular style were built, giving working class people their first experience of private gardens and indoor sanitation.

Postmodern architecture that started in the 1970s was especially fashionable in the 1980s when many shopping malls and office complexes for example Broadgate used this style, notable practioners were James Stirling and Terry Farrell (architect), although Farrell returned modernism in the 1990s.

Modernism remained a significant force in British architecture, although its influence was felt predominantly in non-domestic buildings. The two most prominent proponents were Lord Rogers of Riverside and Lord Foster of Thames Bank. Rogers' iconic London buildings are probably Lloyd's Building and the Millennium Dome, while Foster created the Swiss Re Buildings (nicknamed The Gherkin) and the Greater London Authority H.Q. Their respective influence continues past the millennium, into the current century.

Traditional styles were never fully abandoned in the late twentieth century. In the 1980s,Prince Charles controversially made known his preference for traditional architecture and put his ideas into practice at his Poundbury development in Dorset. Architects like Raymond Erith, Francis Johnson and Quinlan Terry continued to practice in the Classical style; many of their buildings were new country houses for private clients.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Architecture of the United Kingdom" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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