20 Fenchurch Street, London
By Nick Coppard
The former 2015 Carbuncle Cup winning building that everyone loves to hate! Over the last decade of working in the City, it’s the one building that, no matter how many times I walk past it, draws my attention. Of course, this may be due to the audacious contrast to the historic norm of the traditional architectural landscape of the financial district, but to me I think it’s something more.
Sure, it’s melted a few cars and creates a highly irritable constant wind tunnel at ground zero, but every time I look I can’t help but appreciate its sheer scale and the complexity in constructing the curved steel rebar frame, that continues to draw your eye. Oddly, I’ve never been in the ‘Walkie Talkie’ and visited the Sky Gardens. I guess, as they say, never meet your hero’s.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain
One of my favourite buildings is the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, I visited it back in 2004 and I will never forget being blown away by the architecture. The property was finally completed in 1997, after being proposed in 1991 to help with the redevelopment of Bilbao. The architect who was successful in undertaking this project was Frank O. Gehry who used cutting edge CAD technology to create the building, in materials such as glass, stone and titanium.
The Louvre, Paris
I think what makes this building so special is the mix between modern and historic architecture across the site.
The Louvre palace was built between the 12th and 13th century, and in part of the museum you can still walk through to the old moat and see the medieval ramparts. The Royal Residence was then built over the top in the 1500’s, and it became the museum we know today in 1793. The later additions, including the iconic pyramids and entrance hall, were added in the early 1980’s. Designed by Ieoh Ming Pei, they were very controversial at the time due to the contrast with the older architecture, but they definitely add to the wonder of the site.
St Paul’s Cathedral, London
On Ludgate Hill, at the highest point of the City of London, sits a Grade I listed building that is probably one of London’s most iconic buildings. The famous lead-covered dome is one of the world’s largest, and at 111 m (365 ft), it was the tallest building in London from its completion in 1710 until 1967.
Like many of us, I have grown up with St Pauls dominating London’s skyline, but it isn’t until you go inside that you are transfixed by the stunning hall and incredible architecture. If you are lucky enough to climb the 500 plus steps, you will be amazed by the panoramic views of London and truly appreciate this London gem.
The current cathedral is the fifth building on the Hill, the original church having been founded in 604 AD. The fourth, Old St. Paul’s was a huge Gothic cathedral built by the Normans and regarded as one of the masterpieces of medieval Europe, with a tower and spire reaching a height of 489 ft. It was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666, following which, a decision was taken to build a new cathedral from scratch. The new cathedral was then pierced by a Nazi bomb in 1940, destroying the dome, which was reconstructed later.
St. Paul’s is one of the most significant buildings in terms of national identity, with propaganda images showing it remaining unscathed having become synonymous with the wartime Blitz. It has also been the location for the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill; as well as the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Salzburg Cathedral, Austria
I have always had a fascination around Cathedrals, not only by their beauty of décor and architecture, but the history steeped within them. I visited Salzburg back in December of 2019 with my daughter and family and I was completely taken aback by the beauty of the Salzburg Cathedral.
Salzburg Cathedral is a 17th century baroque building in Austria, where Mozart was baptised and would play. Mozart was baptized on January 28, 1756, the day after his birth. As he grew up he would play the “Hoforgel,” one of five organs in the Cathedral; which you can still see today, at the southeast side of the church. Legend has it, Joseph Mohr, the composer of “Silent Night,” was baptised at the same font as the composer.
At 232 feet (71 meters) high, The Dome is probably the most impressive feature of the Salzburg Cathedral. It displays 16 frescos in two rows, each depicting a scene from the Old Testament. The works are connected to those on the cathedral’s nave, all painted by the same Italian artists, Donato Mascagni and Ignazio Solari.
Interestingly, the Cathedral has been destroyed three times. In honour of this, at the Cathedral’s façade, the gates show the three divine virtues – Faith, Love and Hope, while the dates above them are reminders of the three times the Cathedral was consecrated.
Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
The Great Pyramid of Giza is among one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and it is the only ancient wonder still to remain largely intact.
Built by the Egyptians, it has been determined to be about 4600 years old and 481 feet tall. It was the tallest structure in the world until modern skyscrapers came along. It is apparently large enough to be identifiable from the space station.
The exact method in which this architectural marvel was built is still unclear. I am amazed at the accuracy and precision on how the ancient Egyptians had built such a masterpiece with no technology.
Missed Week 1? You can read all about it here.
Missed Week 2? You can read all about it here.
Missed Week 3? You can read all about it here.
Missed Week 4? You can read all about it here.
Missed Week 6? You can read all about it here.