Your London architecture guide for a weekend stroll
Stop googling. Stop instagramming. Let Wallpaper* design editors (and London locals) Rosa Bertoli and Sujata Burman guide you through the streets of the greatest city on earth.
Weekend life in London can be fairly daunting. There’s only 52 in a year after all, so you have to be curated about planning them, specially when there is a plethora of buildings to check off the must-see list. What if there was a cute little guide, light enough to carry around, chunky enough to be trusted? Hoxton Mini Press knew exactly what we were thinking.
The Opinionated Guide to London Architecture is the solution to that weekend problem. You can stop spending your Saturday mornings trawling Google. This book will draw you across the city in its own curated trail of 54 London buildings.
London locals Rosa Bertoli and Sujata Burman, also editors at Wallpaper*, whittled down their list in collaboration with the Hoxton Mini Press team. ‘We quite simply asked ourselves: "What makes this building an example of brilliant London architecture?" We also wanted to showcase a range of mixed-use public spaces – it is great that so many architectural gems are free and open to the public.’
Their tip for a day of architecture hunting? ‘Get out early as possible to enjoy the streets in an emptier state, and make sure to stop at a pub – or two – for a pint, to make it a true Londoner tour.’
The book holds a refreshing mix of old and new, brutal, art deco, pomo and more. You’ll find new appreciation for the greats: the National Theatre, James Stirling’s One Poultry, Sir John Soane’s Museum or the Tate Modern. And you’ll discover sites you never knew were there: Steven Holl’s Maggie’s Bart in Covent Garden, John Outram’s Isle of Dogs Pumping Station or a brutal church nicknamed ‘The Gate of Heaven’ in Mile End. One that just missed the cut? ‘Welbeck Street Car Park. Its amazing brutalist form is now being demolished and turned into a luxury hotel.’ Oh London...
The framing of photographer Taran Wilkhu’s shots, which illustrate each entry, always draw your eye to the details – his focus is on the crests, the cornices, the corners. And it’s the careful selection of shots that make the book feel all the more curated.
This guide is a starring point, and from there, you’ll learn a lot and make some memories of your own along the way. After all, ‘Buildings are stories. Literally,’ writes Rory Olcayto, director, Open House London in the foreword. He goes on to describe the genesis of the word ’storey’ tracing it back to Roman times. London is a vast library, he concludes. Lucky then, that we’ve got a succinct guide in our back pocket. §