The Prevailing London Architectural Style

The prevailing style of London architecture can be said to be mixed. Some call it higgledy piggledy. The pace of change in the choices and fashions of the architects and town planners has always been characterised by rapidity, by a desire to always try something new, to be the vanguard. There has never really been a style, which London has settled on, which it has owned and wanted to conserve. Perhaps because London is full of wannabees, people who want to be individual, too hot to handle, people without class, people who want to be known as innovators, pure attention seekers.
The result is a huge variety of architectural styles, which have been summed up in a eulogy by Rowan Moore, who wrote of London’s architectural variety that, “[London] is a city that can accommodate such lush fantasies as St Pancras station, the Hoover factory in Perivale and Rogers’s own stainless steel paean to plumbing, the Lloyd’s Building. It is a city with the neutral sobriety of Georgian terraces but also the mini-manor houses of suburbia. It is a city of brick, stone, timber, tile, faïence, steel, glass, concrete, plaster, copper, lead, iron, plastic, neon, terracotta, slate and, in one north London house, straw bales. The history of London’s growth is one of continuous reinvention….Things that look conventional now, like Georgian squares, were once radical new ideas.”


It has been noted that one of the principal features of London, which perhaps makes it different from other cities of comparable wealth is the relative lack of mansions in the city. London Online explains that this feature was due to the passing of the Law of Proclamation forbade as far as possible any country gentleman who was not in Parliament from residing in London. “This law even made the overgrown metropolis more appealing in some way. Many countrymen moved to the city despite it. However on one occasion, after a Sussex nobleman was fined £1,000 for residing in London rather than on his own estate in the country, it arguably served to inhibit any further countrymen from moving to London. Consequently it is easy to understand why there are so many large mansions in small country towns, yet far fewer around London”.


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