Origami Girl

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

In which London is brutal

I sometimes visit London and share typical photos of the glorious buildings like Houses of Parliament or Tower Bridge. There are other times when I hunt out the least city-like areas and home in on Hamstead Heath, and the pockets of wildness within the capital

But last week we just went for serious and ugly London. Real architecture and tower blocks and concrete in the Barbican area. It's kind of hideous but I still loved it. In amongst all the chaos we found amazing moments of beauty, and it reminded why I think architecture is amazing.

So we started off at St. Paul's. Yes it is a typical beautiful London building, but then right behind it, scaffolding. It's never done, there's always something being worked on in this area as though we're obsessive painters trying to add one more detail.

 Then on a random street we found this beautiful garden next to an old church and some modern flats.
This was what we actually went out to see. It's called Postman's Park, and it contains a memorial to 'heroic sacrifice'. There were many tile plaques listing those who had given their lives in saving others. If you are in London, I would recommend it. There's so many small stories.

 The book benches in London are a temporary addition. Like spine bent books, the benches are all painted and themed on books set in London. Next week Andy and I are thinking of doing the full trail and trying to collect as many as possible! There are 50 to find.

  It's like a mini Tardis!

 And what was with this church? It looks like it should be in Doctor Who, randomly placed amongst the Brutalist architecture, like a disguised alien spaceship.

The next thing we came out to see was this area where all the buildings are made out of horrible rough concrete, but then decorated in flowers and greenery. It's a style generally known as 'brutalism', and has a lot of hatred. I couldn't live there, but for a brief moment I was tempted especially by the magnificent open pipe water feature attached to the main flats. But then these buildings just went on. We carried on round corners and across roads, but they were everywhere. Matching blocks with pink and red flower boxes. It was all a bit overwhelming after a while and I was ready to go back to the country again!
 Are you a fan of the mixed-up London architecture? Have you been to Barbican, and like it or love it?


  1. Big tower blocks and blocks of flats have a strange appeal to them, I wouldn't live in one but I like to admire the singularity about them.

  2. Firstly - great photos. You're showing me bits of London I've never seen (or paid full attention to). And the book benches - I want to go and find them all now too. I do often take in the juxtapositions of London architecture, jostling as it is into pretty much every viewpoint. However, now I will look a little more actively.

  3. Well, I mostly see photos of London which focus on the pretty. I've always enjoyed the interesting mix of buildings (then again, I wouldn't have to live in it either).

    I like your photos though and find the greenery amongst the brutalist buildings rather a neat juxtaposition.

  4. I love the color of the dress on you!