MANY TIMES HAVE YOU SEEN A BUILDING from a car or from a bus in London and wondered
about it. How old is it? Who designed it? For what purpose?
Chances are it could be featured in London: Atlas of Architecture by
Alejandro Bahamón. This remarkable visual guide to London's architectural history
covers both the city's heart and its individual boroughs and it in-cludes over
600 photographs, histor-ical maps, paintings and drawings.
The front cover depicts the dramatic British Museum Great Court
one of a number of subjects given an in-depth study
and at the beginning is a guide to using the book. A four-page introduction
tells of the importance of the Thames to London and the different people who
have affected our capital, from the Romans in the First Century AD to the present
above the text are wonderful black-and-white images that illustrate the changing
face of London. Next comes a striking colour photograph of a panoramic view
across modern London from the London Eye, with Telecom Tower (formerly The Post
Office Tower) standing out against the skyline.
The book is divided into three sections. The first is Chronology, cover-ing
the city's historical development from Muralla Roman in 220 to the building
of The Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe) in the 21st Century. The most relevant historic
events that have shaped the city's urban development are shown above the timeline,
beginning with A Strategic Settlement For Romans and Saxons and ending
with Where Is The City Heading?. Below the timeline are carefully selected
buildings relevant to the times including the old Roman wall, The Tower of London
and the oldest monastic church in London, St Bartholomew the Great. There are
also the 16th Century Houses on Staple Inn, the magnificent reconstructed Globe
Theatre and the modern Millennium Dome, City Hall and The Gherkin.
Section Two is Boroughs, with a map showing the London boroughs and key
buildings of the individual boroughs
both central and suburban and starting with City. There are period drawings
including mediaeval buildings on the banks of the Thames, a panoramic view of
the city in the reign of Elizabeth I; London Bridge in 1600 and The Great Fire
of London in 1666. Below the timeline is Smithfield Market that was built on
the site of an old cattle and horse market in 1866.
It is interesting to see 'then' and 'now' images. Under Westminster,
a 1650 drawing shows the ensemble formed by the Houses of Parliament and Westminster
Abbey and there is also a 1750 drawing of a view of Westminster Abbey.
Outer East London covers Barking, Dagenham, Bexley and Havering
and features a 1790 Windmill in St Mary's Lane, Upminster, that was
in operation until 1934.
Bromley, Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton and Sutton are covered by Outer
South London with 17th Century Bromley College
and Hogsmill River, a tributary of the Thames, highlighted.
Types of Buildings looks in more detail at different sorts of buildings
monuments like the Albert Memorial; stations such as the Gothic Revival St Pancras
Station; churches like All Saints in Margaret Street, considered one of the
most outstanding examples of Victorian religious architecture; bridges, hotels,
banks, museums, palaces and theatres of London. A fantastic look at London's
architecture, past and present.
The London Atlas of Architecture will give the reader an insight into
so many buildings Londoners and visitors pass every day whether at home, in
the suburbs or in the heart of the city.
London: Atlas of Architecture by
Alejandro Bahamón is published by Batsford in hardback and available from all
good bookshops at an
RRP of £20. ISBN: 9780713490725. (Batsford is an imprint of Anova:
10 Southcombe Street, London W14 0RA.)
Alejandro Bahamón is a leading architect in Barcelona. His architectural practice
has been recognized in Catalonian exhibitions and he was one of the finalists
in the 2003 edition of the FAD prizes.