With the accumulation of different styles over the centuries, speaking of the variety of London’s architecture is somewhat of an understatement. To be honest, sometimes it feels like the whole city has been designed by a schizophrenic architect. This lack of unity, of course, reinforces its cultural wealth and dynamism.
Walking around London you may encounter architectural oddities just around the corner. In Pimlico for instance, a neighbourhood more renowned for its impressive regency style than for its eccentricity, stands a block of rather funny-looking buildings with striking checkerboard patterns.
Built between Page Street and Vincent Street, they are actually part of a social housing complex of around 600 dwellings called the Grosvenor Estate. It was designed in the 1930s by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who had never designed council houses before and was more famous for the grand houses he’d designed for wealthy client and is best remembered for his work in Delhi.
So who said social housing had to be bland and depressing?
Nearest tube station: Pimlico
Joseph M. W. Turner is with no doubt one of Great Britain’s most celebrated painters. He achieved success at a quite early age and when he died, he left to the nation a vast collection of paintings, drawings and sketches, which are now housed by Tate Britain’s Clore Gallery.
The 10 rooms of the Clore Gallery, which opened to the public in 1987, are entirely devoted to Turner’s work, and since they are part of the museum’s permanent collection, their admission is free of charge. They house some historical paintings the artist painted during the Napoleon wars, and numerous landscapes and marines depicting real and imaginary scenes inspired by his travels in Britain and all over Europe – Turner went to Germany, France, Italy, and he particularly loved Venice. The vibrant colours and poetic atmosphere of some of his late masterpieces are surprisingly modern. Tate Britain’s collection is a must see, but its gallery on Turner is arguably enough to make it stand in the world-class museums category.
Tate Britain is open every day form 10.00 to 18.00 and until 22.00 on the first Friday of each month
Nearest Tube station : Pimlico