London is a city that’s known for its architecture from the Gothic splendour of Westminster Abbey to the more formal Nash terraces of Regent’s Park, but until I started researching this post I hadn’t realised how many Art Deco buildings there were, the city is full of them. These are some of my personal favourites.
This is the old Imperial Airways Empire Air Terminal in Victoria, it was designed by architect Albert Lakeman and was opened in 1939 as the headquarters and passenger check in facility for Imperial Airways.
The sculpture above the main entrance by the artist Eric Broadbent shows winged figures over the world, a throw back to when the building had a more glamorous past, today it’s the National Audit Office.
More or less opposite is one of London’s more well known Art Deco landmarks, Victoria Coach Station. It was completed in 1932 by Wallis Gilbert and Partners and is one of the inter war practice’s most notable surviving projects.
The old Transport for London offices at 55 Broadway are another classic example of Art Deco. The building was completed in 1929, originally as the new headquarters for the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL). When it was built it was the tallest office block in the city.
The distinctive checkerboard style flats on Page Street in Westminster were built by the 2nd Duke of Westminster between 1928 and 1930. The buildings were designed by architect Sir Edward Lutyens.
The Adelphi Building near to the Embankment was built between 1936 and 1938 by Stanley Hamp of Colcutt and Hamp. Its strong Art Deco design is expressed through its curved balconies, the bronze anodised bow windows and the use of sculpture and pattern work across the buildings exterior.
Next door to the Adelphi Building is Shell Mex House which was built in 1930 – 31 on the site of the former Hotel Cecil, the Strand side of the building still uses the original facade of the hotel, the rest is most definitely Art Deco. Its most famous feature is the huge clock tower that faces the river.
Also in the same area is the world famous Savoy Hotel, the hotel itself dates back to 1889 but in the 1920’s the innovative hotel added various Art Deco features including the stainless steel Savoy sign over Savoy Court.
The Savoy Theatre also sits within Savoy Court and after a devastating fire in 1990 has been rebuilt using the original 1920’s designs of architect Frank Tugwell and the interior designs of Basil Ionides.
In Bloomsbury the old Daimler Garage on Herbrand Street is a classic example of Art Deco architecture. This beautiful looking white, black and green building was completed in 1931 by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners (those of Victoria Coach Station fame) and was used as a Daimler car hire garage and also a car park.
The Senate House was designed by architect Charles Holden and was completed in 1937 when at the time it was one of the tallest buildings in London.
Ideal House, now known as Palladium House was built as the London headquarters of the National Radiator Company (a subsidiary of the American Radiator Company), it was designed as a scaled down version of the American Radiator Building in New York.
Construction of Broadcasting House began in 1928 as the new headquarters for the BBC in London, there are numerous Art Deco features to be seen including the sculptures of Prospero and Ariel by Eric Gill.
120 Fleet Street are the former offices of the Daily Express newspaper in London and are one of the city’s most iconic modernist buildings. Constructed between 1930 and 1932 the building was clad with black Vitrolite panels with chromium strips at the joints giving it a streamlined appearance and making it, even today, one of the most recognisable buildings in London.
The last Art Deco building I’d like to show you is just up the street from the Express building and is the Daily Telegraph building. This 1930’s neo-classical building was once the home to the Daily Telegraph newspaper in London and was designed and built by Elcock, Sutcliffe and Tait. The Egyptian style columns and the ornate clock are the highlights of this once grand newspaper office.