The Guildhall

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Sketch plan of area

Last Sunday we visited the heart of the City of London, The Guildhall. Although quite empty, the square had a very nice feel to it; an expansive open area, but one that felt cozy and just right. We were awe-struck by the idea that this very spot has been developed by humans uninterruptedly for two thousand years, and by how these human interventions have the mark of their time, but work so well together. The history of the place undoubtedly gives it power, but it was also interesting to observe it from an architectural sense. The little sketch plan shows the main spatial organisation of the buildings: there is the Roman Amphitheatre beneath our feet, expressed through the pavement stones; a pretty Wren church to the left as you enter; a Grade I listed Medieval building, the Town Hall, from the 15th century; a Modernist/Communist style West Wing extension from the 50′s by Giles Gilbert Scott; and the Postmodern gallery by Scott’s son, Richard, that references Art Deco and the gothic town hall. We were pleasantly surprised to find this amalgamation of styles and periods working together so seamlessly in one space. We would definitely like to come back, and see it being used on a more lively day. It does show, however, that a public space doesn’t need to be occupied all the time for it to have a pleasant atmosphere.

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