Architecture of England
Norman Foster's 'Gherkin'
(2004) rises above the thirteenth century church St Helen's Bishopsgate in
The architecture of
The earliest known examples of architecture
The earliest domestic architecture is that
bequeathed to the country by the Romans, who occupied
Main article: Anglo-Saxon architecture
Following the battle of Mons Badonicus in 500, and the beginning of the Anglo-Saxon period a few isolated examples of architecture begin to appear; most notably some Saxon churches such as those at Stewkley and Wing both in Buckinghamshire.
Main article: Norman architecture
Norman architecture, or 'English Romanesque',
arrived with the Norman invasion of 1066, and was prevalent until the end of
the 12th Century when Gothic architecture arrived.
The Norman invasion brought with it more consistent forms of design. William I
and his law lords built numerous motte-and-bailey castles and garrisons to
uphold their authority. Often these were built initially of wood, speed of
erection being of greater concern than design or appearance; the best-known of
these is the
City walls were erected in place of the
earlier wooden pallisades of the motte-and-bailey castle. In some cities these
followed the line of earlier Roman defenses, for example at
In most towns and villages the parish church
is an indication of the age of the settlement, built as it was from stone
rather than the traditional wattle and daub. The
There are also a very small number of
domestic Norman buildings still standing, for example Jew's House, Lincoln; manor
houses at Saltford and Boothby Pagnall; and fortified manor houses such as
Whilst the Crown busied itself with the construction of defensive structures, the clergy, and indeed most of society, was dedicated to the glorification of God through the erection of Gothic cathedrals.
Very little survives of the vernacular
architecture of the early medieval period due to these buildings being
constructed from wood, wattle and daub, clay or turf.
As early as the 12th century, the cruck frame was introduced,
increasing the size of timber framed vernacular buildings .
Typically, houses of this period were based around a great hall open from floor
to roof. One bay at each end would be split into two storeys and used for
service rooms and private rooms for the owner.
Buildings surviving this period included moated manor houses of which Ightham
Mote is a notable late medieval example, and Wealden hall houses such as Alfriston
House, near Yeovil,
Large houses continued to be fortified until the Tudor period, when the first of the large gracious unfortified mansions such as the Elizabethan Montacute House and Hatfield House were built. The Tudor arch was a defining feature Stuart architecture
The Civil War 1642—49 proved to be the
last time in British history that houses had to survive a siege.
Just prior to the Civil War, Inigo Jones,
who is regarded as the first significant British architect, came to prominence.
He was responsible for importing the Palladian manner of architecture from
The dome of
Following the restoration of the monarchy
in 1660 and the Great Fire of London in 1666 an opportunity was missed in
In the early 18th century baroque
architecture, a style exemplified by heavy embellishment and mass, popular in
Europe, was introduced, the first baroque house in
The Georgian architecture of the
eighteenth and early nineteenth century was a development of Palladianism and
is alternatively termed Neoclassical architecture in
the European tradition. Many extant buildings such as Woburn Abbey and Kedleston
Hall are in this style. It was during this period that comfort and style became
truly popular, and many of
In the early 19th century the romantic medieval
gothic style appeared as a backlash to the symmetry of Palladianism, and such
buildings as Fonthill Abbey were built. By the middle of the 19th century, as a
result of new technology, construction was able to develop incorporating steel
as a building component; one of the greatest exponents of this was Joseph
Paxton, architect of the
In the 18th century a few English
architects had emigrated to the colonies, but as the British Empire became
firmly established in the 19th century many architects at the start of their
careers made the decision to emigrate, several chose the USA but most went to
Canada, Australia or New Zealand, as opportunities arose to meet the growing
demand for buildings in these countries. Normally the style of architecture
they adopted was those which were fashionable when they left
Twentieth century architecture
At the beginning of the 20th century a new
form of design, arts and crafts became popular. The architectural form of this
style, which had evolved from the 19th century designs of such architects as Charles
Rennie Mackintosh and George Devey, was championed by Edwin Lutyens. Arts and
crafts in architecture is symbolized by an informal, non symmetrical form,
often with mullioned or lattice windows, multiple gables and tall chimneys. In
the 1930s the Art Deco style influenced domestic architecture and some public
buildings, for example the
Public buildings and commercial buildings were often executed in the neo-classical style until the late 1950s. Lutyens designed new civic buildings in this style as did Herbert Baker, Reginald Blomfield, Bradshaw Gass & Hope, Edward Maufe, Albert Richardson and Percy Thomas. A notable example of the style is Manchester Central Library by Vincent Harris. With the exception of Lutyens, the reputations of these architects suffered in the later twentieth century. Some architects responded to modernism, and economic circumstances, by producing stripped down versions of traditional styles; the work of Giles Gilbert Scott illustrates this well.
Following the Second World War
reconstruction went through a variety of phases, but was heavily influenced by
the late work of Le Corbusier, especially from the late 1950s to the early
1970s. Significant movements in this era included the British 'New Brutalist'
style such as the
Building, City of
However, it should not be forgotten that in the immediate post-War years many thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of council houses in mock-vernacular style were built, giving working class people their first experience of private gardens and indoor sanitation.
Postmodern architecture that started in the 1970s was especially fashionable in the 1980s when many shopping malls and office complexes for example Broadgate used this style, notable practitioners were James Stirling and Terry Farrell (architect), although Farrell returned modernism in the 1990s.
Modernism remained a significant force in
English architecture, although its influence was felt predominantly in
non-domestic buildings. The two most prominent proponents were Lord Rogers of
Traditional styles were never fully
abandoned in the late twentieth century. In the 1980s,Prince
Charles controversially made known his preference for traditional architecture
and put his ideas into practice at his Poundbury development in