Unexecuted Design for Tower Bridge

Unbuilt London

The London that might have been

Familiar as we are with London’s monuments, landmarks and historic buildings it’s easy to forget the many proposed, abandoned or rejected designs for a London that might have been.

This gallery illustrates a small selection of drawings and photographs of models of the many unrealised designs for London held by the RIBA Collections. These range from competition designs of iconic landmarks such as the Nelson monument to grand schemes that would have drastically altered the landscape of London such as Joseph Emberton’s high-rise development surrounding St Paul’s Cathedral.

Of particular note are some of the rather staid competition designs for RIBA’s headquarters at 66 Portland Place and the various entries for the controversial competition for the National Gallery Extension.


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44 items
RIBA4098Unexecuted design for the Grand Foyer, International Music Hall and Opera House, Hyde Park, London

RIBA12151Unexecuted design for King's Reach, Southwark, London

RIBA13090Unexecuted design for tower blocks on the site of Devonshire House, London

RIBA13282Unexecuted competition design for a shopping centre at the Elephant and Castle, Southwark, London

RIBA13410Unexecuted design for a double bridge, the enlargement of the Legal Quays and a new Custom House, London

RIBA20397Unexecuted design for an office building, Albert Embankment, Vauxhall, London

RIBA22497Proposed design (unexecuted) for the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, Mayfair, London

RIBA29315Unexecuted design for the John Lewis Department Store, Oxford Street / Cavendish Square, London: perspective view

RIBA31146Unexecuted design for Senate House, University of London, Bloomsbury, London: elevation

RIBA31574Unexecuted design for the Festival of Britain exhibition complex, South Bank, London: aerial perspective showing a large proposed riverside structure in the form of a giant glazed spiral ramp

RIBA31583Unexecuted design for Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London: perspective view of the building and proposed road

RIBA31952Unexecuted competition design for the National Gallery Extension project, Hampton site, Trafalgar Square, London: perspective with photographs of a model

RIBA31995Unexecuted design for Tower Bridge (here titled the 'Bascule Bridge'), London: perspective view showing the double leaf bascule in its lowered postition

RIBA33004Proposed design of a commercial interior for St Pancras Station, Euston Road, London

RIBA37911'Suggestions for the Concentration of Government Offices and Westminster Improvements' by means of opening up Whitehall into a 'Grand Avenue' between Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London: perspective towards Trafalgar Square

RIBA54261Studies for Bankside Power Station, now Tate Modern, Southwark, London

RIBA68904Proposed new Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, London, seen from the river

RIBA68973Unexecuted designs for the Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster, London: alternative elevation of the facade facing Old Palace Yard

RIBA85352Unexecuted design for an idealised bridge called 'A Bridge of Magnificence' intended to span the Thames at Somerset House, London: elevation and section through basement of domed terminal blocks

RIBA88164Sotheby's, New Bond Street, London: model of the proposed unexecuted showroom

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