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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45 items
Unexecuted design for Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London: perspective view of the building and proposed roadRIBA31583

 
Alternative design for an International Music Hall and Opera House, Hyde Park Corner, LondonRIBA13412

 
Barbican Estate, City of London: perspective of early scheme with very different elevations to those executedRIBA94808


Competition design for a facade for the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, LondonRIBA35097

 
Competition design for additional office and library space for the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London: sketched perspective, plan, elevations and section of a tower featuring solar panels and radio antennaeRIBA36235

 
Competition design for the Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, LondonRIBA12462


Competition design for the Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, LondonRIBA12463

 
Competition design for the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London: perspectiveRIBA21536

 
Competition design for the Nelson monument, Trafalgar Square, London: perspective view showing visitors entering a small domed structureRIBA32062


Competition design for the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London: model viewed from the corner of Clements Inn and the StrandRIBA37897

 
Competition design for the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London: view from the south bank of the River ThamesRIBA12817

 
Competition design for the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London: elevation of the entrance facadeRIBA32739


Competition design for the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London: elevation of the main entranceRIBA22471

 
Competition design II for the Nelson monument, Trafalgar Square, London: motif showing the globe surrounded by columns and set in a circle used for the title page of 'The Competition for the erection of the Nelson monument, critically examined'RIBA65098

 
Design for a pneumatic railway, LondonRIBA13407


Design for a suggested development of multi-storey buildings surrounding St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, with the River Thames in the foregroundRIBA20381

 
Design for a tower for Selfridge's department store, Oxford Street, LondonRIBA3965

 
Design for the Imperial Monumental Halls and Tower, Westminster, London: viewed looking south-westRIBA4019


Design for Whitehall Palace, LondonRIBA82008

 
Model of the final revised design for the National Gallery Extension, Hampton site, Trafalgar Square, LondonRIBA3838

 
Model of the proposed tower block for the Mansion House Square scheme, 1 Poultry, City of London, at duskRIBA77129


Model of the unexecuted competition project for the National Gallery Extension, Hampton site, Trafalgar Square, LondonRIBA28852

 
Photograph of a plaster model of a proposed tower to be built over Selfridges department store, Oxford Street, London, for H. Gordon SelfridgeRIBA20855

 
Photomontage of proposed re-erection of the Temple Bar at Ludgate Hill, City of LondonRIBA14197


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