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

 
RIBA13412Alternative design for an International Music Hall and Opera House, Hyde Park Corner, London

 
RIBA94808Barbican Estate, City of London: perspective of early scheme with very different elevations to those executed


RIBA35097Competition design for a facade for the headquarters of the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London

 
RIBA36235Competition 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 antennae

 
RIBA12462Competition design for the Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, London


RIBA12463Competition design for the Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens, London

 
RIBA21536Competition design for the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London: perspective

 
RIBA32062Competition design for the Nelson monument, Trafalgar Square, London: perspective view showing visitors entering a small domed structure


RIBA37897Competition design for the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London: model viewed from the corner of Clements Inn and the Strand

 
RIBA12817Competition design for the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London: view from the south bank of the River Thames

 
RIBA32739Competition design for the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London: elevation of the entrance facade


RIBA22471Competition design for the Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, London: elevation of the main entrance

 
RIBA65098Competition 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'

 
RIBA13407Design for a pneumatic railway, London


RIBA20381Design for a suggested development of multi-storey buildings surrounding St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, with the River Thames in the foreground

 
RIBA3965Design for a tower for Selfridge's department store, Oxford Street, London

 
RIBA4019Design for the Imperial Monumental Halls and Tower, Westminster, London: viewed looking south-west


RIBA82008Design for Whitehall Palace, London

 
RIBA3838Model of the final revised design for the National Gallery Extension, Hampton site, Trafalgar Square, London

 
RIBA77129Model of the proposed tower block for the Mansion House Square scheme, 1 Poultry, City of London, at dusk


RIBA28852Model of the unexecuted competition project for the National Gallery Extension, Hampton site, Trafalgar Square, London

 
RIBA20855Photograph of a plaster model of a proposed tower to be built over Selfridges department store, Oxford Street, London, for H. Gordon Selfridge

 
RIBA14197Photomontage of proposed re-erection of the Temple Bar at Ludgate Hill, City of London


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