Architecture of Power is a walking tour exploring historic Westminster – the home of British monarchy and democracy.
Starting outside the imposing façade of Buckingham Palace, the walk delves into London’s royal precinct where hidden architectural gems include the home of Prince Charles, Clarence House, the official residence of the Queen, St James’ Palace, and the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Wellington House.
Following the grand ceremonial route of The Mall we will learn how successive monarchs re-shaped Westminster’s landscape to create an idyllic parkland setting showcasing their imperial power. We’ll also hear the fascinating story of Carlton Terrace, the Duke of York Steps and the architect Thomas Nash’s bold vision to create a regal property empire stretching up to Regents Park.
Venturing into the world of marshal prowess, the walk will take in the Baroque masterpiece of the Admiralty, now being converted into the ministry of education, before arriving in the ancient military staging ground of Horse Guards Parade and witnessing Winston Churchill’s wartime bunker.
Thereafter we will step into a built environment shaped by the power of politics, where enormous Neo-Classical complexes such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Treasury dominate. We will hear an architect’s view on the saga of Parliament Square’s modernisation and on newer institutions such as The Supreme Court and Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre.
Witnessing the coronation and burial site of the United Kingdom’s monarchy, Westminster Abbey, the tour will move onto the iconic Palace of Westminster and Big Ben, which will be the subject of an urgent multi-billion pound conservation programme over the next ten years.
On the final leg, the tour will proceed north up historic Whitehall past the home of the Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street, and the first Classical building erected in the city Banqueting House. We will hear about plans to transform the Old War Office into a luxury hotel before reaching the tour’s conclusion beneath the landmark Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.