One may say that London is like a patchwork quilt of architecture – everything was stitched together so now there’s an amalgam of styles, each of them standing out for being incredibly unique.
Some buildings are more than a thousand years old and as a result, are made of brick and stone meanwhile, some are new and reflect a modern form of architecture with glass and metal.
Luckily, you can visit them all during your trip to London as so many of them are centrally located and near an Underground station which connects to a variety of different tracks across the city.
We’ve gone ahead and included a map (above) which pinpoints all of the unusual buildings discussed below. This should help you to plan which ones are nearby your hotel and other attractions so you can visit them during your visit to the English capital.
Table of Contents
- 1. “M” by Montcalm, Tech City
- 2. The Pagoda, Blackheath
- 3. Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Nasden
- 4. “Walkie Talkie,” 20 Fenchurch Street
- 5. The Churchill Arms, Kensington
- 6. Thin Building, South Kensington
- 7. Baltimore Tower, Millwall
- 8. The Olympic Velopark, Stanford
- 9. City Hall, Southwark
- 10. Barrett’s Grove, Stoke Newington
1. “M” by Montcalm, Tech City
When you initially look at M by Montcalm, you always feel like you need to take a second glance – not because it has any fancy designs and patterns, but because you’re not exactly certain what you are looking at.
Designed by Squire and Partners, this building was made to look like an elongated diamond – being sort of an optical illusion when you pass on Tech City’s City Road.
This smart hotel building found in the Shoreditch area has been around since 2008, and you may easily get to it from the Old Street Tube station, Barbican Tube Station, or the Moorgate Tube Station.
2. The Pagoda, Blackheath
Yes, you are still in London – but this building has the kind of roof that reminds you of Chinese architecture. It’s quite strange, considering the location of the building. Designed by Sir William Chambers and built in 1760, this house served as the home of the Earl of Cardigan, who lived in Montague House.
The house in Blackheath used to be packed with gardens and orchards, being quite a beautiful vacation spot.
The underground Tube route will drop you right at the Blackheath Station, from which you can walk to the building. Bear in mind that it’s almost a one-hour walk, but you can also grab a bus or a cab.
3. Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Nasden
Also known as the Nasden temple, this Hindu temple is quite peculiar in London, as it is very different in comparison to other pieces of architecture.
Found in the Neasden area of London, this building was first opened in 1970 as a tribute to traditional Indian architecture. The design was a “group work,” so to speak, as it included the visual and conceptual design of Pramukh Swami and architect C.GB. Soompura.
You may get there by taking the Jubilee tube line to the Neasen Underground Station, from which you can walk.
4. “Walkie Talkie,” 20 Fenchurch Street
London is quite a peculiar place because as you are walking up Fenchurch Street, you stumble across a building that looks pretty much like a giant walkie talkie.
Designed by the architect Rafael Viñoly and completed in spring 2014 (with its opening in June 2015), this building is named after the street on which it is situated – but commonly, people refer to it as the “Walkie Talkie.”
You can easily reach this unusual building by getting down at the Monument Tube Station, Bank Tube Station, or the Cannon Street Tube Station.
5. The Churchill Arms, Kensington
Do you want to stop by somewhere for a pint, but you also want to explore the intriguing and unusual buildings? Well, head to West London, Kensington, at the Churchill Arms pub and enjoy a nice pint of your favorite ale.
It was built in 1750, but the name of the architect is still shrouded in mystery, but it is believed that they were associated with Winston Churchill.
The building may not have any fancy architectural quirks, but the fact that it’s surrounded pretty much “head to toe” with flowers makes it quite intriguing. You might get there by taking the underground route to Notting Hill Gate.
6. Thin Building, South Kensington
Nowadays, we see buildings that look bigger and bigger – but if you go to Thurloe Square in South Kensington, you can see a building that is 34ft wide when you look at it at the front – and 7ft wide when you look at it from the sides.
It seems like it’s missing a part, but the building was particularly designed this way to accommodate the Circle and District lines running just behind it.
The building features several one-room studios that, while small, are quite intriguing. The closest tube station is at South Kensington, but you may also get off at Gloucester Road or Knightsbridge.
It’s not entirely certain when the building was built (or who designed it), but the style of the structure dates back to the 80s or 90s.
7. Baltimore Tower, Millwall
Also referred to as the “Arena Tower” or “The Slinky,” this structure found in Millwall, Isle of Dogs, is a 45-story building that features residential suites.
Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the constructions for it began in 2013 and was completed in 2017. This swirly, “slinky-like” building is very intriguing to look at, and you may easily access it by getting down at the Arena O2 station.9.
8. The Olympic Velopark, Stanford
Designed by the Hopkins architects and the Grant Associates, this building was finished in 2011 in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park of Stanford but was only opened to the public in 2014.
It might not look like much from the ground – it’s a very long building with maybe a slightly strange roof, but that roof has a great purpose. Its curved appearance resembling a Pringle has the purpose of collecting rainwater and deflecting sunlight – making it not only an eco-friendly construction but also a comfy one.
You’ll be able to view this incredible and highly unusual building by getting to the Leyton Tube Station, the Stanford Tube Station, or the Hackney Wick Overground Station.
9. City Hall, Southwark
The city hall is the office of the London mayor – and it looks pretty much like a slanting beehive that is engulfed by light. Foster + Partners designed it, and the building became open to the public in 2002.
The city hall is located in Southwark, right on the River Thames bank, which is why it brings out so many tourists. Take the tube to Queen’s Walk, and you should be able to find your way out from there.
10. Barrett’s Grove, Stoke Newington
This disjointed-looking building has been turning heads in Stoke Newington ever since 2015, mostly because it has an intriguing doll-house figure.
Amin Taha Architects have used timber frames, lattice brick facades, and whicker balconies, making it an idyllic construction while still in the town frame. You may easily get there by taking the subway to Stoke Newington – the structure being fairly hard to miss.