Munday and Cramer

Famous Architecture and Design in London

At Munday + Cramer, we’re often asked whether there’s a difference between architecture and design. By definition, architecture is “the art and practice of designing and making buildings.” As such, architecture is itself a design journey – but the process also focuses on the functional and regulatory requirements as well as aesthetics.

This question led to our team discussing some of the best-known buildings that incorporate innovative architecture and design across the UK’s capital.

Iconic British Buildings

Britain has many landmarks that it’s known for, particularly across the London skyline. These span many centuries of architectural movements. Key examples include:

  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • The Shard
  • Lee Valley VeloPark

Why are these great examples of architecture and design? Not only do they have unique design elements, but they are well-thought out in terms of the building’s use.

Take, for example, the Lee Valley VeloPark – most famously known for its velodrome used during the London 2012 Olympics. The Olympic Park was built on industrial wasteland and needed to be transformed. In addition, sustainability commitments were at the very heart of the 2012 Olympics.

With this in mind, the velodrome was carefully constructed with materials such as 100% sustainably sourced timber and recycled copper. Its roof was designed to mimic the cycling track – which led to the building’s affectionate nickname, the Pringle – but it also collects rainwater, reducing 40% of water use. It’s no wonder this distinctive structure won the 2011 RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Stirling Prize for Architecture Public Vote.

Controversial Architecture and Design Projects

Heralded by Tony Blair as a “beacon to the world,” the Millennium Dome transpired to be one of the most controversial projects in living memory. Like the Olympic Park, the site was built on previously contaminated land that needed to be regenerated. Costing £43 million and built in 15 months, the Dome was designed by architect, Richard Rogers and its structure was engineered by Buro Happold.  Its 12 yellow support towers atop a white sphere were designed to reflect a clock. However, despite being the largest structure of its kind, its appearance was scathingly referred to as the “Millennium Tent”.

Additionally, the Dome was heavily scrutinised in the press for its disastrous opening night as well as financial and management issues. The Millennium Experience exhibit did not live up to expectations and failed to attract the forecasted 12 million visitors, with only half this number of people visiting.

Its site was later purchased infamously for a reported £1 by Meridian Delta Ltd. The Dome’s function has since been redeveloped into an entertainment centre and rebranded as the O2 Arena. It’s now host to international musical artists and sports events. Its design, once mocked, has become an iconic London landmark and attraction in Greenwich.

Contact Us

At Munday + Cramer, we provide a wide range of professional services. Our team of architectural design experts are professionally qualified by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). We’ll ensure all aspects of your project – both its architecture and design – meet your requirements and deliver full functionality. You can get in touch with us here, call us on 01245 326 200, or send an email to