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While the older buildings of London attract the most interest, there are many newer ones that hold their own with the best the world has to offer. The ‘Gherkin’ has already become an iconic symbol of the London skyline.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Modern

Embankment Place

Finished in 1991, this striking topping to Charing Cross, London’s most central old railway station is the work of Terry Farrell. The airy glass and steel structure holds offices, shops and a health centre, proving a bright contrast to the concrete South Bank Centre facing it.

Charing Cross WC2
Tube: Embankment

Lloyd's Building

This 1978-1986 test piece for the Centre Pompidou in Paris allowed architect Richard Rogers to develop his now-familiar concept of putting the service ducts outside in bright colours. At night, blue lighting makes it even more remarkable.

One Lime Street EC3
Tube: Bank/Monument
www.lloyds.com

The Orangery

An unused roof space has been transformed into an airy eating and relaxation area for staff and visitors at Great Ormond Street Hospital by architects SpacelabUK. Natural timber and glass creates a tranquil atmosphere for customers of the adjacent café and staff canteen.

Great Ormond Street WC1
Tube: Russell Square/Holborn
www.spacelabuk.co.uk

30 St Mary Axe

‘The Gherkin’ or Swiss Re Building - designed by Foster & Partners - now dominates the City skyline. Its curved shape belies the fact that all the glazing, bar its tip, is actually flat glass. Sadly, as a private building, it is not open to the public. Swiss Re is a reinsurance company.

30 St Mary Axe EC3
Tube: Aldgate
www.30stmaryaxe.com

Home Office

Architect Terry Farrell also designed this award-winning government office which took 14 years of planning. Care was taken to surround it with landscaped public areas and pedestrianised zones to give it a more open feeling. The development also has flats, shops and restaurants.

Marsham Street SW1
Tube: St James’s Park
www.terryfarrell.co.uk

Vauxhall Cross

Terry Farrell (again) designed this striking high profile setting for Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, also called MI6. James Bond himself has burst out of here in a speed boat. It cost close to £300m and is reputedly as big below ground as it is above; in the Bond film it has its own Tube platform.

85 Albert Embankment
Tube: Vauxhall

Pumping Station

John Outram's 'Egyptian' storm-water pumping station was built in 1988 for the London Docklands Development Corporation and Thames Water. Its columns and ‘jet engine’ are actually functional - the blades are an extracting fan, the columns ventilator shafts.

Stewart Street E14
DLR: South Quay
www.johnoutram.com/iod.html

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