3 Great British Contemporary Buildings

Great British Contemporary Buildings, Modern Masters Guide, Architecture Design, Property Tips

Modern Masters – 3 Great British Contemporary Buildings

25 Aug 2020

From the mystic megaliths of Stonehenge to the volcano-perched medieval majesty of Edinburgh Castle, Britain is a nation awash with amazing historical monuments and buildings and it’s no wonder that locals and tourists alike are fascinated by every nook and cranny of these types of historical sites – they’re such wonderful portals to the past.

However, you’ll also find superb modern buildings in the UK which, in their own distinct ways, complement their surroundings just as delightfully.

St Paul’s Cathedral building in London, England:
3 Great British Contemporary Buildings - St Paul's Cathedral Building
photo © Nick Weall

If you’re a fan of fresher perspectives on our built environments rather than the traditional approach, the following three Great British contemporary buildings should take pride of place on your architectural staycation hitlist.

  1. Scottish Parliament

Located at the foot of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and facing the lush Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags, the Scottish Parliament building project was completed in 1999.

The magnum opus of the late Barcelona architect Enric Miralles, sadly its completion post-dated his death by some four years, but it remains a testament to his unique creative vision.

Built from steel, oak and granite, it was inspired by upturned boats, the Charles Rennie Mackintosh flower paintings and the surrounding topography, with Miralles developing a designed which he claimed would ‘grow out of the land’.

  1. ARU Cambridge Young Street Campus

In these strange times, many students are taking advantage of the long-established online learning degrees offered by ARU Distance Learning.

But Anglia Ruskin University’s physical incarnation is no slouch when it comes to providing beautifully designed buildings for its staff and students, as evidenced by the striking Young Street Campus Building in Cambridge.

Designed by Richard Murphy architects, the building’s inverted pepper pot design and mix of brickwork and metal construction is aesthetically pleasing but also has a practical purpose in incorporating external ventilation chimneys.

  1. St Augustine’s Church, Manchester

Dating from 1968, St Augustine’s Church in Manchester’s Lower Ormond Street has a fairly plain and modest red brickwork exterior which feels much more practical (and perhaps slightly industrial) than creative and decorative.

However, the design flips the script with the interior, which contains an amazing modernist centrepiece behind the altar named ‘Christ the Glory’ and finished in ceramic shards by artist Robert Brumby. The design often looks beautifully animated and chameleonic thanks to natural light reflecting through the thick, richly coloured slab glass created by Pierre Fourmaintraux, a French artist who worked on the project.

Whether you’re a person of faith, agnostic or atheist, it’s hard to deny the beauty of this amazing contemporary church interior.

There you have it – a hattrick of gorgeous Great British contemporary buildings which we hope you can visit in person sometime soon.

Whether you’re a traditionalist, modernist, or appreciate each design endeavour strictly on its own artistic merit, the ingenuity and inspiration incorporated in these projects is deeply impressive.

What’s your favourite modern British building? Let us know in the comments section!

Building Tours Selection

British Architectural Walking Tours

Danish Architecture Walking Tours

Dutch Architectural Walking Tours

Website: Visit London