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The Architecture Lover’s Guide to London (Paperback)

London Photographic Books Colour Books White Owl Travel

By Sian Lye
Imprint: White Owl
Series: City Guides
Pages: 128
Illustrations: 120 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781399001663
Published: 8th March 2022

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Since the early days as rolling hills crisscrossed with streams, London has come a long way to be one of the most exciting and innovative cities in the world.

From the first Roman settlement 2000 years ago to the high tech and high rise buildings of today, the history of London is a story of experimentation, determination and triumph. A city at the cutting edge of style and fashion, rising from every fire, every attack, every setback.

The Architecture Lover’s Guide to London takes a journey through history, looking at some of the most significant buildings, as well as the people who have shaped this city.

Latest volume in the splendid "architecture lover's guide" series is by Sian Lye and takes us on a brilliant tour of London. Superb.

Books Monthly

The Architecture Lover’s Guide to London by Sian Lye* is a must for anyone visiting London. It’s such a wonderful book, filled with interesting details, some are on how buildings were made, others on why the buildings were built in the first place.

Read the full review here

Coffee and Books

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

5/5 - Absolutely loved it.

I've read many London guidebooks and this is by far the best one I've ever read.

My complaint with other guidebooks is that they often spread themselves too thin, barely scratching the surface of what London offers, and often falling back on recommendations that could really be found just as easily on a blog online. Not this one. This book focuses on London's unique architecture and how the physical appearance of the city reflects its formation, history, and resilience. This book dives into the different eras in London's formation - from the Romans all the way up to the Gherkin - and highlights the major landmarks representative of that history that can still be seen today. It was absolutely fascinating to read about the many buildings I've seen countless times and to realize - wow, that's Edwardian, and those are the elements that make it so!

I found the presentation in this book to be very clear and informative, with fantastic examples of different architectural styles that really helped me learn both about London and architecture in general. The photos are also fantastic and the narration is direct, but interesting enough without being dry. I would really recommend this book to anyone visiting London.

NetGalley, Dasha Slepenkina

Such a perfect title for this book! Even if you just looked at the pictures you would love this book. There’s so much information it was very enjoyable.

NetGalley, Joni Owens

If you’re planning on doing a sightseeing tour of London this little book will give you information you might not get from the London tour guides.

Read the full review here

Tudor Blogger

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This beautifully illustrated book uncovers aspects of the capital that this London cabbie was unaware of, a excellent coffee table book for your library.

NetGalley, David Styles

Needless to say, London is a wonderful place to visit for architecture enthusiasts. With a wide variety of old a new structures, this book has it all. Each structure included has photos as well as plenty of background. I enjoyed reading the background, as it would serve as a good tour guide (I also really appreciated the map at the beginning of the book!).

NetGalley, Christine Duni

Well illustrated architectural history of London. The text is moderately detailed and very approachable. It's not a dry history at all. A great guide if you are walking around London and want to understand the architectural origins of both famous and more obscure buildings.

NetGalley, Sandra Hood

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book takes readers on a brief history of London focusing on the main architectural styles. It provides examples of specific styles that can still be seen throughout London. The information in the book was written in a way that is approachable and not overwhelming to those who are unfamiliar with architecture. I appreciate that the book had both color photographs and drawings to help visualize what they were describing... I will pull it out on my next trip to London to add context to some of the buildings I will be seeing.

NetGalley, Kathryn Cox

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mixed in with the styles and brief biographies of the various architects who dominated each period, there are some lovely bits of history. I was particularly taken by the stories about Downing Street. I am sure Larry the Cat has his paws full with all the problems they have had in that building. And that is not including the politicians. A quick and entertaining read that would be a perfect guide to some of the more notable spots in London or a lovely trip down memory lane afterwards. Five purrs and two paws up.

NetGalley, Susan Johnston

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A fast paced and comprehensive guide to different architectural styles in London.
It helped to understand thing I saw and it's handy it you want to learn something more.
Highly recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a great resource if you love architecture and history. London is a magical city with so much history and variety of architecture in a small area. This book is a travel/history guide with the emphasis on architecture. I've been to London several times and have visited or seen most of the sites and buildings mentioned. But this gives history and context to the buildings.

The book is broken down by time periods: Londinium (ancient London, Romans), Medieval to Tudors, Stuarts, Great Fire, Georgians, Regency Styles, Victorians, Edwardians, Art Deco, Post War, Contemporary and Twenty First Century. No matter if it is Wren churches or modern buildings there is brief information about architects, the building and the time period. I had no idea that 10 Downing street dates back to the Georgians (started in the 1600s and finished in the 1700s).

This isn't a travel guide. It doesn't give specific locations, entrance admissions, or even nearby subway stops. Instead it is something that will add depth to your travels in addition to a traditional travel guide. Or like me, you can use it to arm chair travel and learn about places you've been or want to visit.

I really enjoyed this book. The photos are great and add tremendously to the book but I wouldn't call this a photo book. There are similar books by the publisher on Paris and Rome but written by different authors.

NetGalley, Kaye Cox

For anyone about to visit London, this book is a must!

The book highlights much of the architecture of London that people usually miss - so many spend time looking at their feet that they miss the marvels above them, and this book points them out.

NetGalley, Caryl Blake

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

London is my favourite city so I was pleased to be able to read this interesting and comprehensive book about its architecture. Sian Lye studies each era from the massive London Wall of the Roman Era to the glass and chrome superstructures of the present day, such as the Shard and the 'Gherkin'. She really provides an introduction to each era, with histories of their most famous buildings. For example, she has sections about Hampton Court, a Tudor building, and a fairly large story about Number 10, Downing Street, formerly a collection of Georgian townhouses. I found this one especially involving. She also includes potted histories of famous architects from each era, such as Sir Christopher Wren.

The major buildings are beautifully photographed. This book certainly made me want to revisit my beloved London!

NetGalley, Lisa Sanderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Architecture Lover’s Guide to London is a fantastic overview of exactly that. Gorgeous photography and an approachable history presentation combine for just the high-level coffee-table read. I’ve been to a number of these locations (and either didn’t know or forgot altogether the history behind some of them), and so enjoyed the trip down memory lane. I’m always intrigued by what drives building styles, and really appreciated how Lye explained it all. Laymen’s terms, and yet intriguing enough to warrant further research on the styles, buildings, and history that pique my interest.

NetGalley, Meagan Davenport

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Suni Lye's "The Architecture Lover's Guide to London" provides the armchair traveler/architectural history buff with an enjoyable journey through the city of London. Beginning with the ancient Roman Londinium, the twelve chapters of this book provides fascinating details about one of the most interesting cities in the world.
Naturally, Lye includes some of the usual famous sites: the Tower of London, Westminster Palace, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace. But other interesting facts that I didn't know were included, such as:
1. the remains of an ancient Roman amphitheater can be found in the Guildhall Art Gallery;
2. the Queen's House being the first fully Classical style in England and having a beautiful feature known as the Tulip Staircase;
3. the brief yet fascinating history of 10 Downing Street and how its builder, Colen Campbell is known as the "Father of the Georgian Style";
4. the first ever underground railway in the world was built in London in 1863.
Also included are some brief profiles of certain architects whose works are discussed. For me, the most impressive of the bunch is Christopher Wren, without whom the London we know and love wouldn't exist
This book was a pleasure to read. It allowed me to indulge my love of history, architecture, and travel all at once. I would definitely recommend that any who love those three tops read this book. It will definitely be worth it.

NetGalley, Mariama Thorlu-Bangura

What a marvelous companion Sian Lye’s The Architecture Lover’s Guide to London will make on my next trip to London – certainly I shall look at familiar buildings with a more well-educated sense of their development, their history and their creators.

NetGalley, Robin Joyce

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The author of this guide takes an historical approach to London’s architecture, beginning with medieval times and finishing with twenty-first century London. This is an ambitious undertaking. Since, of course, not all buildings can be included the author looks at structures that either exemplify their time of have significance to the city as readers are told in the introduction.

I very much like that the author includes a map with many key buildings marked. Just a few of the many sites included are the London Wall from Roman times, the White Tower, Westminster Abbey, 10 Downing Street, The Old Bailey, the Barbican Center and many more.

So, enjoy some armchair travel and facts in this well-written book that includes many photos. I enjoyed the time that I spent with this title imagining that I was once again able to embark on trips.

NetGalley, Joyce Laudon

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A beautifully photographed book of London that was far more informative than I was expecting. A true gem for any lover of architecture. Highly recommend!

NetGalley, Melissa Borsey

As progressive as London may seem, it’s an ancient city, chock full of history and this book shows you the span from Londinium to Regency Styles to Art Deco to Twenty-First Century London (with more in between).

This is a truly gorgeous book, full of photos (contemporary and vintage), illustrations, and history.

Beautiful addition to any home library for lovers of London, architecture, and history. I feel this would also be excellent as a homeschool resource.

NetGalley, Michelle Smith

I loved this book!
It was beautiful to look at, and it is filled with such interesting information!
To look at there is a LOT of text, and I was worried that it would feel very dense and a lot of it would go over my head. However, that was absolutely not the case. The info was so easy to understand, and was just fascinating. The photography, and illustrations are a great accompaniment too.
Anyone who loves London would love this book, and obviously if you love architecture this one is for you too!

NetGalley, Kate Henderson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely fascinating book brings too life many of the buildings in London.

NetGalley, Karen Bull

About Sian Lye

Sian Lye is a journalist who has written for a wide variety of national newspapers and magazines, including The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, ShortList, Esquire and Marie Claire. Sian has spent several years living abroad in Japan, and most recently in Switzerland. She now lives in Brighton, and balances writing with family life.

Perfect Partner

The Book Lover's Guide to London (Paperback)

Many of the greatest names in literature have visited or made their home in the colourful and diverse metropolis of London. From Charles Dickens to George Orwell, Virginia Woolf to Bernadine Evaristo, London’s writers have bought the city to life through some of the best known and loved stories and characters in fiction. This book takes you on an area-by-area journey through London to discover the stories behind the stories told in some of the most famous novels, plays and poems written in, or about, the city. • Find out which poet almost lost one of his most important manuscripts in a Soho…

By Sarah Milne

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