Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Spence tops the list as 20th century's greatest

  • Comment

It's official. Coventry Cathedral is the British public's favourite building of the twentieth century, according to a Channel Four/English Heritage poll announced this week.

The 1962 Sir Basil Spence building (below) is a symbol of post-war revival and uses stained glass, metalwork and textiles. It topped the poll conducted since June when 3500 chose their favourite buildings. It pushed Sir Frederick Gibberd's Liverpool Cathedral into second place above Mendelsohn and Chermayeff's De la Warr Pavilion and Evans and Shalev's Tate Gallery in St Ives. Leslie Martin's Royal Festival Hall won fifth place.

eh said the 'remarkable poll dispelled the old view that we are a bland and conservative people' and should 'embolden us yet further to resist the pedestrian and the downright bad in architectural design, especially in the public realm.'

Architectural Lords Foster and Rogers were well represented on the list with Stansted at 11, and Willis Faber at 23 jointly with the American Air Museum at Duxford for Foster. Lloyd's figured at 8 and the (unfinished) Millennium Dome interestingly made a high appearance on the list at 26 for Rogers. Hopkins' New Mound Stand made it in at 34, with his Glyndebourne scheme at 25, whilst former colleagues Grimshaw and Farrell were tied at 37th place with the Waterloo Eurostar and MI6 building respectively. But alongside the expected schemes such as the Penguin Pool at Regent's Park Zoo, Battersea Power Station and the Hoover Building, some much newer buildings were surprising additions to the list. Eric Kuhne and Benoy's Bluewater (29) showed that massive retail centres have caught the imagination of the public, Pelli's Canary Wharf and the Post Office Tower proved that towers similarly stick in the mind and Colin St John Wilson's British Library (6) was an endorsement of his years of struggle and antidote to all the bad press. The Channel Tunnel was also a contender at joint 34th.

Lastly, two very topical buildings made an appearance - Benson and Forsyth's Stirling Prize contender, the Museum of Scotland, came in at joint 37th and another enduring national symbol made it onto the popularity poll at joint 29th - Wembley, pre-Foster and Partners.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.