Bold and beautiful design is celebrated as part of 'Contemporary Westminster'

Monday 2 March 2009

An exhibition celebrating some of London's most bold and beautiful architecture is to go on display this week (4th March) at New London Architecture.

Part of Westminster Council's "Better Design" campaign the exhibition entitled 'Contemporary Westminster', will showcase images and models of 50 landmark buildings in the city which are famous for their innovative designs ranging from major commercial developments to single houses and from cafes to new schools.

Designs on display will showcase projects which are boldly and bravely designed and include Westminster Academy in Westbourne Park, the Royal Academy of Music in Marylebone and the Mason's Yard White Cube Gallery in St James's.

The Home Office, Royal Geographical Society and Grosvenor Dock as well as Millbank Pier and the Golden Jubilee Bridge will also be shown.

The exhibition has been organised by Westminster Council to highlight how exciting and well-designed buildings continue to be created across the borough and is part of its encouragement to today's architects to reject mediocrity and the stale clichés of badly designed buildings by demanding that well-designed places and spaces continue to be delivered across the city.

Cllr Robert Davis, Westminster City Council's deputy leader and cabinet member for built environment, said: "The buildings on display in this exhibition show that Westminster, which is famously renowned for its outstanding heritage, is also a place that embraces change and innovation.

"The design quality of a building or place can make or break whether it is valued or rejected by a community and we want to see more buildings of a high standard being created in Westminster to ensure our residents and visitors are inspired, mystified and delighted by today's modern buildings.

"As London 2012 approaches, the eyes of the whole world will focus on our capital, with Westminster at its heart, and it is buildings such as those on display at this exhibition which will help guarantee the heritage of future generations."

Westminster Council receives more than 11,000 planning applications per year, the highest number of applications received by any council in the UK, and the authority has long argued that good architecture and design is a vital element in the planning process.

As part of its design campaign the council wants to see new buildings in the city become exciting landmarks for future generations and follow the precedent set by outstanding works of architecture such as Buckingham Palace and Westminster Academy which never fail to wow people, and will be admired for their monumentality for years to come.

The past year has seen the council supporting its conviction that the quality of design needs to be raised through a series of events which aimed to stimulate and promote good design.
Last month the council held a debate attended by one of the world's leading architects, Sir Peter Cook, who designed the London 2012 showpiece stadium where he called on architects in London to have more courage in their designs.

Deputy Leader Cllr Robert Davis' conviction that the design standards of buildings including schools and houses should be raised, was supported by the government passing a bill last November which stated that all local authorities must consider including policies for good design in development plans.


Notes to Editors:

For further information please contact Emma Germain in Westminster City Council's press office on 0207 641 2259.

"Contemporary Westminster" will be held at the New London Architecture, Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT.

The exhibition is open to the public from 4 - 28 March and is free to attend. It marks the conclusion of the council's Design Year. 

Westminster's planners have long held the view that good architecture and design is a vital element in the planning process and the past year has seen deputy leader Cllr Robert Davis supporting his conviction that the quality of design needs to be raised through a series of events which aimed to stimulate and promote good design.

Media are invited to attend a private viewing on 3 March and should contact Lydnsay Glover on 0207 641 2850 or email

Planning Bill

The Planning Bill was debated in the Commons on 24 and 25 November 2008 and the bill was given Royal Assent on 27 November.

The amendment to the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 is intended to complement the existing design guidance.

The inclusion of a requirement to consider good design in development plans followed pressure from organisations and local government bodies including Westminster City Council, the Royal Institute for British Architects, the Town and Country Planning Association and the Landscape Institute.

The Bill was supported in the House of Lords by former architecture minister Lord Howarth of Newport.

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