The London Festival of Architecture has, in many ways, been underwhelming thus far. One strand that doesn't disappoint, however, is this smashing architectural exhibition at the Mall Galleries (next to the ICA). The whole venue is crammed to bursting with huge images of landmark buildings from the past half century. Hundreds of the blighters, each with its own must-read information panel.
The cavalcade is arranged chronologically, beginning with the likes of the Millbank Tower and Elephant & Castle and progressing right through to the Shard. You'll recognise just about every building but may not have considered the architecture before. Short shrift is given to the 1970s where, apart from the Barbican and a Lasdun or two, the past looks bleak. The playfully postmodern '80s, brash and millennium-fuelled '90s and anything-so-long-as-it's-glass '00s are granted much more lavish wall space. Too much for one visit, in fact. To take in every building and read every panel would occupy at least three hours. You also want to leave time for listening in on the opinions of others and internally fuming about their closed-minded, ignorant views. Or is that just us?
This is a simple, yet excellent exhibition. Regrettably, it's only on for a week. If you only do one thing for the London Festival of Architecture, don't miss this.
50 Years of London Architecture: 1960-2010 runs at the Mall Galleries until Sunday 27 June. Entrance is free. Image by M@.