Unless you are in the building and construction business like John Hiscocks, architect, it is easy to ignore buildings as you rush past them on your morning commute. However, Britain has many architectural wonders that deserve admiration.
This 13th century castle is situated on the edge of the River Conwy, which historically allowed it to control traffic over the river. In the 21st century, the castle is officially regarded as ‘ruined’; however the Welsh Historic Trust still describes it as one of the greatest fortresses built during the medieval period in Europe. Despite its ruined status, the majority of the castle is still accessible and can be visited by the public.
During the time it was constructed between 1283 and 1289, Edward I spent around £15,000 on the castle. This made Conwy Castle the most expensive castle Edward built, which includes Harlech Castle, Caernarfon Castle and Beaumaris Castle. According to the Bank of England, the sum of £15,000 is worth around £16 million today.
The Royal Liver Building
Much younger than Conwy Castle, the Royal Liver Building was built between 1908 and 1911, with a construction cost of around £800,000 (around £90 million today). This Grade I listed building, located on Liverpool’s Pier Head, is one of three buildings that together make up the city’s ‘Three Graces’. The other two Graces are the Port of Liverpool Building and the Cunard Building; together, the three buildings stand in a row on the waterfront. The Royal Liver Building is part of the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City UNESCO World Heritage Site, a status which was awarded to the area in 2004.
The building was built specially for the Royal Liver Assurance group using reinforced concrete, a pioneering construction method at the time. Standing at just over 98 meters tall, the building was the tallest building in the United Kingdom from its completion in 1911 through to 1961, when it was surpassed by the Shell Centre in London. Whilst the Royal Liver Building had kept this title for 50 years, the Shell Centre held it for just one, before being surpassed by the CIS tower in Manchester. Today the Royal Liver Building is still a giant amongst its neighbours, being the fourth tallest structure within Liverpool.
The Dunmore Pineapple
The Dunmore Pineapple is one of the strangest buildings you will find in Britain; it is even ranked “the most bizarre building” in Scotland. Located in Dunmore Park just outside of Airth, Stirlingshire, it is not clear exactly when the Dunmore Pineapple was built, with some speculating it was in 1761 and others that it was five years later, in 1776. The Dunmore Pineapple is approximately 14 metres tall and is made from carved stone, sitting on top of an eight sided pavilion.