Buildings, Design and Architecture in Shoreditch

There are scores of listed buildings in Shoreditch, a borough of London. Many of the historical buildings were erected in the 18th century when the area rose to prominence and became a cultural hub frequented by artists and actors.

Over the 400 years that the buildings have been standing they have been refurbished and rebuilt many times. Now the area is a mix of many different architectural styles - Renaissance, Classical, Palladian, Ammonite, Georgian and Modern. The industrial area was also heavily bombed during the Blitz. After the war many buildings were completely demolished and rebuilt in different styles that could only evoke the former beauty of the area.

A complete listing of historical buildings can be found on the Hackney Council website. Some of the notable architecture in the area is the Church of St Mark, the drinking fountain at Saint Thomas' Square, the Church of St Leonard, White Lodge and scores of residential and commercial buildings.

Apart from the façade of the historical buildings in the area, the interiors are also renowned worldwide as exemplars of great design.

Shoreditch House

This converted warehouse once served as a meat packer's factory, but became derelict. It was bought by the Soho House group in the late '90s and converted into a private members' club. The interior was re-purposed and incorporated into the new design. The architect Tom Dixon designed the interior and created a harmony between the rough industrial look, combined with modern expressive minimalism.

It is considered to be iconoclastic in style and fits in with the edgy Shoreditch area, where the new rich and artists have hung out since the Elizabethan era. The corridors of the club are decorated with rough timber found at the site, while there is a formal square bar, a domestic dining hall and lounges with rich tapestries.

The reception area is done up with white brick and there is lots of light from the large industrial warehouse windows. A circular chandelier with hundreds of lights provides an ambient waiting area at night and the red and green solid colours of the seating create a luxurious atmosphere.

One of the main features of the Shoreditch House club is the LA-style rooftop swimming pool. The club is expensive and exclusive, but it is a great place to catch celebrities, artists and politicians.

Les Trois Garçons Restaurant

Originally the building served as a Victorian pub from 1880, it was one of the most prominent in the Shoreditch area. The Victorian building was acquired by three entrepreneurs in 1996 and they quickly opened the ground floor as a restaurant that includes a kitchen, chef's table private room, and a wine cellar in the basement.

The interior is a showcase of ultra-English heritage, with vintage handbags, stuffed birds and woodland animals and chic jewellery hanging from mantelpieces. There is dim lighting and soft wood panelling on the interior to give a cosy appearance.

The Geffrye Museum

This building was originally erected in 1714 and is one of the oldest listed buildings in the area. The building was funded by Sir Robert Geffrye, who was Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Ironmongers' Company. It was originally built as almshouses for the poor. It was converted to a museum in 1914 and showcases the history of the English domestic interior.

The various rooms of the museum show the different periods of English domestic interiors over the past 400 years, with living and working conditions on display from the 18th and 19th centuries. In 1998 the museum was expanded by Branson Coates Architects with an innovative design, which also stayed true to the original.

The Shoreditch Workhouse (Community Centre)

The building was originally erected in 1774 and served as a living quarters and work area for the poor in London. It had accommodation, a kitchen, a bakehouse and after the Poor Act came into effect, an infirmary and fever hospital were also built on Hoxton Street. It was turned into a general hospital and a health centre for the area in 1866 and became known as St Leonard's Hospital after 1920. It was damaged and rebuilt in World War II and remained a hospital until 1984. Now it serves as a centre for co-ordinating community services and supports health centres around the area.

Other Shoreditch Architecture

The Shoreditch Industrial School became St. Faith's Hospital, but now serves as an office complex. The Harold Court School was built in 1868, served as a hospital and a lunatic asylum, as well as a teacher training college, but is now a block of private flats. The Tea Building was built in the 1930s as a processing plant for Lipton and Allied Foods, but is now a building used by London's media and creative industry with restaurants and bars located throughout.