Inspiring Buildings 

These are buildings that have meant something to a member of the Church. Most pictures have a larger version if you click on them. 

Stephen Tanno - the Basildon Bell Tower

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One of my favourite buildings is the Basildon Bell Tower in Essex. I am very biased in my choice with this being one of my proud projects. It is the first steel and glass bell tower in the world, a finely tuned 30 metre tall musical instrument of steel and glass lovingly built with fine engineering and on show as a symbol of hope and for inspiration. It is a focal point of Basildon and the locals are rightly proud of it.

Evelyn Pegley - the TWA Flight Center, JFK Airport, New York

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The TWA Flight Center at JFK International airport in New York. Designed by Eero Saarinen in 1960. After my nursing training, I had a chance to live and work in the USA when I was accepted as an Air Hostess by Trans World Airways. Initial training was in Kansas City, the original home of TWA, then we were posted to one of TWA’s eight bases across the United States, my first choice was to be based in New York because domestic flights flew from La Guardia and international flights flew from Idelewild as it was called then, being renamed after John Kennedy's assassination in 1963. The 1960s was an exciting time to be flying in the USA, the airport was being developed at Idlewild, new terminal buildings were being erected for Pan American, and other airlines, but the best of the lot was the fantastic design of Eero Saarinen, how thrilling it was to see the passengers’ reaction on entering the terminal because the inside space was as different as it could be to previous airport buildings. 

After the demise of TWA and its merger with American airlines the terminal lay empty for a short time Jet Blue airline took it on, but then it lay empty until it was changed into an hotel, which opened last year, two new block buildings with bedrooms, one each side, were added adjacent to the main building The finishing touch was to park a Super Constellation aircraft, affectionally known as the Connie, adjacent to the hotel for use as a bar and event space,it was the first aeroplane that I worked in, It was extremely comfortable also because propeller driven flights were longer, there was plenty of time to talk with the passengers.


Jill Burton - Stella Maris Chapel, Cape Horn, and a Wooden Church in Chile

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The Stella Maris Chapel is said to be the most southerly chapel in the world, although simple, wooden inside and out, it is very moving in its dramatic remote setting. The altar is a wooden plank on two pieces of tree trunk but covered with a white cloth. We paddled ashore on a rare fine, calm day (there is no landing stage) and climbed up the hill to the peak where the naval officer and his family lived and the chapel is very small and stands on its own a short distance from his house. You have the feeling that you are in a seriously remote spot!  In its way, it is quite moving to find a chapel there. 

The other Church is Santa María de Loreto, which is in Achao, on the island of Quinchao which is off the coast of Chile. This is one of the oldest surviving wooden Churches made without nails.


Nevil Coulson - the Millau Viaduct

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I stumbled on this famous bridge (already known to me from pictures) when I was driving South in France. I was immediately staggered by its amazing elegance, which added to, rather than subtracted from, the beautiful scenery. It was like strings of gossamer spread across the valleys. Towards one end it spans the river Tarn and a hamlet where there is an information office which I also visited.

The bridge is the tallest in Europe and at the time of completion (2004) was the highest cable stayed bridge in the world. The design was a joint effort between French Engineer Michel Virlogeux and English architect Norman Foster.

As a wonderful blend of art, architecture and engineering, the Millau viaduct will continue to inspire not only the public but future engineers who are continually challenged by the demand to create beauty and grace within the confines of functionality and cost.

More information on this web site.


Brenda Harris - the Royal College of Organists

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I used work just round the corner from the Royal Albert Hall, and on my way to eat my lunch in Kensington Gardens, I passed this building which was at the time the Royal College of Organists. I always thought that it looked as if the organ pipes were just behind the ornate facade and could imagine a piece by Bach being played.

Ann Biscoe Taylor - the Albert Hall

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When I first saw the Albert Hall it took my breath away. The outside is impressive but it is when you step from the plain circular corridor into the auditorium that you get the full impact. My father, who’s music preference was Bing Crosby and the Hot Club de Paris, saw my growing passion for classical music and decided to take me to an orchestral concert, my first but by no means my last. It still gives me that thrill particularly when I take a grandchild for his or her first time and see a similar reaction. The Albert Memorial opposite is amazing too.


Tricia - the RAF Memorial at Runnymede

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I grew up in the Argentine amongst a big family that included a young fun-loving uncle. Suddenly in 1942 he decided to fly to the UK to join the Royal Air Force. I was so sad! By 1943 he was shot down over the Atlantic. His name, Harold Spanton, is now etched on the stone panel in the Runnymede Memorial where there are20,000 names of those of no known grave. It's a place our family find the peace and tranquillity that all those airmen and women so richly deserve.


Jean and John - Church in Russia

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This Little Church visited while on a river cruise Moscow to St Petersburg in 2002 has made a long lasting memory on both of us, both selecting the same building, but not the exterior, it was the inside that made the long lasting impression, an impression not equalled by the many Churches, Cathedrals and Basilicas we have visited over the years.

Keith and Jane Ray - The Shell House, Tresco Gardens, Isles of Scilly

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The Shell House (1994), Tresco Gardens, Isles of Scilly: We have spent some very happy and memorable holidays on the Isles of Scilly and during our stays always made the boat trip from St Mary’s to visit the Abbey garden on Tresco. The garden, which hosts a spectacular collection of exotic plants from all corners of the world also includes many sculptures and a wonderful summerhouse. The “Shell House”, a pretty shell grotto designed and made by Lucy Dorrien-Smith, has a shell-themed tile floor, and individual initialled tiles commemorating members of the family can be seen amongst the shells on its internal walls. The artistry and craftsmanship of the designs is quite incredible. 

Sue and Richard Hawkins - Petra


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Petra – rose red city, and the Treasury is one of the best preserved buildings in the city. We didn’t know what to expect and it was better that we didn’t. We approached Petra through a narrow gorge and suddenly, there was this building – absolutely stunning and if you get the timing right (about 10.00am) you understand why it is called the rose red city.


Martyn Green - Hull Maritime Museum

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This is a remarkable 3 sided building that oversaw the old town docks, one of which was set at right angles to the first one and thus the building needed two sides to oversee both docks, and the third side faces inwards to Queen Victoria Square in the City Centre.

We visited during the year of culture. The most interesting display was the videoed interviews of the ‘Headscarf Heroes’ who took on the trawler owners re safety after the triple disasters of 1967/1968. They went to London using the local MP James Johnson and got to the Min of Ag Fish and Food and Downing Street, resulting in a change of safety legislation that included a fully qualified radio operator and ensuring that a Mother ship was in the fishing grounds as back up.

Right opposite by the first dock is the old shop that was Maureen Lipman’s Father’s tailoring business.


Harriet Lemon - Reed Houses in Peru

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I have been lucky and seen quite a bit of the world.  About 20 years ago I went to South America and visited Bolivia, Peru and the city of Rio. Part of our trip was on Lake Titicaca where we saw the Reed Islands and Reed Houses where the Uros people live.  I found these building fascinating they are so very simply but amazing and the people were so happy (and colourful).

Liza Wormell - Blue Mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif


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I love Islamic architecture, particularly the wonderful blue and green tiles. I had to choose between the Registan in Samarkand, mosques in the walled city of Khiva or the Naqsh-e Jahan in Isfahan. However in the end I’ve gone for the Blue Mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif in the north of Afghanistan. This is a complex that is the shrine of Ali, and it bustles with friends and families enjoying the large open space. I’d had a long held dream of visiting Afghanistan so this was a special day. People were friendly and the colours are stunning.

Liz Nickless - Bagsværd Kirke in  Kobenhavn

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Danish architect Jorn Utzon designer of the Sydney Opera House, Australia, designed one of my favourite buildings, The Lutheran Bagsvaerd Kirke, Kobenhavn. Although the exterior is rather hard and blunt, the interior is amazing and quite unexpected. Utzon was supposed to have been inspired by the banks of clouds, and nature. There are many photos of the interior on the Kirke website, which is well worth a visit – click here. The Kirke gives one a great feeling of Peace and calmness, of space and solitude with God.