Landmarks: Westminster Cathedral

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The Independent Culture
The building I've chosen is Westminster Cathedral, built to the designs of John Francis Bentley between 1895 and 1903. He died before it was completed and it was a great effort and an exhaustion for him. You can't stand very far back from it nowadays and so you get glimpses of a predominantly brick building with stone bands, tall proportions and round arches, which give it a very Byzantine feeling. The upper parts are dominated by a filigree of parapets and a crowning of domes along the nave.

Inside it's very dark, smelly and candlelit, givinga feeling of not being quite complete - in fact it isn't quite finished: in the nave, if you look up you can see grubby bare brick. The plan was to fill this with mosaic and there are people who still want to complete it. It would probably be pretty dramatic if it was finished, but I rather like it as it is, it has a wonderful gloomy atmosphere and looks much older than it actually is.

The main support piers are clad in marble of different colours, with greens, greys and pinks. Each chapel has its own atmosphere and has had its own designer. The quality of the fittings is fantastic, reflecting the Arts and Crafts movement. It feels alive.

The building has obviously traditional roots, inspired by the early Christian style, but it is utterly modern in its energy. The inside has a nice understated quality. One can go in there and find some peace. There's room there to disappear for a while, it gives a great deal back, if only for five minutes.

Ian Angus is a partner with Carden and Godfrey, London SE1

(Photograph omitted)

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