Good buildings I go past when walking

I read an article earlier this year about the weird relationship British people have with walking. I could relate to it, a lot: walking for leisure was new to me and so were vast networks of footpaths all across the country, cutting through public and private land. I enjoy it as much as anyone now and obviously it have been doing it a lot over the past year. This article is in praise of the long walk. Not the daily loop around the park, which has been on autopilot for months now, but the treat walk, the half marathon to get a sandwich or a day-long stroll to pick up a plant.

One of the good things about walking in London are the buildings. In the country, you need to search for stimulus a bit harder. In the city, it’s all around you, hits you around every corner and gets better the more attentively you look. This is a list of some of my favourite buildings I’ve looked at during lockdown walks, nearly exclusively around Southwark, where I live. They’re kind of in an order: from most central to least central, so you can walk it if you want!

Start off easy with St Paul's Church Lorrimore Square. Very dramatic, beautiful ways of letting light through, good trees around it.

Cross to the other side of Walworth Road, because Aylesbury Estate is up next. Imposing towers and sunny low-rises, all a victim of criminal neglect by the government. A lot of it is already gone and the rest is on its way out. It’s fascinating to see the regeneration take place, marked, as it often is, by displacement of social tenants and shit brickwork on the new builds.

Up the road, at the edge of Burgess Park and at odds with what’s around it is 122 Albany Road. Big windows, strange materials, clearly very expensive, but so fun to look at and to imagine living in this building.

Then it’s Burgess Park. On the south side of it is the vast North Peckham Estate and it’s a marvel: a low-traffic neighbourhood since before it was cool, all with a strange vibe of no building being older than, and I’m guessing here, 40 years? I like these terraced houses in particular: great colours and I will forever big up using glass tiles in this way.

Keep going South until you reach Draymans Mews just off Chadwick Road. This is a mid-2000s special. Buildings that totally reject timelessness. Took me a while to appreciate the weirdness of this one, but I’m totally here for it now and for the mad windows at the top.

Go up to Denmark https://goo.gl/maps/pdKPikuTviBBubVJ9), which is probably my favourite estate in London? There is nothing like it. Two structures placed next to one another, but stacked and angled in a way so not to block one another’s views. Each flat is different, each has a private balcony, and I think most of it is still social housing. Absolute goals, with an added bonus of London’s best view in the green right next to it.

You’re in hilly town now, so I’d suggest going up to Sydenham and wrapping things up in Peckermans Wood. Feels like the country if you’re into that sort of thing, set on rolling hills, big 1960s vibe, close to the Horniman Museum, where I’d go next to pick up a sandwich.

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