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Back to the Future: 80s architecture of London

Posted on Jul 16, 2019 in Blogs
Back to the Future: 80s architecture of London

From scrunchies to boomboxes, the return of Stranger Things has transported its viewers back to the future and reminded them of everything the 80s had to offer.


Set in 1985, the latest instalment of Stranger Things delivered 80s references once again and it did not disappoint. With the kids watching Day of the Dead and Back to The Future at the cinema, the series reminded us of all the incredible pop-culture from the decade. From drinking branded ‘New Coke’ to shopping bright prints and double denim at the mall that featured classic 80s architecture.


After over 40 million households tuned in to watch the third season of the series in the first four days of its release, Stranger Things broke a record for the streaming giant Netflix. So, with all of these 80s references surrounding us right now, as the hit TV series inspires fashion brands to bring back the hit trends from the decade, it’s time to start noticing the 80s references right under our noses.


London is host to some of the finest examples’ of 80s architecture. The style of architecture commonly associated with the decade is postmodernism, a movement that first emerged in the 60s but flourished in the 80s and through to the 90s. The main characteristics of postmodern architecture includes colour, complexity and asymmetry, with almost all being visible in London’s buildings that still stand from that decade.


The Isle of Dogs Pumping Station

 Stewart Street, Isle of Dogs, London, E14 3YH

The Isle of Dogs Storm Water Pumping Station was built between 1986 and 1988. It was designed by British architect John Outram and has now been Grade II listed, which protects England’s most significant buildings.


The Circle

 Queen Elizabeth Street, Southwark, SE1 2JJ


The Circle was built between 1987 and 1989, commissioned by Andrew Wadsworth and designed by CZWG (Campbell Zogolovitch Wilkinson & Gough). The statue in the centre is of Jacob the dray horse named after the famous courage dray horses who were stabled on this site from the early nineteenth century. The statue was flown over London by helicopter into Queen Elizabeth Street to launch the Circle in October 1987.


China Wharf

 29 Mill Street, China Wharf, Southwark, SE1 2BQ


China Wharf was designed in 1982 by Piers Gough of the CZWG, it is also now a Grade II listed building, built right on the waters edge.


No 1 Poultry

1 Poultry, London, EC2R 8JR


No 1 Poultry is now an office and retail building in London, located at the junction of Poultry and Queen Victoria Street. James Stirling and Michael Wilford and Associates designed the building between 1985 and 1988.


Swedish Quays

1-95 Rope St

A complex of 95 flats and houses of 1986-1990 for Roger Malcolm Homes By David Price and Goordon Cullen. This 2 phase courtyard development has a near symmetrical design.  


To celebrate the 80s along with the release of the latest instalment of Stranger Things, take a bike ride along the river and visit all of these throwback buildings from the era of postmodern architecture, voguish shoulder pads and iconic hairstyles.


 Click here for a map of the ride between each of these classic examples of great ‘80s architecture.