Politics

Bits Of London That Look A Bit Like Body Parts


A large rectangular window with two smaller windows above, look like an evil face
The evil face of Hampton Court Palace

London has often been compared to a living organism, with the Royal Parks functioning as lungs, the railways as arteries and the sewers as intestines. Sometimes the very buildings have something of the anatomical about them.

The Walkie Talkie sticks out like a sore thumb… and also sort-of resembles one. The London Eye has looked over the capital for more than two decades, but is eye-like only in name. The following buildings, though, do remind us of body parts in form if not function.

The Buttocks

Old Street, with buttock-shaped buildings in the background and cycle hire bikes in the foreground

Officially, these Old Street flats are known as the Bezier Apartments (after the curve they resemble). Unofficially, everyone calls them The Buttocks (after the bumcheeks they resemble).

The Kim Kardashian

A tower with a pronounced bulge, like a big arse, rises above the river thames. A pink arrow points to it.

Talking of derrieres, the One Blackfriars skyscraper is sometimes likened to Kim Kardashian, thanks to its prominent butt.

The Cock-And-Balls Skyscraper

A skyscraper seen from above resembles a big penis and testicles

This yet-to-be-built tower on the Isle of Dogs looks like a pretty normal skyscraper from the ground. But when viewed from a plane into City Airport, it takes on a decidedly phallic appearance. We dubbed it the Cock and Balls tower, because we’re childish like that.

The Rump

A huge spiky brown rump sticks out from behind a glass building. Cars are parked in front

Not so much a body part as a whole, alien body. This is The Neuron Pod, designed by Will Alsop’s practice, at the Centre of the Cell in Whitechapel. Depending on where you’re viewing it from, it resembles either a hedgehog or a space monster, but from Newark Street it is the spiky rump that sticks out. We wouldn’t want to park there, to be honest.

The Lord’s mouth

The Media Centre at Lord's at sunset - looks like a big mouth
Image by Brian Minkoff – London Pixels, under creative commons licence

The distinctive Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground has been compared to many things in its time, usually an alien spaceship or some such. Writing in 1999 shortly after its completion, Ian Wooldridge described it as a hideous edifice and likened it to Cherie Blair’s mouth. He couldn’t be more wrong on the first count, but it certainly has something of the denture about it.

Olympic vasculature

A tangle or red and white steel

Every listicle reaches a point of desperation where the examples become more tenuous. This is that point, as we observe that the Orbit tower in the Olympic Park looks like a tangle of veins and arteries — especially if we whack up the saturation levels.

The King’s Cross hand

A hand-shaped support structure beneath a triangular glass roof

The magnificent roof of King’s Cross station gets a helping hand in the shape of these… helping hands. The great saucer is supported on a series of pillars, each topped by a spindly fingered hand.

The Royal Albert Ball

Prince Albert is noted for his (apocryphal) piercing, and his namesake hall also has genital connections. The building is said, in popular rhyme, to be the final resting place of Hitler’s other ball. Plus, when viewed from above, it does look like an extracted testicle — appropriate for a building on Kensington Gore. I think we better leave things there before this gets even more desperate.



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