Controlling the passage from Mall Street to Trafalgar square, this proud example of Edwardian architecture cannot be overlooked. This tidy Neoclassical arch is actually a building bridging the street, leaving a wing on each side, guarded by figures of Gunnery and Navigation. As most of the important architecture of king Edward era, the Admiralty Arch is a dignified, restrained and stout piece. Ionic order columns and pilasters follow the routine of ashlar stones, two types of rusticated arches feature two types of bulky keystones, and the only traces of filigree can be seen on the capitals, blazons and medallions. Everything else glows excessive importance.
And the arch is important, for every grand procession, royal, or of highest importance for the country will pass underneath. The gate in the middle will however stay locked for everyone except the royal family.
The combination of triumphant arch and government building is a peculiar success. While the asymmetric flanks of the building conform the neighboring city blocks, the center is formed by two imaginary circles centered on the mall street, eating away the hypothetical city block that would close the street. This seemingly frivolous geometric drama forges two unconventional open spaces, piazzettas, cradled by the building and an unforgettable city fragment.
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