New Stamps Celebrate Modern Buildings For Architecture Week

By Richard Moss | 19 June 2006
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a stamp with an old building in the foreground dwarfed by a large steel structure in the background

1st Class - 30 St Mary Axe. © Royal Mail

The Royal Mail is showcasing six unique British buildings on a set of new stamps released this week in time for Architecture Week.

Issued on June 20 2006, the six stamps showcase some of the very best examples of modern architecture created this millennium. Each of the chosen buildings has either received or been shortlisted for a Royal Institute of British Architects prize.

Defiantly modern, the chosen buildings include London’s ‘Gherkin’ (30 St Mary Axe) on the first class stamp and Weald and Downland Museum’s Downland Gridshell on the 50p stamp.

a stamp featuring a large conical white building set against a blue sky

Maggie's Centre, Dundee. © Royal Mail

It’s a daring selection that has drawn lavish praise from a key exponent of modern architecture – Lord Foster of Thames Bank.

“As an architect, it is inspiring to see contemporary architecture celebrated by Royal Mail on its stamps,” he said. “This is a bold initiative to increase awareness of six new buildings – to raise the profile of the kind of architecture that has the potential to transform our towns and cities.”

Lord Foster is of course the man behind Foster and Partners, who designed the ‘Gherkin’. All the buildings featured were designed by homegrown architects, with the exception of Dundee’s Maggie’s Centre on the 42p stamp, which is the creation of the world famous American architect Frank Gehry.

a stamp featuring a building with a wave like curved wooden roof

Downland Gridshell, Chichester. © Royal Mail

The other featured buildings are Selfridges in Birmingham, the An Turas ferry shelter on the Isle of Tiree and the Deep – Hull’s remarkable submerged aquarium which sits at the confluence of the Humber and Hull Rivers.

Julietta Edgar, Head of Special Stamps at Royal Mail said: “Modern architecture has transformed our towns and cities in recent years and the very best examples of these exciting new buildings have been chosen for this issue.”

“Since the millennium, Britain has been at the forefront of contemporary architecture, and Royal Mail is proud to celebrate that achievement.”

a stamp featuring a triangular building set on the corner of a jetty

The Deep, Hull. © Royal Mail

The release of the stamps during Architecture Week also reveals something of our often-paradoxically complex attitude towards modern architecture.

In other Architecture Week themed events, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) this week launched a public search for the most badly designed building in Britain, whilst the BBC also revealed the results of a public vote on the least favourite buildings in the capital.

The latter revealed the ‘Gherkin’ as its fourth most disliked building in London.

Architecture Week runs from June 16-25 2006, and aims to encourage people to find out about architecture and the built environment in an entertaining and informative way. Visit www.architectureweek.org.uk for more details.

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