Michael Fish is blown away by the majestic Palace of Westminster, but feels chilled to the bone whenever he walks past Centre Point in London’s West End

I am a huge fan of the buildings the Victorians put up. They have left us with a lot of ornaments, like pretty towers. Obviously, my favourite building is the Houses of Parliament. It is just such a majestic building and I have visited it many times. It’s still looking good more than a hundred years on.

Tower Bridge also demonstrates Victorian engineering at its best. It’s a pity we don’t have the money and ability now to create aesthetically pleasing places like they did then. I’m amazed how great cathedrals were created more than a thousand years ago and we can’t reproduce them. I recently saw a documentary about St Paul’s cathedral that talked about the hidden staircases that were only held up because Sir Christopher Wren was such a great mathematician and architect. Where has that skill gone now?

I don’t really like any modern buildings, although Richmond Riverside, the office scheme near me was built in a Georgian style that even Prince Charles liked. But that was designed to look old, so I’m not sure it counts.

For my least favourite building, I could choose any number of awful concrete tower blocks that were erected in the sixties and seventies. They look as if they were just thrown up. A couple in Waterloo seem like nothing more than containers built on top of one another.

But Centre Point in Tottenham Court Road has to be the worst. It’s astonishingly ugly. And what’s more, they didn’t do their science homework. A building of that size creates its own microclimate and when the wind is in a certain direction, it’s almost impossible to stand up. With a bit of common sense they would have figured that out.

The Houses of Parliament


The Houses of Parliament was designed by Sir Charles Barry on the site of a much-restored former 11th-century residence, which was almost completely destroyed in a fire in 1834. The design was influenced by the great palaces of Europe and it is often considered the finest neo-gothic building in the world, although the river-facing elevation is asymmetrical.