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Royal Mail Stamp Collection Celebrates Architecture

A new set of UK stamps is showcasing contemporary architecture around the nation.

The famous landmarks featured include EMBT's Scottish Parliament, the London Aquatics Centre by Zaha Hadid, and Haworth Tompkins’ Everyman Theatre, which won a Stirling Prize.

The Royal Mail Special Stamps Collection, which was designed by London agency GBH, highlights 10 of the most celebrated public buildings from the last 20 years. The featured structures on these architecture stamps are:

  • Blavatnik Building (London).
  • Eden Project (St Austell)
  • Everyman Theatre (Liverpool)
  • Giants' Causeway Visitor Centre (Northern Ireland)
  • Imperial War Museum North (Manchester)
  • Library of Birmingham
  • London Aquatics Centre
  • National Assembly for Wales (Cardiff)
  • SEC Armadillo (Glasgow)
  • Scottish Parliament (Edinburgh)


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GBH representative Mark Bonner said that the studio took time to understand what inspired the architect for each building and coming up with an image that summarised their intentions. With the Imperial War Museum North, they created an image that represented the three forms of war (land, sea, and air).

The buildings were photographed by Hufton + Crow, who also provided images of UK bridges for Royal Mail two years ago. Allan Crow said that he and his partner Nick Hufton took several shots of each location, while Royal Mail determined which would be used on the architecture stamps.

Eight Hufton + Crow images ended up being used. Of the remaining two, Hangloose photographed the Eden Project and Mark McCall captured the Giant's Causeway Visitor Centre.

Mr Bonner said that in some instances the photographers took extra measures to get the perfect shot. GBH found it difficult to get the famous curves of the Imperial War Museum in a single image, so after using Google Earth to examine the different angles in 3D, they hired a cherry picker to raise Hufton + Crow up 30 feet in the air. They arrived in the morning and took a variety of images until sunset in an effort to capture new and exciting viewpoints.

GBH also worked with Hangloose, a local zip wire company, to get a one-of-a-kind perspective of the Eden Project.

Mr Bonner said that from the perspective of the zip wire, one could see that vegetation was flourishing in and out of the biospheres, which had the appearance of simply being laid on top of the lush greenery. In the end, GBH decided to use a photo taken by one of the employees of Hangloose.

The Royal Mail commissioned the Special Stamp Collection to celebrate what it referred to as a surge in the development of new public buildings throughout the country. This progress, which has been taking place over the past two decades, mirrored a renewed interest and pride in British architecture, especially from world-famous architects.

The buildings, which serve a myriad of purposes such as business, government, sport, and culture, were selected for their imaginative structures as well as the way in which they became important parts of their neighbourhoods. Some even played a part in local regeneration.

Philip Parker, Royal Mail Stamp Strategy Manager, said that the new architecture stamps celebrate unique and visionary buildings that combine great engineering with stunning architecture.

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