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Big Ben

Big Ben
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The year is 1834. The city of London is in utter dismay as Westminster Palace, home of Parliament for over 800 years, is largely destroyed by fire.

One year later, a competition is organized as a means to finding the ideal project that would replace the ravaged historical structure. Candidates are instructed to toe the Gothic line of the ancient buildings with a view to preserving the original portions spared by the fire. Enter Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Welby Pugin, the two winners of the competition. The former is a seasoned architect, the latter, a champion of the Neo-Gothic movement. Work begins in 1840, but would take more than 20 years to complete, due, in large part, to Barry's and Pugin's conflicting ways and views.

A crowning stroke of excess and architectural rigor, Westminster Palace is eclipsed by one of its myriad towers: Big Ben. Adorned with a gargantuan clock boasting over 7 meters in diameter, Big Ben is thus affectionately dubbed in honor of its maker, Sir Benjamin Hall. An architectural tour de force, Big Ben is, to this day, a towering tribute to design ingenuity.

Big Ben's 13-ton bell continues to chime to the beat of modern- day London. Also known as the clock tower, Big Ben attracts the gaze of tourists and that of passers-by eager for the hands of time to lead them to their next business appointment, an outing in the English countryside or a simple lovers' stroll.


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