Pieces of London that look a bit like body parts

The evil face of Hampton Court Palace

London has often been compared to a living organism, with the royal parks functioning like lungs, the railways like arteries and the sewers like intestines. Sometimes the buildings themselves have something anatomical about them.

The walkie-talkie sticks out like a sore thumb…and looks like one too. The London Eye has watched over the capital for more than two decades, but looks like an eye only in name. The following buildings, however, remind us of body parts in form if not function.


Old Street, with butt-shaped buildings in the background and bike rental bikes in the foreground

Officially, these Old Street apartments are known as Bézier apartments (after the curve they resemble). Unofficially, everyone calls them Les Butts (after the buttocks they look like).

The Kim Kardashian

A tower with a pronounced bulge, like a fat ass, rises above the Thames.  A pink arrow points to it.

Speaking of behinds, the skyscraper One Blackfriars is sometimes likened to Kim Kardashian, thanks to her prominent buttocks.

The Cock-and-Balls Skyscraper

A skyscraper seen from above looks like a big penis and testicles

This yet to be built tower on the Isle of Dogs looks like a fairly normal skyscraper from the ground. But when seen from an airplane at the city’s airport, he takes on a decidedly phallic appearance. We nicknamed it the Cock and Balls tower, because we’re childish like that.

the rump

Not so much a part of the body as a whole, an extraterrestrial body. This is the Neuron Pod, designed by the firm of Will Alsop, at the Center of the Cell in Whitechapel. Depending on where you look at it, it looks like a hedgehog or a space monster, but from Newark Street it’s the spiky rump that stands out. We wouldn’t park there, to be honest.

The mouth of the Lord

Lord's Media Center at sunset - looks like a big mouth
Image by Brian Minkoff – London Pixels, under creative commons license

The distinctive Media Center at Lord’s Cricket Ground has been compared to many things in its day, usually an alien spacecraft or something. Writing in 1999 shortly after its completion, Ian Wooldridge described it as a hideous edifice and compared it to Cherie Blair’s mouth. He couldn’t be more wrong on the first point, but it certainly has something denture about it.

Olympic vascularization

A tangle or red and white steel

Each listicle reaches a point of desperation where the examples become more tenuous. It’s this point, as we observe that the Orbit Tower in Olympic Park looks like a tangle of veins and arteries – especially if we increase the saturation levels.

The King’s Hand of the Cross

A supporting structure in the shape of a hand under a triangular canopy

The magnificent roof of King’s Cross Station is getting a helping hand in the form of these…helping hands. The large saucer is supported by a series of pillars, each surmounted by a slender-fingered hand.

The Royal Albert Ball

Prince Albert is known for his (apocryphal) piercing and his namesake room also has genital connections. The building, according to popular rhyme, is said to be the final resting place of Hitler’s other ball. Moreover, when viewed from above, it looks like an extracted testicle – appropriate for a building on Kensington Gore. I think we better leave things at that before it gets even more hopeless.

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