Country Life’s 10 best architecture stories of 2020, from crumbling masterpieces to the deserted streets of lockdown London

We take a look back at Country Life's most-viewed architecture articles of the past 12 months.

The medieval engineering strokes of genius that led to the building of Old London Bridge

Credit: Getty

Medieval bridges were marvels of engineering, given the technology available at the time — and nowhere more so than in the case of London Bridge, where deep, tidal flows made construction incredibly challenging. David Harrison explained more in an article that was part of our regular Thursday delve into Country Life’s archives.

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London has never been this quiet in 2,000 years — here’s what it looks like, and what we can learn

Credit: John Goodall

In all of its 2,000-year history, it seems unlikely that the City of London has ever stood so silent as it did during lockdown in Spring. Can we learn from the quiet, asked Architectural Editor John Goodall, who also took the photographs.

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Gwrych Castle: The astonishing fantasy castle saved by the dreams and bravery of a 12-year-old boy

Credit: Paul Highnam for the Country Life Picture Library

The Welsh castle earned fame thanks to its appearance in ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ on ITV. But Country Life were there first, to tell the story of a quite remarkable survival.

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What do you do with a ruined country house? Four examples that show the way forward

Credit: Alamy

In the special issue guest edited by The Princess Royal, her husband Vice-Admiral Sir Tim Laurence — the chairman of the English Heritage Trust — looked at how best to manage our ruined country houses, ensuring that visiting them is both worthwhile and enjoyable.

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The futuristic house of cork, fitted together like Lego, where the skylights stop it from blowing away

Credit: Will Pryce for the Country Life Picture Library

John Goodall investigated how a research project by architects Matthew Barnett Howland and Dido Milne led to the creation of Cork House in Eton, Berkshire, an experimental home of great style and interest — and one that also presents a challenge to the architectural world.

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The Athenaeum: Ancient history, old rivals and a recent revival for the old Carlton House haunt

Credit: Will Pryce for the Country Life Picture Library

One of the grandest Regency clubs in London has undergone a revival in recent years. Architecture editor John Goodall looked at the remarkable story of its development on the former site of Carlton House.

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How the architecture of the Cotswolds came to define the archetypal English country village

Credit: Alamy

The architecture of the Cotswolds is almost intrinsically linked to popular conceptions of the English country village. Clive Aslet considered the people and places which contributed to bringing that about.

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Ogston Hall: A romantic, well-maintained family home, diligently researched and preserved

Credit: Paul Highnam for the Country Life Picture Library

The characterful re-working of an ancient family house in the 1850s integrated its varied elements into an impressive and coherent whole. John Martin Robinson told its story.

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Buckingham Palace: ‘There is not a historical capital in Europe which cannot show a more imposing Royal palace’

Credit: Country Life Picture Library

A trip through the archives unearthed a real treasure in the form of a 1931 book about Buckingham Palace which offers a fascinatingly different perspective on one of the world’s most famous buildings.

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Leweston Manor: The uniquely charming house where Georgian architecture meets Art Deco interiors

Credit: Paul Highnam for the Country Life Picture Library

Leweston Manor is a rare example of an Art Deco interior surviving within a Georgian building — and it’s in daily use as a school. Roger White explained more.

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