27. The interior of Oakwood
By way of illustrating who wins in a Holden v Green contest, here’s an example of the former’s architectural genius just a few stops up the Piccadilly line from the latter’s Caledonian Road.
The inside of Oakwood, which opened in 1933, is a vast, dazzling playground of modernist design.
The building is, frankly, enormous, the sort more common to a mainline station than a mere metropolitan network. Those excitingly mammoth windows pictured above send natural light pouring into the sleek and spacious booking hall, in turn creating all sorts of bewitching shadows and illuminations.
Then there’s the ceiling, a giant’s crochet of great hunks of cement, perched on top of massive walls of clean, crisp, perfect-aligned brickwork. There’s no need for ornamentation or extra decoration or even much in the way of colour. The station’s design creates its own beauty. Nothing more needs to be added.
Well, except for one neatly-positioned, charmingly-crafted clock:
The scale and ambition of the place caught my breath. I stopped in my tracks when I walked in, stunned by what was around me. I tried to linger as long as I could before inviting suspicion from passengers and staff, none of whom seemed to be lifting their eyes a few feet above the ground.
A shame, because we are blessed and incredibly flattered by buildings like this. Apologies for sounding painfully preachy, but it feels, well, really quite humbling that someone thought it worth bestowing so much love and attention on such as ostensibly functional assignment.
Three cheers for Charles Holden!
(And I haven’t even started on the exterior of Oakwood… not to mention the platforms…)