This renowned Netflix series dramatizes the narrative of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that have influenced her reign, based on historical events. The Crown peeks into Queen Elizabeth II’s life from her 1947 wedding to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, till the early twenty-first century. The Crown begins with the Queen’s ascension to the British throne at age 25, after the death of her father, King George VI. An intimate depiction of her life as a queen can be seen throughout the series, from her meetings with Winston Churchill to her sister’s forbidden love affair and much more. The first season depicts events up to 1955, the second from 1956 till 1964, the third till 1977, and the fourth up to 1990. This progression can be observed in the architectural change in the structures as well. It truly is a marvelous show for designers to binge-watch and go through some of the historic structures. Some of the significant structures showcased in the series are mentioned below. 

Buckingham Palace

 

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The Crown Netflix show_©Zhana Leeson
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Buckingham Palace_©Mike Marrah

Buckingham Palace, richest in its ability to fill the screen with wealth, culture, and history, has been heavily showcased in the series. It also is a canvas for a portrait or a moment. The structure and its interiors play a huge role in showcasing the lifestyle of people throughout the series. The Neoclassical building at the core of the modern Palace was known as Buckingham House. For decades this structure has been through several modifications, each appropriate and upgraded to the eras. Oolitic Limestone was employed as the main building material for the Palace as they were used for many structures in London and England. King George IV planned to expand the residence into a palace in 1826, enlisting the help of architect John Nash. Three wings were built around a central courtyard, according to the designs. With brightly coloured scagliola blue and pink laps, the interior features a variety of baroque, rococo, and 19th-century finishes. Neoclassical architecture is distinguished by its great size, and it frequently incorporates columns, geometric features, and simple patterns. In addition to being a tourist hotspot, the Palace and its grounds are a popular venue for staging events and doing political business in the United Kingdom.

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Buckingham Palace_©Diogo Nunes

Westminster Abbey

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Westminster Abbey_©Alissa Bankowski

Westminster Abbey, known as the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, primarily Gothic abbey church in London, England, has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Contemporary French cathedral architecture impacted the design and layout. The medieval abbey church is built in the period’s pointed Gothic style. Along with the vaults, the Abbey has ribbed vaulted ceilings with several exposed beams arranged along prominent focus points to give a unique, structural aesthetic. Flying buttresses reinforce a structure’s outside walls, allowing it to withstand more force and unfavourable weather. Rose windows, which were made in the shape of a rose and filled with stained glass, were common in Gothic architecture. The Abbey’s north transept is highlighted by a prominent rose window. More stained-glass panels used to be found in the Abbey; however, many of them were lost during World War II. The Abbey’s architecture is distinctive in form and construction while keeping traditional space and building arrangements. Modelled, repetitive shapes are used extensively throughout Abbey’s decor to create a sense of unity and proportionality. It is one of the most famous ecclesiastical buildings in the United Kingdom, as well as the traditional place of coronation and burial for English and later British monarchs.

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The Crown-Netflix_©Zhana Leeson

The Palace of Westminster – House of Parliament 

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House of Parliament_©Ugur Akdemir

The Palace of Westminster is the assembly venue for the House of Commons and the House of Lords – the two houses of the United Kingdom’s Parliament. The Palace is located in the City of Westminster, in central London, England, on the north bank of the River Thames. The Palace of Westminster, like the other structures, is heavily influenced by gothic architecture. The Palace of Westminster was constructed with sand-coloured Limestone.

The Palace’s vibrant skyline was enhanced by steeply-pitched iron roofs, which were part of the design and decorations. The Hall was, without a doubt, England’s and possibly Europe’s largest Hall at the time. With a length of over four cricket pitches end-to-end, it measures 73 by 20 meters. The Hall was surrounded by stone walls that were two meters (six feet) thick. There was an arcade with enormous arches and windows inside the Hall, as well as a wall passage on all four sides. Above the windows was a pattern of light and dark stones in a checkerboard pattern. The Palace’s interior furnishings, including wallpapers, sculptures, and stained glass, were all designed in a Gothic style. The Palace of Westminster is one of the most important political hubs in the United Kingdom. The Elizabeth Tower, in particular, is an iconic landmark of London and the United Kingdom in general, as well as one of the city’s top tourist attractions and a symbol of parliamentary democracy. It is typically referred to by the name of its main bell, Big Ben. From 1970, the Palace of Westminster has been a Grade I structure, and ever since 1987, and it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

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BigBen_©Dan Keavey

As the series takes place in the 1950s, the architecture style and heavy influences of art movements (mainly gothic) are very visible and quite interesting. The style of building the materials used from eras with heavy ornamentation on the structures, externally as well as internally, play a huge role in portraying the historical times. The extravagant big-budget production was shot over eight months on 398 sets, which perhaps explains the reason design fans love the show so much. A lot of research and study has gone through while filming and making the sets. The designs and story keep getting richer every episode. (If you haven’t already) This could be the next binge-worthy show for anyone interested in history, art, or design.

The Crown-Netflix_©Zhana Leeson

References:

  1. The Crown [Netflix]. Available at https://www.netflix.com/
  2. Laura Morgan and Jennifer Fernandez [Online] Go Inside the Filming Locations of The Crown. Available at https://www.architecturaldigest.com/
Author

A recent architecture grad student who believes design and research play a creative role in shaping society while providing advanced solutions. Her curiosity has drawn her passion into understanding the psychology of architecture with human behaviour and art. She relishes reading, discovering, and craves to learn more each day.

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