Paddington Station is now a heritage-listed building under redevelopment by architects Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners as the central London terminal for the express train to Heathrow Airport. A concourse extension, named the “Lawn Area” because it incorporates the site of the station master’s former garden, has been covered by a glass roof. Glass and aluminum have been used extensively to enhance the character of Brunel’s building. The second stage of the project includes replacement of the 1916 train shed with a new concourse opening to the adjacent Regent’s Canal; a prominent transfer structure is also proposed with more buildings, including a 42-story tower block.

See also

Crystal Palace; St, Pancras Station; Thames Tunnel

Further reading

Binney, Marcus, and David Pearce, eds. 1979. Railway Architecture. London: Oris Publishing.

Bryan, T. 1999. Railway Heritage. London: Silver Link Publishing.

Clinker, C. R. 1979. Paddington, 1854–1979: An Official History of Brunel’s Famous London Railway Station in Its 125th Year. London: Avon-Anglia Publications.

Palace of Minos

Knossos, Crete

Probably the best known of all Cretan architecture, the ruins of the Palace of Minos at Knossos stand near the River Kairatos on the north side of Crete, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) inland, near the modern city of Iráklion. The complexity of its buildings defies verbal description, and its sophisticated planning and lively decoration separate it from its contemporaries anywhere in the world.

Crete is naturally fortified by the sea and was protected by a powerful navy, so the town site was chosen probably for reasons other than defense: an elevated position, a good water supply, access to the coast, and a forest providing building lumber. At the height of its glory, around 1650 b.c., Knossos extended its boundaries. The English archeologist Arthur Evans, perhaps a little generously, claimed that the population reached 80,000.

It is generally thought that Crete was first inhabited in the seventh or sixth millennium b.c. by migrating neolithic farmers from Asia Minor. By around 3000 b.c., they were using bronze tools, and over the next 800 years or so, a sophisticated society emerged that traded with Egypt and invented its own hieroglyphic script. What is known as the Age of the First Palaces has been dated at 2200–1700 b.c. Four large sites have been identified: Phaestos, Mallia, Zakros, and Knossos. Each took the same general form, comprising a number of multistory wings grouped around a central courtyard and built of substantial timber frames, filled with plastered stone blocks. The complex layouts included luxurious living quarters, dining halls, artists’ workshops, basement warehouses, and other rooms with a religious purpose. The First Palaces were all destroyed by an earthquake around 1700 b.c., and the so-called Second Palaces rose on their ruins. Over the next two centuries Crete became the preeminent Aegean Bronze Culture site and the first center of European civilization. By about 1580 b.c., through profitable trade, its influence had spread to neighboring islands, the Greek mainland, and beyond. Its dominance was in part due to its location at the crossroads of Africa, Asia, and Europe, and in part to its naval power.

The new palace at Knossos became the center of Minoan government, traditionally regarded as the seat of King Minos. Some ancient writers identify several kings named Minos, and the term may have described the office of ruler, like Egypt’s pharaoh. The historical basis of this person is impossible to discover. The later Greeks accepted him only in myth, as the son of Zeus and Europa. Myth also has it that he asked the engineer Daedalos to build a labyrinth so cunningly designed that it could be used to imprison the monstrous Minotaur. There is a clear connection with the complicated layout of the second palace. Little is known about their form of government: whether they had a priest-king, priestess-queen, or some other form of ruler gives rise to the question, Was the Palace of Minos only a palace?

Archeologists have discovered two main and connected functions of its many parts: economic and religious. We can only speculate. Why the Minoans should have produced an architecture and interior design so