Now that I have added all the pictures to facebook and tagged everyone in them I can finally write my final blog. Visiting London was an incredible experience, not just from the architectural standpoint but also the cultural standpoint. Getting to see a very multicultural city with hundreds of years of history and a culture all its own was spectacular. I miss many parts of it such as the efficient Tube and the way that when a bus passed you on the road it didn’t reek of gasoline. I’m sure I will visit the city of London sometime again as there is far too much there to only spend one week there.
For my free day, Wenli, Tian, and I went to see Cambridge university. The first part of the day was spent on the train out. The train ride was nice and relaxing and we got to see the cute suburbs of London and a little bit of the countryside. Once we arrived we got to the university and saw the gorgeous gothic architecture which the school was made of. Being a student there would be incredible as you could see all the examples of gothic design right on campus. Then we tried to find the rivier. At this point we were rather lost but we were next to the cathedral. With the knowledge of cathedrals’ westworks we were able to get our bearings and find the river. Who knew architecture could be a compass?
Yesterday we got to visit allies and Morrison, an architecture firm in London. Visiting architecture firms is always a treat but this one was fantastic. There were countless models of all of their projects scattered throughout the building. The models were of an insanely high quality. We also got to see the studios in which the designing took place. The neatest thing was the building in which they worked. They designed their own firm and so it look incredible from both the inside and out. I really enjoyed this visit and felt like it taught quite a bit.
The tube is a great method of transportation. Subways are ideal because they are underground and don’t have to deal with any of the traffic from above ground. They also don’t have to be bogged down by the actual design of the city and can directly link all of the most popular and central spots. Perhaps the most interesting part of the tube is the culture around it. London had a very unique subway ettiquette. The ettiquette allows for it to be incredibly efficient. It truly is an important part of the city which just lies underground. I definitely envy London for having the tube while in Columbus we just have the COTA bus system which pales in comparison.
The architecture of London is an odd combination of very modern buildings and very ancient buildings. During yesterday’s trip we got to see the area with all of the massive brand new skyscrapers which were right next to the Tower of London, one of the oldest buildings in London. Seeing this new and old architecture right next to each other was very interesting. The obvious differences are in material and general shape. Another thing of interest was how the Buildings had such different functions and how their designs showed that. Tower of London was very low with thick walls and a massive most while buildings like the Gherkin were just focused around height and it’s beauty.
Pubs are an important part of British culture. It’s not seen as a bar but rather a place of gathering and much more friendly, even in some instances, family friendly. My grandfather told me stories of how after work he would always go to the pub and relax. My mother always spoke fondly of them too. In the evenings here we have been going to pubs and just hanging out with a drink or two. On the first night here we went to a pub near the hotel. There I had the Sunday roast beef. The meal included Yorkshire pudding, an item of food which my mother always made with roast beef. Surprisingly, the food feels more like home than the food at OSU.
Going out to the English countryside was incredibly fun. Stonehenge was fascinating as it was one of the oldest man made structures ever. You could feel the history seeping through the rocks. After that we journeyed to stourhead which was a little disappointing as the part modeled after the pantheon was closed. The last stop was the Salisbury cathedral which was spectacular. We were able to go all the way up to the spire and see the entire town from the top. It was incredibly interesting to compare the gothic style of Salisbury cathedral with the more modern baroque style of St. Paul’s cathedral. Aside from the architecture the best part of the trip was the sheep. In Stonehenge there were sheep grazing right next door. As we drove along the countryside we saw even more of them. Those wooly little guys!