One of my goals for this trip was to get a better grasp of the different architectural styles. Here is one sketch of what I learned from the architecture gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum. The other sketch is of Stourhead, one of my favorite locations from the trip.



I’ve got a feeling we’re not in London anymore.

imageI still can’t  believe it’s been two weeks since we landed in London. Time flew by so quickly it all seems like a blur, but yet I remember everything just like it was yesterday. My favorite part of this trip was all the architecture and culture of the city we had swimming around as 24/7.  The  camaraderie of the group was fantastic and by far an amazing group of architecture students and non architecture students. Everyone there was ready to learn and explore the city together. I’m excited to continue our classes to develop a final project and see how everyone in the class interprets their adventures in London.

Til next time, London

Being thrown back into the swing of things with class, homework, and the daily struggle of a college student, I find myself day dreaming of the time spent in London. It’s strange to not see a Pub at the turn of every corner, walk through old brick streets under towering white marble and stone buildings, or to be taken aback every time a see a car coming on the wrong side of the road. The time spent in London was one that was invaluable and really gave me a new perception of classical architecture and challenges the notion of what I though a city was. I’m also thankful for the fun group of people that I was able to experience this trip with and the new friendships that we all made. I hope that someday I will find myself once again “minding the gap,” sitting in a old pub, and enjoying the city that so quickly captivated me. Cheers, All.

Back into the swing of things

Coming back was hard for a few reasons. One was that London was not just a study abroad it was an experience and I loved every minute of it. From going to Starbucks at night to catch up on a few sketches or walking around central London with everyone during the day, every minute was great. Coming back to work and school is a little difficult. Last time I studied abroad it was in may so I was able to go right home after it and have two months for summer. Spring break brain is hard to rebound from. I will say, even though we woke up around 7 each day, went clear trough til 5 or later, then went out at night just to do it all over again, it was still a break. We were able to be out element and enjoy someone else’s way of life for a while. I will miss London.

Post-London Adventure


London was non-stop and filled with culture and once in a lifetime experiences. These experiences were shared with twenty new friends that will have a lasting bond. On this trip I saw, did, and tried new things that I would have not done on my own traveling through England. For example the British tea in the National Gallery, I drink my fair share of my own as well as my neighbor’s tea and ate one of the best scones I have ever had before. And it was really nice to have a reason for all of us to get dressed up for the classy event. I also would have never thought to go to the markets on my own. Just because you wouldn’t think to do all of your shopping and amazing food in a local market where I’m from. Local places such as that are replaced by Wal-Mart’s and shopping centers, but I loved that experience and wish I could bring it to my local hometown. 


Goodbye and See You London

It has been 4 days since we came back from London. I cannot stop thinking about those beauties I experienced in London. I really miss those friends and that time we spent together. Although I did not go to the Sherlock Holms Museum, did not have time for the Harry potter studio and failed in completing the patterns at back of the coins, I still feel this is one of the most wonderful trips I have ever had. Maybe sometimes things are perfect just because the imperfection, so you always have aspiration for them and try your best to make it better. Anyway all good things come to an end. But we always have chances to start something new. I believe that sometime in the future I will experience London again.


I Will Be Back

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The past week is probably my favorite week so far in my life. London is such a tremendous city which is so clean, so cultural, so secure and so beautiful. I really don’t know how it managed to be so pretty as the background of our pictures. Everyone seems to be a photographer in the city and we took so many perfect pictures without even trying. I am so jealous of Londoners as they can just go outside and get fantastic photos of themselves. I absolutely loved the culture there and I loved the way people talked, dressed, and everything. I think that explains why Doug Graf spends more time in London than in states. Given the chance, I will be going back at any time and I don’t even need a reason to do so. That’s how much I love the city.


Final Post

It is sad to not wake up in London. Already our week has already begun to fade into memory. It was an excellent experience and I am very glad to have gone. I can now say I have flown on an airplane as well as travelled out of the country (and continent). I tried new cuisines…and actually liked them. I learned new things about British culture and was able to walk through places that I have only before seen through pictures. Most importantly, this trip has given me the will to travel. London is just the beginning, the gateway to everywhere. I am grateful for the opportunity to go and would love to one day go again. For me at least, London 2014 was a success.



Goodbye London

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.


Wow, that was a very fast eight days.  I can’t believe I am back in America already.  But I can’t really complain because I had an awesome time and made memories that will last forever.  I plan to go home this weekend so I can show my family everything I did.  I can’t wait to tell them all the things I saw and what I did while I was on the trip.  This trip was by far the best Spring Break I had ever had.  The weather there was at a nice 60 degrees.  I got to experience an entirely new culture.  Also, I was able to see the great architecture that London has to offer.

Missing London!!!!


After arriving home and adjusting back to normal life all I can think about is the next time I’ll be able to go back London! The entire experience was so incredibly amazing especially since it was my first time abroad.  Being able to go on this trip was the experience of a life time and what made it even better was the group of people I got to share that experience with! We as a class seemed to bond from the beginning and it was so great to have such a gos group of people around you when you were in such an unfamiliar place, I would not have wanted it any other way!

Post-Trip: London Withdrawl Symptoms

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This trip was one of the most fabulous trips I have ever been on. The UK was such a different place, even though I would consider it one of the global cultures more similar to that of America. Back in the states, I find myself deeply missing London and its many perks. I miss the mixture of fantastic architecture, both old and modern, that was present everywhere. I miss the convenience of the Tube. I miss a lot of the small things as well that were not blatantly apparent to me while visiting there but are definitely missing here. The friendliness of the London red color that marked public service areas, the quaint view right outside the hotel window, the street art and artists– these are all minor elements that together added up to a unique culture. And, of course, I terribly miss the tea and scones. Hopefully I will be able to travel there again sometime in the future. In the meantime, I will sip the tea I brought back with me and start making a bucket list for London round two!

I can’t express how fulfilling this trip was. It exceeded all of my expectations, which were not low either. Thank you, everyone, for being such a pleasure to get to know and travel with! Cheers!


Trying to get to BedZED

As many of you know, I am doing a project on a zero-energy development in Beddington, or BedZED for short, for my Sustainable Urbanism class. I had planned on visiting the development while we were in London to finish up my second paper on it. On my free day I spent the morning and early afternoon at Windsor Castle with Shelby, Desiree, Kelsey, and Jason. It was such a beautiful say and I loved seeing the castle and everything that went with it. During the afternoon we decided to split up and do our separate things. I decided I was going to go to BedZED. Desiree and I made a plan to meet back at the hotel at 6:00, or at least contact each other if were were doing to be late by accessing Starbucks WiFi. I had two different sets of directions from the help of Google Maps and Aimee- one that required a transfer from the tube to a tram, the other a transfer from the tube to a train. I tried the first option first and hit a deadend. I had to go outside Zone 2 in order to get to the tram and when I asked the information desk for help they saud it was not worth it t buy day passes. After that dead-end, I tried to get to the train station (because I was close anyway). As I waiting in line for the train tickets I watched the screen with arriving and leaving trains and watched my train leave the station. I decided ot head back to the hotel after this because it took me about a 1.5 hours to do all this. I do not look at this as a failure though. I felt comfortable riding the tube alone thanks to the help of Aimee, Troy, and our group. I also can now note for my paper that it is difficult for an outsider to get to the development, even with many forms of public transit! Also, I’m a planning student riding on the tube, what more could I ask for?
Ashley Hofmaster

Post-Departure: Missing London

It’s weird because on Saturday I was a little ready to come home. I missed my cats, communicating with my loved ones on a regular bases, and sleeping in my bed. But now that I am home I miss London and everyone from the trip. It is strange when you leave a place (or even just learn about something new) how you see reminders in your everyday life that make you think of that. I turned on the TV yesterday and a news story about the monarchy was airing. As I waiting for the CABS bus to take me to class this morning I thought about how the tube would already be here by now and we would’ve squeezed more people in the subway than the bus. Besides these thoughts I have also been thinking about how thankful I am. I am thankful I had the opportunity to attend a great university and study something I love and make friends in the process. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to study aboard and make even more friends and learn about the culture and a piece of the world. Thank you Aimee and Troy for taking us around the city and countryside for a crazy, long week. And also thanks to everyone else for making me feel welcomed in the School of Architecture and becoming my friend!

See you on Thursday,

Ashley Hofmaster

Back in the States

As we arrived in Chicago and waited for our plane ride back to Columbus our group looked exhausted. I know I was! We should really be thankful for our instructors putting together such a well organized trip. At times it was annoying how little free time we had and how much we were touring each day, but looking back I am very glad Aimee and Troy pushed us each day to explore more of the city. We really did so much in the week we were abroad, and I would have to say we definitely got our moneys worth. One thing a lot of students were saying is how they are going to have a tough time appreciating the buildings and planning in their towns and cities back in the United States. I sort of agree. Our country is much newer and in our time as a country we have adopted a culture that knocks down older buildings and rebuilds without thinking of historical value. I think we need to appreciate everything our country does have, but adopt some things from older European countries that have been around much longer. London took centuries to turn into an iconic city, but we should not let it take hundreds of years to adopt some of the practices that make London better than many cities in The United States.



I also tried to post this one on Friday but again, wifi…

So the food in London…was GREAT!! I really tried to get stuff that I either could not get in America or things I have not tried before. For instance the crepes made out of pancakes at that place by Westminster Palace, that place was really good. Not as filling as I wanted so I got ice cream after. Really cheap ice cream too. Thing is with ice cream in London, at least for me, is that it was extremely light and fluffy. Almost like whipped cream, but it was really filling. Shauna and I got some crossing the bridge by the London eye and it was honestly some of the best I’ve cream I have ever had. Desserts in London in General were delicious. The desserts we had at tea was good as well. The chocolate was really rich and the shortcake tasting treat was also light and fluffy with that amazing filling. I also tried fish n’ chips and yes I have had fish before and yes I have had fries before but it was fun to have it in London England. It’s about the equivalent to having sushi in japan which I hope to one day have as well. I also can honestly say I did not have a single mcdonalds, baskin, Burger King, or chipoltle in London which I am proud of because it is very true that even though it’s the same name, the menu can be different and was with mcdonalds in Germany. Group dinners were also a great time to experience with new food. For instance wagamamas offered a very spicy dish of pasta and chicken which I probably too eagerly ordered, but hey it was an experience right? Overall the good was great and it was different enough that I felt like I was in a different country but similar enough that I wasn’t eating crazy weird food.image



And butter beer at universal studios for Harry Potter was amazing!!! Plus it is one of two places in the WORLD to get it! The other is in Florida! Great experiences!!

Old and New

I tried to post this on Thursday but the wifi wasn’t working.

I wanted to write a post about the fabric of London, now that we have seen a great deal of it from various heights and angles. I found it extremely intriguing to look at the gherkin from the angle next to the cheese grater. It was nice to see the different layers of the city that have been built throughout time: the old ruined church, the newer neoclassical building, and the nearly brand new gherkin. From chipped, dated stone to thin glass, you can really see how the city has grown over the years and it is quite a sight. It makes you think about the history this city went through. And today seeing the globe theater up close with it’s thatched roof was also nice because it brought my point full circle. Obviously from a logical and sustainable standpoint, thatched roof and wood buildings aren’t going to last, and even if the fires did not occur in London, at some point, that architecture would have been rebuilt with stone and marble and other materials. But, to see thatch in modern day, thick poche at places like St. Paul’s, aged stone, and thin, tall curtain wall, just makes me appreciate this city more. That kind of stuff does not happen anymore; you can’t see that stuff in columbus ohio. It also makes me think about the heap of issues Londoners have had to overcome. From fires and rebuilding their entire city to accepting buildings like the egg, the gherkin, the cheese grater, the walkie talkie building, the shard, and the inside out building all within the last few years, makes me realize and appreciate their culture, architecture, and way of life. Their buildings are truly a melting pot of architecture.

[post-trip blog] All about London

It was a long week definitely. I still cannot believe we are back in school, and the semester is going on now. I think I had a wonderful dream for a week. I miss everything, every moment, every place that I went to. So, there are three things I cannot stop thinking of: people, weather, and scone. 

I had a CRP class this morning as the first class after since we came back from London, and the first thing I did was looking around to find where Ashley and Desiree are. (They are my classmates in that class) I don’t know why but I miss everyone; and perhaps that is because we spent 24/7 together for a week.

DSC_1385this is the first Sunday in the morning, everyone looks excited.


The second thing is the weather in London. We expected to have rain (as it supposed to..) but we did not! I believe one of the reasons that we had great memories in London is the wonderful weather. I heard they will have rain this week. We were meant to be there, I do think so.

CSC_1705 The first Sunday afternoon, walking along the London eye.


Finally, the scone, my favorite food in London. I miss British scone so bad. It is so much different from Americans or any other countries. I think I will have to learn how to make British scones.

IMG_9850 I found this book in Portobello market. I should have bought it.

This trip was wonderful as itself. I really have to thank Aimee and Troy (and Amy) for making this great trip possible. And I hope we could keep in touch with our classmates in future as well!

Post Trip

London was a fabulous experience and I’m so thankful I was a part of this group. It’s hard to pick a day or a place that stands out as a favorite because everyday was full of different experiences and sites. The real food market was a great introduction to London and assured me there was good food to be found in London despite many warnings I had heard from others. Actually, I indulged in the local cuisine more than I should have! Thankfully the 10 miles we seem to walk everyday hopefully made up for it! I adventurously tried fish and chips, bangers and mash, Canterbury brie, macarons and even a lox and cheese sandwich! After returning home I think I’m missing the delicious food the most! The experience was awesome and I loved every minute of it!!!!


Shadows in London

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I found these pictures when I was sorting them out last night. They are from the treetop walkway at Kew Gardens. I want to mention that shadow is always a key for designing. What I think of the treetop walkway is that it’s a great idea but it’s hard to make a very interesting design in such a concept. The result is that the entire walkway is flat, for instance in sections there’s no height change at the top. However I think the architect made it interesting in another way – playing with shadows.

We see more and more screen in contemporary designs. By screen I mean for example those metal columns that are on the railing which create these fantastic shadows on the path. I think this is such a great idea because the canopy is higher than all the trees which means it’s going to get lots of sun that grants it really high shadow value. I love how the screens are designed but what’s more is that the shadow that’s created. The shadow somehow falls onto the structure under the walkway. This means it is not just randomly designed and there are lots of calculations and thinking behind the design. I think this is what we must have for our designs. We can just make cool things but what’s more important is to make things cool with meanings and thoughtful ideas behind them.



I was struck by the wide range of materials used in the landscape. The variety of pavers, bricks and stone used gave the ground plan more interest than I have seen in other cities. I did not experience the concrete jungle effect I usually associate with cities. I noticed interesting patterns and deliberate materiality changes which was a nice accent to the stunning architecture. The merging of the old and new materials was present as it is the architecture. One example of this was seen at Stonehenge where the walkway was a pervious plank system. Brilliant really, it gives the visitors a walking surface without producing the water runoff a traditional paver path would have. A similar material was used around Princess Diana’s memorial.




What’s Blooming!!

Can it be? Is that a bee buzzing and flowers blooming? Yes, the beautiful English countryside was dotted yellow by trumpet daffodils, wild hyacinth and amongst other things a few remaining crocus. Cherry trees and magnolia trees are also beginning to burst open their swollen buds. I spotted a handful of snow drops hanging on to their petals but the majority had passed. The earliest rhododendrons were beginning to put on their spring show displaying deep reds and soft pinks. Cyclamen was in abundance planted in pots and window boxes along the streets and also in the understory of parks where it was thriving in the mild English climate. Also blooming now are flowering quince in an array of whites, oranges, pinks and reds. Perhaps my favorite would be the camellia with its perfect round flower and striking stamens. I also spotted some viburnum, pieris, primrose, and even a few roses. It was a lovely time to visit!


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This trip was absolutely spectacular! My friends are already begging for details about what I did and everything I saw. It is so exciting to share everything now that I’m back in the states. Staying in London was awesome, but being home is really nice. Unpacking, though, not so much! It just reminded me that on this trip I bought more clothes than my tiny closet can handle! Doesn’t matter though, there’s not going back now, right? Besides, now I have a bunch of super adorable dresses from London! How many people can say that?

I can’t wait to see everyone’s photos pop up on facebook. We need to show everyone our O-H-I-O’s! I’m sure our group pictures are all fantastic, just like us.

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath is located in the very north side of the city of London. London is well known as the top green city in the world, and it is one of the reasons that I like London as well. It was not very smooth trip to get there. I planned to meet my friend at 3 pm at the hampstead Heath station, but I could not make it on time due to traffic jam. My friend told me it is hard to be on time in London especially on weekends. London seems to have the same problem of congestion as other big cities. The heath was beautiful, many families came out to enjoy wonderful weather and Spring.
While sitting down on a bench, I saw the problem of Walkitalki building that I heard from the news. When sun light directly goes to the building, it reflects and bothers other building and people on the street. I remembered a news that the light thawed snow on the street last winter. It was about to sunset when I arrived there, and I could exactly see the strong light coming out from the building. My friend also told me the architect who built walkitalki recently designed a similar building in Dubai, and it may cause a big problem.

A Not So Free Free Day: Food, Shopping, and Culture.

On my free day I chose to do a little more in the city of London. I first met up with my friends from back in Ohio and went to this little quaint restaurant called Nicholson’s for fish and chips (again). This was one of the best things I ate there! After that we walked up and down Oxford and Regents street shopping! One of the big things I found to be different was the layout of the store Self Ridges. Unlike malls that I have been to in America, it was just one large space with all different stores and no dividing walls. I think this is a good way to organize a shopping center because it forces people to walk through different stores and see things they might not see if it was an individual shop. After that, we went over to Camden town to go to the market and try new foods. On our way there we passed by many street performers and were able to stop and enjoy for a little! Unfortunately the Camden Market was closing as we were getting there- but from what I saw it was mostly unique things that weren’t too expensive!! We ate at this little pub called Mexican Kitchen. At first it was a little sketchy but turned out to be really great food. I am happy I was willing to try new things because in the end that is what made this trip so rewarding!

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On Tuesday night I went to see Wicked at a local theater with Kerry. The play was amazing and I had a great time. I have also seen Wicked in America, so it was interesting to compare the two. I was able to see the facial expressions of the cast members from my seat which made me feel like I was apart of the play. The acting done by all members of the cast was amazing and they portrayed their characters really well. Their British accents only added to the performance. All of the lead characters had beautiful voices and their renditions of my favorite songs from the play only made me like them more.



Our Canterbury Tales

The last day in England was spent traveling to Canterbury. This is the tale of our journey.

The beginning of the day was a hot mess of everyone scrambling to figure out what the game plan was. One group already planned a trip to Windsor. Others were shopping. And our group hoped for a trip to the bleach white cliffs of dover. We were unsure of the price of a train ticket round trip and had to call the station. Finally, we learned that the train tickets had a deal that would make our tickets only ₤17, much less than the expected ₤60 we calculated the day before. The fab five (Chris, Juli, Kerry, Ruben and Todd) traveled to Paddington to buy the tickets. When there, the ticket lady determined our best option was to buy the ticket in Victoria station, which is where the train left. With 25 minutes before departure, the team sprinted to Victoria via tube. The tube was nearly about to depart when the fab five squeezed in. A few stops passed until the team reached the station. To our dismay, the queu to purchase tickets was half a football field (European version) long. Risking the situation, the group jumped into an adjacent queu that was nearly empty. The ticket master approved our request and gave us five tickets. With under ten minutes to spare, the fab five rushed to platform 3. After a stressful and time crunching morning, the team successfully hopped a ride on the train.

Princess Diana memorial







Diana Memorial Fountain

The princess Diana memorial designed by Katherine Gustafson captures
the essence of the life led by the former First Lady of Whales. The memorial is skillfully carved to manipulate the natural flow of water and minor typographically changes increase and decrease it’s speed. The artist created ridges and drilled holes which added ripples and movement.

Diana experienced turmoil in her life and the sharp turns and carved ridges in the memorial agitate the water creating tumultuous spaces. The ever changing current also displays periods of calm and stillness which captures the grace and elegance which the Princess steadfastly displayed. Finally the eternal ring symbols to me how Diana’s legacy of humanitarianism will live forever in the many lives she touched.


Dover Cliffs



Today was a rather ambitious! We began our morning with a level of uncertainty due to the train ticket prices to Dover. We were pleased to find a deal for 20 pounds for a round trip ticket. The rail line was rather nice and the lovely country  side gave us a glimpse into suburban life. We were surprised when we arrived to see a large shipping port at the foot of the cliffs. Apparently it is the largest passenger port in all of Great Britain per our taxi driver. As we traveled down the rough terrain the port disappeared and we were left with magical vistas.  We arrived at sunset which was well worth the wait.  The lush green fields were a pleasant reminder that spring is a mere 4 days away!


I always believe that an architect has to look at others’ ideas and “borrow” them for his own design. It always helps when you look at more stuff before designing something. Here are someideas we can steal for our studio project.
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This is a store on Oxford street. Do you see the wavy thing on the facade? It’s not a screen, but thousands of little panels. I don’t know if they collect solar energy or not but anyway I think it is a fantastic design that defines how to make a flat surface interesting.
Here are some buildings we saw on Friday, I don’t know if you guys really paid attention to them when we boated/walked pass them. Here are some pictures to look at. I think it’s really interesting to see how they meet the ground and how they deal with their forms. Also pay attention to how they deal with the corners and what they do on the roof. Everyone gets different interpretations so you don’t have to like them. Hopefully this blog will help your next studio project 😀

You Want Me to Eat What?

During the trip I tried my best to order native food and be open to new culture and experience. Turns out I really liked the difference I’m selection and now have new ideas for my own cooking. Of course I tried and fish and chips, the dish was from a local pub and you could tell the difference from chain because the fish was so fresh. My favorite meal was the bangers and mash, sausage and mashed potatoes with onions and English gravy. I was the most apprehensive about trying this because I normally don’t like sausage, but a friend told me I had to try it so I made sure I did. I definitely suggest this dish


Post Trip

Wow, those are very fast eight days.  Spring Break literally flew by us and I am sure no one wants to leave London.  I still feel like I have so much more to explore and learn about London.  If I had the time I would just want to walk around London and take my the exploring the city.  I could not care if I got lost or not because I would be having such a great time just walking through the city.  Also, there is an underground station and maps all throughout London.  I just wish that Spring Break  could be a little longer because there is still so much more that I want to see and do.image

Last Day in London!

The last day in London wasn’t exactly what I had planned when I left Ohio. I was hopeful to travel to the Roman Bath, but when I got here to purchase tickets, it was just a bit out of my price range. Instead, Rachael and I decided to just stay around London. We went to Harrods and got split up and I toured through the stores, not just looking at the €700 baby dress but also, the architecture within the building. Each store areas space is redesigned for it’s purpose and style. After Harrods, I went to Hyde Park to sketch and just enjoy the rest of the lovely afternoon and people watch.



Yesterday I was able to go to Windsor and visit the Queen’s summer home.  I had not originally planned on going, but I’m so glad I did! We were able to see the changing of the guard and it was soo interesting! Having been in marching band I could understand a lot of the commands that were given and that made it all the more enjoyable!  I was also able to see the doll house that had previously belonged to a former queen. It was ginormous. The amount of details in the house was spectacular, the paintings in the doll house were even immaculate! Overall, I was very happy I decided to go!


Free Day




On my free day adventure Shelby Ashely Kelsey and I ventured out to Windsor castle by train. The train station was a little bit more crazy in  comparison to what we got use tI with the tube and if you miss a train the wait is a lot longer till the next one. But all in all it was a good day trip because I got to see Queen Mary’s dollhouse, this was one of my highlights. Later that day I got to catch the sunset in Hyde Park with an overlooking view of the water and the Peter Pan statue. I had a latte while sketching and that moment turned into my highlight of the trip because it was almost a dream come true.





The London Eye

The London Eye was a wonderful experience to do and witness at sunset. Being able to view the city from yet another view above the city as if we were floating above the Thames River. It was neat to be able to look down and see where we had walked the whole week around parliament and the river. After this experience Rachael, Shelby and I went to the Shard Lounge to get yet another perspective of the city from above. Ive now had on this trip three experiences of viewing the city from above including the top of St. Paul’s dome.


Natural History Museum



On my free day, I spent a good portion of my day at the natural history museum. I’d visited it for my museum visit Tuesday but didn’t get to visit all of the exhibits, so I decided to come back to do that. It was absolutely amazing. While the dinosaur exhibit was far too busy Saturday, I’d already done that Tuesday. There was also a wing called the Darwin center in which you can look at many of the specimens the scientists at the museum have collected all over the world and some information on how they are collected, categorized, and studied. There is also an earth science wing with a history of earth and information on rocks and weathering. Even if you aren’t interested in that, their exhibit on gems and other pretty rocks is definitely worth seeing. Best of all, it’s free (unless you are like me and spend too much in the gift shop). If you go back, make sure to visit!

Cathedral and Churches and Abbeys, oh my.

Something I’ve always loved along with the architecture design and use of space are the stain glass windows. It’s one of my favorite part of cathedrals and churches. This trip I’ve been lucky enough to pop into a handful of the religious buildings. It’s hard to pick a favorite from this trip, but it would have to be between Salisbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. I was able to pop into Saint Martin in the Fields, and I was fortunate enough to attend a prayer service and mass at Westminster Cathedral. All very different and unique churches designed with all different mediums too.


Windsor Castle

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Ashley, Desiree, Jason, Kelsey, and myself traveled to Windsor Castle for our free day. We made it in time to see the changing of the guards and were able to experience one of the most iconic British traditions. We were able to see the State Rooms and St. George’s chapel. The State Rooms were spectacularly grand, they almost looked uninhabitable, because they were so highly decorated. The inside of Windsor was just amazing; the details on the ceilings and the furniture were extraordinary. We spent some time seeing Mary’s dollhouse and a painting gallery, but the main highlight was the gorgeous State Rooms.

Free day

trim.0B201B02-763A-4C36-BE96-8EE352BA1B54imageAfter the last day, the only thing I want to say is that the free day is amazing! Andrew, Tian and I went to the Cambridge. In Cambridge, the town is the university and the university is the town. There are 8 colleges in total and some of them just look like gothic churches. I feel that there is fullfiiled with the culture and art. A lot of people just perform beside the street or sell their handmade art crafts. We found a really authentic Chinese restaurant for the lunch. But it’s kind of sad that we don’t have enough time to take boat and photograph in the river. And the most funny thing is we run to the train station in such a beautiful town and tried to catch the train, but we still watch the door closing in front of us. Moreover, on the way back, I found a really cute and delicious cupcake store!

March 14th

March 14th, we went to the Westminster abbey in the morning. For me it is kind if fun that on the coronation chair there are a lot of lettering stuff did by kids. Also we i was a little bit surprised that in the church, such a sacred and inviolable place, people can yell and even bring their horses in. What a mess! All of these make me start to know this is how a royal church looks like. Moreover, inside the church especially the vaulting and dome, compared to other churches, they are highly decorated.Then we take a boat trip in Thames and went to a architect studio. And I really impressed by those models there.

image image image image image imageOn the last day for London trip, me, Wenli, and Andrew went to cambridge!That is a perfect day!Andrew keep saying “we had a really good time!” Because we really did! We started at 8:30 this morning and took central line then transfer to piccadilly line at holborn then we transfer to take train at king’s cross station. It took us nearly 2hours to cambridge, but believe me it worth!We choose cambridge for our free day because there was a famous chinese poet,and his best known poem is about his love story in cambridge. That is the most romantic poem I have ever read! We find the river and bridge he wrote in that poem and took pictures. We enjoyed atmosphere in that small town. I saw people there prefer to ride bike than drive car, which is a really healthy life style. There were also some people playing instrument and singing on the road side,which makes me feel peaceful. In noon, we had some really great chinese food in cambridge! I’m glad that Andrew enjoyed those chinese food. After that because we need to finish the project for british museum, we run to catch the train. I got pictures for Wenli and Andrew while they were Me and Wenli had a lot of fun with andrew today. We share a lot of things about our culture and food with him. I was trying to speak in english for the whole day,after I back to hotel when I wrote postcard to my family I even want to write it in English. haha Anyway, all of us learn something new and enjoyed our time together!

Cambridge Visit

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?

Visiting Allies

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.


One of the things I just had to do this week was visit Harrod’s department store. This afternoon Kelsey and I stopped by, and the store did not disappoint at all! the prices are extreme; we saw bed frames for £13,000, and that was just the cheap model! The store is absolutely massive. Every department has a register and the employees even offer directions after each transaction! We didnt even get to see it all, which is a little sad. But I doubt anyone could ever see it all without spending a whole afternoon there. It’s unbelievable that there are people in the world who can afford to shop anywhere in that store outside of the tourist shop. I ended up getting the cuteat teddy bear there, probably the cheapest thing in the whole store at £15. image image

Tube adventures

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.

Free Day!!!

What a great day today has been.  I had a great time going to Windsor with Shelby, Desiree, Ashley, and Kelsey.  The fun part of the day was just getting there.  It felt like a great achievment figuring out the way by ourselves ( mostly Shelby).  Walking through Windsor Castle was really quite something.  All the room were beautifully decorated with gold and crafted with true craftsmanship.  We also got to experience the changing of the guard.  It was really cool how important the change is but my arms about feel off from filing for like forty minutes straight and I did not even see the guard change.  Still, I had a great time going to Winster.  The day could not have been better and I cannot believe that we are leaving tomorrow.image

Windsor Castle

This morning I went to Windsor Castle with Desiree, Jason, Shelby, and Kelsey. I loved it there! It was such a beautiful day to spend at a castle. We walked around the outside and then watched the changing of the guard. It was a longer process than I thought it would be, but still a cool experience. I liked the band that played. We then visited the Mary’s dollhouse and it was AMAZING! It was such a big dollhouse with so much detail. I was very impressed. After that we walked rough the rooms if the castle. We got to see some paintings, china, clothes, and other castle things. We finished up our trip by walking through the church. It had beautiful stain glass windows. I’m glad we decided to make the trip out to Windsor and I was proud of us for making it there and back with time to do more things on our free day!
Ashley Hofmaster trim.71682D4B-431F-45F3-90D5-F01412767416


imageimageGoing out today felt so odd. compared to the rest of the week, the sidewalks and tube stations were packed to the brim! I kept forgetting it was the weekend and so more people would be outside. If the city was this crazy on a daily basis, I doubt anyone  could stand it. this morning I went to the national history museum right after it opened at 10 am. When I walked outside later to go back to the tube, the line was even farther down the block than when I came! Even the tube stations have a different feeling during the weekend. I noticed that nearly every station I went through today had performers both inside and on the sidewalk above. The musicians gave the tunnels a really cool atmosphere. I could hear them long before I ever saw them.


I am now in Portobello market which is located in Notting hill. This market is fully packed with people, almost tourists. It is quite a big market than I expected. Nothing makes me more exited than local markets, and it is perfect weather today to go out. I didn’t even look at the map, now I am just walking around the place. But I found shops that I wanted to visit, including the Notting hill bookshop which is famous for its movie! Funny thing is, I am now at the place called Coffee Plant, which was mentioned in the book I looked over at the book shop. Oh I also bought some teas for my mom. This is incredible!


The beauty at Kew Gardens



Kew Garden was a beautiful picturesque garden with not a flower out of place. The Palm House being a highlight of the pond through the front door (the north axis) and out the back doors (the south axis) creates a linear axis that cuts thorough the landscape to create the continuous view.

The buildings that are placed throughout the park look as if they are completely randomly placed, though each one is set to create and experience a specific view.

The tree canopies were an interesting experience. The bridge way doesn’t show much of a view other than right into the trees. The project is a nice thought, but if you’re afraid of heights I wouldn’t recommend.

The Flowers were a beautiful sight to see. It is something we haven’t had in Ohio yet this year.

Westminster Abbey

London 24DSC05221

Westminster Abbey is simply inspiring. There is so much history which resides within this one building and yet it is still up to date with the modern world (for a thousand year old cathedral). I knew there were many important people buried at Westminster, but I never could have imagined just how many there actually were.  It is rather amazing that Isaac Newton, Shakespeare, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Mary I, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Darwin, George Frederick Handel (and on and on…) are all within the same walls. The Abbey is probably the most important burial place in the world. I was surprised that on the westworks were statues to modern-day martyrs. I had always thought of Westminster Abbey as an ancient church, but here are statues of 20th Century figures, including Martin Luther King Jr. I think it connects Westminster Abbey to the people of today; it is not just a church for the royal family and important ceremonies, but for everyone throughout the ages.




Under construction

When I went up to the top of St. Paul’s, I thought it might be better not to have construction facilities. It seemed to ruin the beautiful skyline of London. Today, however, I felt this could show us an impression on London that it is still developing itself in a positive way. They don’t see much construction in some of the major cities any more in the States. It is beautiful to see the skyline without construction facilities, but it also implies that they are not improving anymore. I wonder when they will finish the construction in London, but I expect the moment I will visit this city again.


Kew Gardens

We were blessed with ideal weather again today! The morning was clothed in the typical London fog, giving Kew Gardens a delicate look at first view. As the day went on, the sun came out and warmed the temperature up. We really had the best of both worlds when it came to weather!

Kew itself was full of amazing things to see. My group wanted to try and see as much as possible, so we ambitiously planned to take a walk around the whole garden. We actually made it without being incredibly late to tea! Some of my favorite spots were the magnolia grove, the Queen’s Yard, and the mushroom sculptures. Magnolias are my favorite flowers, and they were in full bloom. Their gorgeous pink petals were scattered delicately on the grass everywhere. All of these elegant trees huddled together along a sunny path were the epitome of springtime to me. The Queen’s Yard was stunning as well. I have always loved the look of a formalized, manicured garden alongside a traditional building. The bushes were trimmed to perfection. I could really appreciate the amount of time put into trimming the leaves around the area. The British’s attention to their gardens is one of many characteristics I absolutely love about them. Lastly, the mushroom sculptures crafted from wood we another favorite. They were made on a giant scale, skewing proportion and making it seem as if we were traveling through one ginormous garden. Overall, it was beautiful to be able to see how each section of the garden was placed strategically to create a wonderful sense of flow for the visitors.

Only two days left in London! I hope I can really make the most of the rest of this fantastic trip. Cheers!



Today was the last day as a group in London, which also means we have to go back to normal in few days. (That is quite scary) Time flies so fast, and I cannot believe we are leaving here very soon. I am absolutely sure that it would be one of remarkable trips in my life. While looking back my sketches, I thought we have learned, felt, and enjoyed the city a lot. Then I was glad that I have chance to learn how to sketch more professionally. It is really a great technique to catch a moment or a scene.

Today, heading back to the hotel from A&M near Tate modern, I saw a fabulous sketch right in front of St. Paul’s; and I wish I could ever sketch just like this.

Arch studio

imageimageimageToday we visited the AAM architecture studio.I really like the design of this studio. my faveriout part is that there is a open space which people can see others doing at the first floor from the second floor. For the floor garden,I think that is great!I can even imagine how enjoyable that will be when they sitting at floor garden chat with each other in free time. I like the way they work. They work as a team,and they separate studio by project not by duties. In this way I think eneryone can learn more things in every aspects not only in their own part. I really hope I can work in a place like this one day, having wonderful working environment in the middle of London!



I want to remark how nice tea at the national gallery was. Afternoon tea is such an iconic British cultural norm and something that, even if you were to come to London several times, as a tourist you are probably unlikely to take part in. Despite a few mix ups (few people making it on time, a misunderstanding with staff, etc.), it was definitely a lovely time sitting down as a group and taking time to slow things down for a bit. With such a hectic schedule all week, this was a much needed break. I know it helped introduce me to a few new flavors of tea and was just genuinely fun.

Tight schedule!

Wow, today was an extremely tight day.  There was not much time to do to much today.  Our tour at Westminster Abbey started off with a ten minute sketch but felt more like three.  After the tour we had to do another sketch and go find something to eat.  Without missing the boat ride.  Greenwich was just the same.  The places we visited all had a max time of ten minutes.  Then we had to hurry to the firm my group went to which was SOM.  After which we hurried to our pub to get supper.  The night finished with Shelby and I running to Adidas to buy some soccer items and rushing back so he did not miss the this to Bedzed.  What a day !


4880Sketches008 London Spring Break 2014 (256) StourheadimageStourhead was not what I expected. It seemed like everything was so far apart, that the follies were miles away! I likes that it feels so huge, like you can get lost at every turn, yet it is just a circlular path that is pretty easy to follow. I loved seeing the grottos and the cottage. I really wish the pantheon folly was open. that was the part I was looking forward to most about Stour head, and the pictures of the landscape just don’t read the same with a giant construction wall in the background. It was a cool place. It seemed so natural, it is so hard to believe it was all planned! It’s incredible what landscapers can do.

Seeing the Thames

imageI loved taking the river boat down the Thames to Greenwhich today. I never associate the Thames with anything past the London Eye or Big Ben, so I was really cool to see all of the buildings along the riverbank. The ‘tourguide’ was great as well. I loved his sense of humor; it seemed very British, very subtle and almost sarcastic. I think it would have been interesting to have him show us around the whole city. And the stories about Jack the Ripper and the pirates were so interesting! I wish we had a chance to go to more of the dark historical parts of London. It’s morbid, but Makes the city so interesting and dynamic.



My sketch from Kew Gardens



My sketch from Stourhead

I have enjoyed visiting the couple gardens within London! I have always enjoyed a walk in the park no matter where I am at, but it is interesting to see how it is here. The city is so big, so it is kind of surprising that within many skyscrapers and chunky buildings there are green spaces. I have been learning in my city planning classes that the built and natural environment help a city be well-rounded I enjoyed walking through Kew Gardens because there were so many plants, trees, and wildlife to see. It made me excited for spring back home when we saw all the colorful plants. I also have noticed it was very peaceful at Kew Gardens and Stourhead. It was nice to be able to sit down a sketch what was going on around me. As busy as this trip has been, it is still nice to appreciate the peaceful times of sketching and appreciating nature.
Ashley Hofmaster

The Shard

The shard was unbelievable! Well worth the money. John, Jason, and I had a great time at the top of the tallest building in Europe. The view was absolutely incredible from up there. Downtown looked awesome, Tower Bridge looked fantastic, and St. Paul looked so small from up there. We were veiwing the city from the seventy second floor. It was really neat seeing the view from the London Eye earlier and then seeing from the top of The Shard. The two views were both amazing, but it was really neat getting to see the London from a birds eye view all lit up at night!132


imageNuff said.
Ughhh, I wish I could just say this for the blog because it would be really funny. Everyone was so tired on the bus ride back from Salisbury. Being exhausted seems to be the theme of this trip. Everyone’s doing things at night and we must get up early to see as much as we can, which is really the most important reason why we are in London. I wish we could sleep in but in the mean time I don’t want to miss ANYTHING that we went to. This trip has been fantastic and here I want to thank Aimee and Troy for planning this trip out and giving us such a great experience. Also I want to thank Amy for helping :).

Perfect Timing

DSC_0091This trip could not have been planned any better. Since day 1, the trip has had the best of luck, and the best in coordination, to have done what we have accomplished. From what could not be controlled, we are beyond fortunate and thankful that we started with a sunshining, warm day. Ohio gave us a nightmare of winter storms that nature was kind enough to treat us with a beautiful day. The following two days have been colder and with less snow, but they were also more of indoor days. Wednesday was one of my favorites with a fog back dropping Stonehenge, followed by a sun that broke through the clouds at Stourhead and a sunset warming up the enormous Salisbury cathedral. As for what was completed thanks to the extremely talented Mrs Moore, there could not have been a better time to have seen the changing of the guards, sounding of the bells in churches, or a beautiful sunset on the eye. I am very pleased with the perfect timing we’ve been encountering.

New vs. Old

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.

the Eye in the Eyes

Yesterday was a wonderful and relaxing day. In the morning we had a walking tour in the Kew garden. At first there was heavy frog, but later it turns sunny and warm. I took a lot pictures of those beautiful flowers. For the lunch, we had fish and chips. This is the first time I tried that, although it is the same as I thought and not that good to me. In the after noon, we had the English afternoon tea at the National cafe.And the last destination we went is the London Eye. We got a great view of the whole city on it and saw the beautiful sunset. All in all, it’s a great day. DSC_1842





Beautiful Love






IMG_9195On march 12th, we went to the Stonehenge, the Stourhead and the Salisbury Cathedral. They all impressed me a lot in different ways. At Stonehenge, Tian and I took some funny pictures. Although my hair flied in a horrible way. In the Stourhead, I was not only impressed by the beautiful scenery but also some really sweet moments of some old couples. Love might will ultimately go to plain, however, then it will become something in your everyday life, become the flowers you‘ve ever smelled, the benches you’ve ever sat, the leaves you’ve ever seen, and the paths you’ve ever walked with your holding hands.

London eye

image image imageToday we went to London eye during sunset after the group tea, which I have expected for a long time. We had a really good time on it. Everyone was taking pictures with others and with Big Ben. Big Ben was the supper star. We also saw many other architectures we have been seeing these days. London eye is definitely a great spot to see the full view of London. I feel so grateful to be in this team. We are all getting along really well, and had a fantastic time with each other during the trip. I send many pictures to my family in China, and they are happy for me that I am having such a wonderful and well organized trip in London.

The eye!!


Being able to experience the view from the eye tonight was absolutely amazing!  I have been looking forward to the eye because it is such an iconic landmark for London. I loved how as I looked over London, I was able to recognize the places we have visited over the course of our trip and there were still some yet to come! I think experiencing the eye has allowed me to take a larger look at the city itself and made me appreciate being able to visit such a wonderful place! I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings with visiting Westminster and Greenwich!

Shop til you drop!


One of the greatest cultural experiences I have encountered along the span of this trip is through shopping!  I consider myself to be a shopaholic and I am not ashamed to admit that I was excited for the shopping this trip provided.  While we have been here I was interested to see the local shop like primark, but also see the differences in the shops we have in America.  Forever 21 was sooo expensive compared to the prices we find in America and the Disney shop in London is absolutely massive compared to our small shop at Polaris. Overall it’s been a very interesting and different perspective to experience the shops here in London!

American Invasion


After spending some time in Kew Gardens, Kelsey and I decided to visit Trafalgar Square again before we met the group for tea. It was so fun to see the street performers again, and we realized that many of them come back day after day. This guy was there playing guitar before when we went on Sunday. I remember he was always playing popular American songs, like ‘Let Her Go’ which is one of my absolute favorite songs. I was really excited to see him play Hey Soul Sister this afternoon. Its so weird to walk around London and hear all of these songs that are big back home. It seems like everywhere I go I hear Onerepublic or Kelly Clarkson. It’s like the American music scene is following us!



imageWhen I was a little kid I always see pictures about Stonehenge in some scientific books. Now at the age of 20 I finally standing in front of it, it’s hard to tell the feeling. It’s like you have a dream long time ago and one day it finally comes true! Though it was smaller than I thought it should be, still amazing. It feels great for architecture students when we see the actual objects that we learned in class before. Seeing it and sketch it is absolutely the best way to learn. The whole world become much more beautiful and impressive when I see it from an architecture student’s view.

The Views

Today was full of wonderful views.  Kew  Gardens was our first stop on our journey today and it could not have been better.  To bad that we could not explore the 326 acres. After Kew it was time for lunch and what a struggle that was to get there, but we managed to find the right path and enjoyed a wonderful meal.  The London Eye was pretty special too.  It gave a great view of the sun setting over the city.  However, I think the greatest part of the night was my trip to The Shard with John and Todd.  From the top one could see the entire city of London.  That was well worth the £29.95 in my opinion.image

My thoughts on the food here

I’ve enjoyed eating the food here! I like how there are lots of bakeries and sandwich shops. I’ve been trying to try new foods along the way and try foods that fit into the culture. I still have not had fish and chips, but will be getting them very soon. I have documented all the food I have been eating along the way because I feel like the food can tell a lot about a journey. I like that I have gotten try different juices. One of my favorite meals was probably at Leadenhall Market. I went to Paul’s with some friends and I got a sandwich and a vanilla macron! The sandwich had turkey, cheese, cream cheese with some fancy (yet hard) bread. The macron was delicious and definitely hit the spot on the chilly day.mimalso enjoyed all the food I got at our first market! I was a little nervous to try the food here because I heard it was not very good from a couple people before we departed, but I have been pleasantly surprised.
Ashley Hofmaster

Stonehenge, Stourhead, Salisbury

I enjoyed visiting Stonehenge, Stourhead, and Salisbury today! I thought it was a good thing to do in the middle of the week because it gave us a chance to rest on the bus and venture outside the busy city of London. I expected Stonehenge to be bigger than it actually was, but I am still glad that we got to visit it. I had been wanted to go there since I was a little kid. I remember a television show about it when I was younger and it always stood out to me. It’s also cool to look back to when I applied to this trip because Stonehenge was a place I wanted to go when I wrote my personal statement many months ago. I Liked visiting Stourhead too. It’s nice to walk around nature (even though it was man-made nature). I liked see gall the flowers ands how the spaces interacted with each other. I wish we would’ve got to explore Salisbury more because the town seemed interesting. I like old, cute little towns like Salisbury, and I hope to help plan for one some day. I thought the Cathedral was beautiful and I liked visiting the top to look over the town. Overall, it was a great day filled with “S” towns!
Ashley Hofmaster

Pub culture, not the same as bar culture

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.


A day out in the country

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!

trim.E125E59E-811F-4D4B-AD4C-B2A890959395 imageOn March 11th, we went to see the shard, the city hall and some other modern architecture in London. I feel the totally different beauty compared to the architecture we experienced the other two days. After that, Andrew, Ellen, John, Tian and I went to the design museum. I feel sorry that the third floor was closed for some reason, but we still had a good time there. From design of camera to the design of clothes, there are a lot of different things about design. On the way to the museum we passed some interesting buildings which have some great moment. In the night, because I went to the art shop at Leicester Square for a new sketchbook, Tian and I found a really good restaurant in China Town by accident. And the dessert there is amazing!

The Tourists Become the Exhibit

The other day we had a brief amount of time at the British Museum and in that time two sketches needed to be completed. For my first one I sat off by myself in the front of the courtyard next to the gate. I couldn’t help but people watch the groups of tourists around me with all of their camera pose and selfies and thought how odd it looked. But then I had a reality check of what I probably look like at each new location I go to with the group. And at least those tourists were quite I’m the complete opposite. For the second sketch inside the museum Shelby and I became the exhibit for a group of tourists While they completely dis regarded their tour guide and watched every pencil stroke as they crowded around us.




I was kind of exhausted with this trip as time goes by. The schedule that I have to get through was tight, and there were so many things to take attention to.
Taking photos and sketches are interesting but also sometimes I wondered if I was taking photos since it is mendetory for any tourists. My eyes seemed to be overwhelmed so every single detail was undervalued after some point.
I couldn’t have enough time for myself. I was getting tired and I needed time to recharge. Then, Stourhead, it was much more than just a garden or backyard of someone’s mansion. It was beautiful and touching as well. I actually can’t think of more proper adjective in English to describe my feeling but I can say I was really moved for some reason. I could spend a whole day, and it would be “lovely” in a british way to say awesome. It was the best part of this trip so far.

Masters of the Tube


Today after returning from our trip to the country, a few of us went to King’s Cross to see Platform 9 3/4. Afterwards, we split up and went to eat dinner. On our way back to the hotel, a woman stopped us in the King’s Cross tube station and asked us how to get to Marylebone Station. So we got out a map and found the station and then helped her find which stops she needed and where to transfer. It happened that we were getting on the same train, so we showed her part of the way there. One is an accomplished tourist when they can be knowledgeable enough about their place of visit to give directions. Congratulations guys, that’s us.

A Unique Masterpiece

I am not sure If I am a fan or a critic of the view of downtown London. It truly is an unique collage of buildings. In America I am used to seeing a different view. I am used to skylines filled with all kinds of tall curtain wall and concrete structures. The big difference here in England is how the old buildings and new buildings clash in age and architectural style. The old structures are beautiful and the new skyscrapers are neat, but to me they seem to clash due to having nothing in common. Some of the other students have told me they enjoy the view, but to me it just is an unusual sight.


A day outside the city


Today we are heading out of the city. Although many of us our exhausted from the past few days of intense sight seeing, we are still very excited to see Stonehenge, Stourhead, and Salisbury. Stonehenge is such a legendary area, and I am very excited to see the ancient ruins. Stourhead looks beautiful in pictures, so I am sure it will look fantastic in early spring. I am really looking forward to seeing the Salisbury Cathedral. After seeing St Paul’s Cathedral on Monday I am really excited to see another magnificence religious structure



Stonehenge was really neat. The morning fog was rising and it created a really incredible atmosphere to view the ancient rocks. We had a lot of fun trying to take creative pictures!

Stourhead was magnificent! The views were incredible. The built landscape truly creates a warm feeling inside. I could have staid there all day staring at the beautiful scenery.

Salisbury was pretty amazing. We had a very old and funny tour guy. He shared many interesting stories and facts with our group. It was a little frightening climbing up the series of old wood and stone steps. A bit of a workout too! The historical town surrounding the cathedral was pleasant on the eyes too.


On Tuesday night Kelsey and I went to see wicked. I’ve seen it before in 2image image010 in the very same theater! We had a pretty interesting time trying to get over there. Buses are not our friend; we ran back and forth across Bayswater Road, just trying to get on the right bus. We somehow figured it out and got the to show just in time. We ended up in our seats at 7:29, a minute before curtain. The show was just as amazing as I remember. Our Fiyero was fantastic as well too. I love that I had a chance to see my favorite musical again.

Tower of London!!!!!!!

imageYesterday I was able to visit the place I had been looking most forward to since the trip began: the Tower of London.  When the class first started and we learned about the Tower of London I was so intrigued by the history of the tower. Sine that times have been researching further to try and fully understand the intricacies of the tower and hoe it came to have the gruesome reputation. One of my favorite architectural styles is from the Tudor era and it was nice to visit the Tower of London and see some classic Tudor style houses in person!




Thank you, Todd, for arranging this picture. I know it’s a few days old, but I think it exemplifies the dynamic of the group. I was worried coming on this trip that people would be really clicky, or at the very least there would be one or two people who just ended up by themselves every night. Being a bit shy, this is always one of my personal fears when going on a trip with people I don’t know (though I do realize the oddness of my remarking on this when that wasn’t a worry for me since I came with one of my best friends). This has not been the case at all. People take day trips with people they didn’t hang out with earlier that day and I feel confident that, no matter who I end up in a group with at any given place, nobody will be left out of the conversation. I think it’s a great group, and I am so happy to have spent my first time abroad with you guys. Thank you!

I’ve Reached the Heights – Salisbury Cathedral

Today was a great day to travel outside of the city of London. It started out a bit chilly and foggy, but by the time we all arrived to Salisbury Cathedral the sky had mostly cleared and was comfortable weather. The gothic cathedral can be seen from the outside of the small city of Salisbury. It is located inside of the walls and the close and also beside the flood plain.  We took a tour and ventured to the top of the spire and was able to view how the vaulting, the support beams, now the spire was constructed and a gorgeous view out into the city and the rolling hills beyond the city limits. Once we climbed all the way back down, we looked around the ground floor if the cathedral. One of many features that I love about it is the beautiful, ornate stain glass windows.


New Foods

Tonight, I went to a Thai restaurant for the first time and with Wagamama that makes  two times I have tried foreign cuisines on this trip. I had chicken both times once with noodles and once with rice. I really enjoyed the Thai food and I am now glad to say I can I can use “kiddie” chopsticks. It has made me excited to try new foods even though I may not like it every time.  I am really excited to try traditional British cuisine while we are here. despite not liking seafood, I would like to try fish and chips.

Afternoon in the Museum.

Yesterday, we were to travel to a museum of our choice during our free time in the afternoon. Rachael and I decided to go to the Natural History Museum.  We took the circle line in the tube to South Kensington stop and walked a couple blocks to the museum. While walking we caught a glimpse of what looked like giant cathedral. The ornate museum was built in a Victorian style architecture and was built in 1881 By the architect Hans Sloane.




Along with the architecture that I found interesting, I enjoyed the dinosaur portion to the museum. The museum is portioned off into different wings because the museum is very linear and high ceilings for large exhibits. It was a nice surprise on both parts, the architecture and the museum content.


I find the language to be different here than in other parts of Europe that I have been to and this is why. When in Germany, Italy, France, ect, it is expected that people will speak German, French, or Italian, with the hope that someone will speak English. And when they do you pick up on accents and words they say and common questions they ask at stores when you are checking out, and ect. But it is almost a different language in England, even though it’s not. There are different words British people use like ‘chips’ instead of ‘fries’ but their accents make it sometimes hard to understand. Or we kind of expect or anticipate a ‘you’re welcome’ after we say thank you, but instead I have only heard a bunch of ‘thank you’s’ instead. I find this interesting and Reuben brought up a good point when he said that he notices they say ‘thank you’ if they know you’re American and ‘cheers’ if they haven’t heard you speak. It is a phenomenon I have noticed as well. On that note, I have always wanted to know what an American accent sounds like to say a British person, and that whole dynamic of hearing yourself through someone else’s ears comes into play and what do you really sound like, and are you speaking clearly. But yes, sometimes their accents are so thick that it is hard to understand right away what they are saying.


imageSo in my London guidebook, I flagged a page about nightlife and pubs and bars, and I wanted to check out some of the scenes. One of the ‘hidden’ gems of nightlife that I would not have thought to look at was Leicester square. Not hidden in a sense that no one knows about it and it’s in some back alley but hidden meaning it’s not in books as a place to hang out. While it had shops and restaurants and maybe some pubs, the square itself is lit up like New York or Las Vegas but better. The lights on m&m world change between blues,purples, and greens, reds and oranges, and the colorful interior, which can be seen from the outside contains a life size model of a London bus, and other m&m plastered objects. Next to it is a store, also a few stories tall, which blasted music from today’s R&B and hip hop, that sold London attire and souvenirs. The fountain we saw was closed off and dark but it made all the other shops and stores and pubs that much more bright. There was also a stall where people were buying tickets to a performances to a theater, play, or some type of musical. I really appreciated that aspect of the space. It almost made it feel smaller and ‘old school’, and not so city-like.

The Lion King

This was my first time seeing a Broadway/West End show, and I am very glad to have chosen this one. The Lion King was by far my favourite show as a child (which probably applies to a few of us), so it was really exciting to see the movie I grew up with on the live stage. There were obviously changes from the movie, but there were a couple of moments when I could pick out things I believe were changed specifically for the UK show. Instead of doing the “luau” near the end of the show, Timon does the “riverdance”. Obviously the actors (for the most part) had English accents, so we got to hear it pronounced “zeh-bra” instead of “zee-bra”. A very fun evening.


Our first day waking up in London could not have started off better. The breakfast was excellent. The bacon here is unbelievable.


As you can see from this picture the bacon is not like the thin crunchy stuff we are used to in the United States. This bacon is thick. It is almost like eating ham, but a lot more unhealthy. It is delicious and I am looking forward to eating more, as the trip continues.

Another difference I noticed shortly after we arrived in England is restrooms. They are not restrooms here. They are toilets. Do not ask “Where is the restroom?” The Brits just look at you funny and think you are looking for a place to rest! Instead I have learned you need to ask for the toilets. I also noticed the toilets flush differently here. Instead of the water spiraling down the bottom, the water just pours in from the back. It was a little freaky the first time!

Post from yesterday for St. Paul’s

imageThis trip is even more incredible than I thought it could be. In the past two days we have been to soooo many places, and when I post photos online my friend was like “oh god you are having a busy trip! Went to this many places within 2 days that is amazing!” I have to agree with this comment! I have been too tired everyday so that I go to bed at 9:00pm. I feel tired outside but really enrich from inside. We are absorbing a huge amount of knowledge about architecture, art, history, culture, even about food everyday! My favorite part in the past 2 days is St Paul’s. It have huge inside open space and much much details decorated on every spot. I cannot imagine how did they make those fabulous decorative patterns on stone and put them together in that height. When I stand inside St Paul’s, I was thinking this is such a pure and impeccable place people should always visit from generation to generation and remember it forever. I had really good time on the top of St Paul’s seeing nearly all architectures in London. There is no doubt that
St Paul’s is always the icon for London.


Yesterday we mainly went to and sketched the St. Paul’s and the British Museum. For me, this is a really amazing day, although it was really cold and when I came back I was too tired to post anything. St. Paul’s is the second most important cathedral in the world and we I climb to the top I was so impressed. You will not want to climb this staircase for twice, but you will definitely want to see the scenery for thousands of times. The whole London is just in front of your eyes. Inside the St. Paul’s, I felt strong inner peace and I light a candle there with a wish in my mind. Hope I could come here one day with my families.

My New Hat IMG_8993 IMG_9001 IMG_9005

British Museum




Today we went to the British Museum. I was interested in the juxtaposition of my viewpoint of the artifacts to the viewpoint of others in our group. As architecture majors, you are all trained to look at the design and form and such (I’m getting better at my architecture terms, but I have a long way to go, forgive me). I tend to look at them more in the historical perspective. I think about the classics courses I’ve taken when looking at the Elgin marbles, about the stories of Athens and of the Parthenon. I imagine many others studying the textures and materials and methods, etc. Correct me if I’m wrong, but many of you guys are more drawn to the”interesting” objects than to the historically significant objects (though, in the context of the British Museum, this is all relative as everything is historically significant). It was an amazing trip, but I imagine I got very different things out of it.

Temple Bar

This chilly morning we headed out to the catch the tube. I had the pleasure of leading the group down Bayswater Road to the tube station. We took the red line east to St Paul’s Cathedral. We entered Paternoster Square to see Sir Christopher Wren’s Temple Bar. The beautiful arch stood as the gateway to London for over 200 years. The Temple Bar has been rebuilt two times which shows it’s resilience to remain a part of London’s deep history. Statues of King Charles and his son adorn the arch along with King James and his wife Ann. The monument is perfectly placed next to Wren’s famous St. Paul’s Cathedral.

St. Paul’s Surprise

I have to say I was throughly surprised when I arrived at St. Paul’s. I had no idea how ginormous and glorious the building would be as well as how impressed I was when I stepped through into the cathedral. Going to the top of the dome was also a breath taking experience. The view from the top of the dome was incredible. I felt like I could see all of London. Overall my experience at St. Paul’s was amazing I will never forget the complete feeling of awe that was instilled in me as I started to take in my surroundings. I hope one day I will be able to visit again!



What a 2 days it has been!

Today has been our second day in London and so far in these past two days I have seen a lot.  The best by far had to be the visit to Saint Paul’s Cathedral.  The cathedral was just beautiful.  It really stinks that pictures were not allowed because words could not describe it.  Also, the view of the city from the very top made for some excellent pictures of the city.  The second best thing has to be going to the British Museum.  The museum was full of architecture and artifacts from pretty much everywhere.  I had a blast going around and having the chance to see all of it.  So far these past two days have been great.  I cannot wait to see what the other days have to offer us.Pano of the city(50%)

going underground

The underground is insane. Riding during morning rush hour today really showed me how much this system goes through on a daily basis. I can’t imagine using the train every morning and night to and from work, cramming into those train cars like sardines. One guy got in next to a few of us, and it looked like he barely fit in the car. We asked if he needed space, and he barely reacted, insisting he was fine. I was amazed when the doors rushed shut right above his head. Knowing exactly how to stand on such a crowded train must have taken him tons of trips to master, and I’m still impressed. I doubt we will get anywhere near that proficient at the tube during this trip, but it’s not too bad anymore! It’s pretty easy to get around once you know the general idea.image

imageI just found out that I post at the wrong place.

Finally arrived

imageAfter more than 10hours flight we are finally arrived! Cannot believe that now I’m sitting in the hotel room in London! I was really nervous about this trip when I was packing at home. I wrote down a list about things I need to bring, and I put all the things on my desk check one by one follow the list for three times. Hope I get all the things I need!
That was a long trip, and I really sleep for the whole time except wake up twice just for the meal. One interesting thing about this trip is that the first stop in Washington is actually my first time in DC.
I believe everyone is tired now, and hope we all have a good night.

Just can’t get enough of it

Nothing makes architecture students more happy than being present at the buildings that they learn from history class. Yep, we are at Dulles international airport. As we got off the plane Lauren ran right to the window. I knew exactly what she’s Dulles doing. We are at Dulles international airport! Designed by Eero Saarinen, completed in 1962, curved roof, with a steel frame structure and filled with reinforced concrete. I know all these things off my head, what’s more exciting than this? We then asked for “approval” (sad face) to search for the building! Luckily we are architects and we can read plans well. We then got on a “raised up train with giant wheels which looks like a tank.” The driver told us that he’s going to make a turn and we had to catch the building fast when we are on the train. And we got this. 😛

London Here we come!

We are about to board our flight to Heathrow and everyone is excitedly planning there upcoming week!  Some students are buying tickets to shows like the Lion King, Wicked, and Les Miserable!  Harry Potter is also attracting a lot of interest hopefully someone can find tickets. There are so many things to consider and to do!

Instead of springing forward one hour tonight we will be springing 5 hours ahead! Lucky for us London changes time March 30th so we will only be 4 hours behind when we return. Our flight is boarding!


Washington, Dulles

The first flight from Columbus to Washington went as planned. For being my first time flying, it was a great flight. We were able to witness the sun coming up during the ascent — a pretty incredible sight to see. The next flight is scheduled to leave in a couple of hours, so for now, we get to sit and wait. This airport has some interesting architecture to view while we wait, specifically the famous terminal by Eero Saarinen, which helps to kill some of the time between flights. If all else fails, the large volumes of traffic provide for prime people watching.


I am exited to actually getting on the plane so soon! It’s already happening. This trip is so prepared, with full of information that will help me while traveling London. I am excited to see English modern buildings, street and squares such as Piccadily circus or Regent street. Also, I’m looking forward to visiting local markets! I will visit as many as of them, and try their food. I will meet my old friend in my free time, I am so glad to have a chance to see him since it has been four years. So it’s all about excitement at this moment!!!!


On the way to Washington DC!

Leaving, on a jet plane

We’re sitting here as a group in the terminal waiting to board our plane. It’s been a fun filled evening of no sleep and preparing for the trip. The morning is still young, it’s not quite bright yet but a handful of us have our coffee/tea in hand ready for a full day of travel. There’s a lot of buzz among everyone about their free day and what to do in the evenings. So many things to think of  for our journey ahead but plenty of time to make a spur of the moment decision as well.  I personally cant wait to know everyone better to have a really great trip! 🙂

Okay, it’s about time now to board our first flight.  So I should probably stop typing. See ya real soon, London!

Getting ready to leave the Buckeye State!!!!


Everyone is really tired and really excited as we wait for our plane ride from the Capitol of Ohio to the Capitol of The United States, where we will get on board the plane that will take us across the Atlantic to the Capitol of England! Everyone is talking about the places they want to see while we are abroad. Some people are talking about how they are nervous about flying for their first time. Others students are excited about the Starbucks coffee! They just started to make announcements over the loud speaker. It will not be long till our anticipations for our trip will become reality! See you Ohio . . . Next stop D.C.

The Big Jump Across the Pond

After months of waiting…bags are packed and checked, tickets handed out and security cleared….and finally the big hop, skip and jump across the big pond to London. As nerve wracking as the trip will be because of culture shock I’m excited to share the new experiences with all of you. In sharing in those memories we all have to share pictures! Mostly because my camera isn’t the best but I tried to add everyone on Facebook and Instagram but if I didn’t be sure to add me @dangelotta and make sure to #LondonArch2014….looks like the plane is coming see you on the other side of the OSU invasion!!image

At the Airport

Only for London would I ever willingly be awake this early.  This was the first time I have ever walked across campus and not seen a single soul along the way.  I am still not sure this is actually happening or if this is just a really vivid dream. I have never flown before, so I am pretty excited/nervous for the flight.  From the time I started writing this, we have been making plans, and it is very exciting. There are things I want to do now that I hadn’t thought about until now. I’m very excited and can’t wait until we’re there.

Per departure Post

Waiting in Columbus airport until our 6am flight. No one is really tired, surprisingly. Anxiety kicks in as everyone shares stories of past flights or worries of these. Going to the gate was quick and painless. Getting up in the morning, however, was a struggle. A cup of Joe helped get the day started but, as always, I have that lingering feeling that something is missing... I guess I will find out once I get to London. Thankfully, everyone is here and jittery, and ready for an all day flight. Let the OSU invasion begin. Get ready for two dozen buckeyes, London!

Waiting in Columbus airport until our 6am flight. No one is really tired, surprisingly. Anxiety kicks in as everyone shares stories of past flights or worries of these. Going to the gate was quick and painless. Getting up in the morning, however, was a struggle. A cup of Joe helped get the day started but, as always, I have that lingering feeling that something is missing… I guess I will find out once I get to London. Thankfully, everyone is here and jittery, and ready for an all day flight. Let the OSU invasion begin. Get ready for two dozen buckeyes, London!


The weeks just seemed to fly by. Going from weeks to days and now the bus ride there. Since this is going to be my first time leaving the United States ever, so many questions are coming to mind. Some like, “Do I have everything?”, is the biggest one that comes to my mind. Yet, I feel so ready for this, I do not think nothing can bring me down.
The hardest part for this trip for me will definitely be the plane ride. However, as soon as we land in London, everything we be so much better.
I cannot wait to go around The City and see all the buildings. Also, I plan to go see Lion King live. I really want to see and embrace this new culture.

PreDeparture Post

As we prepare to depart take a moment and add your first post below.  Some possible ideas to blog about could include the following… What are you most excited to see? What reservations you may have?  What you plan to do on your free day?  What you want to gain from the trip?  Is there a food/cultural experience you’re excited to try? Or any other topic you’d like to explore.  Remember, you may also add to other’s posts to start a dialog.

In addition to contributing to the site, use this first post as a means to navigate through the blog and learn how to use it.

Welcome to London!


Welcome to the London Architecture Study Abroad site!  We will utilize this site to blog about the trip, share our experiences, and reflect about London’s architecture, culture, and people.  You are encouraged to explore all possible mediums including text, photos, videos, sketches and other devices that capture your time while abroad.  Enjoy and explore!