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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😀
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.
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!
Tower Bridge and City Hall
London Eye and Parliament
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.
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.
trim.E125E59E-811F-4D4B-AD4C-B2A890959395 On 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!
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.