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.



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!


Cherry treeimageRhododendron

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.

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!

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.


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.





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

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.

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!



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.



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

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.

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.


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.

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

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!



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.

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.