October 19, 2008

July 4, 2008

Day 2 at the LFA.

Along the Thames

With some time to spare before the first event on my list for the day, I spent the morning at Westminster. I marvelled at the architecture of the House of Parliament and Big Ben and then walked down to the abbey. I first went into a small little church next to Westmister abbey and although photography was not allowed, I managed to get a couple of pictures of the interiors with the camera on my lap!

Then I walked around the Abbey. It was sooo amazing. Textbook and internet pictures do no justice to its beauty.

Westminster Abbey

1. Western facade
2.Rose Window of north facade
3.Flying buttress
4.Radiating chapels
5.Northern facade of trancept entrance
6.,7.Details of portals on north facade

I stared long and hard to make sure they taught us the right stuff. Didnt want to pay £12 pounds to go inside the cathedral.

Lunch was in the middle of Bloomsbury ParkI then went for a building tour of Keppel Street Building at the London School of Hygine and Tropical MedicineIt was an interesting tour combining the old building and some of the new additions. 

Noho Square
One of the highlights of the events I attended at the LFA was the open studio at Make Architects. It was a pretty large firm. I could tell when I first read the address- 55-65 Whitfield Street.
I learnt so much and the architects there were so friendly. We were able to walk through their gallery of all their projects. There were architects there explaining the project and answering all your questions. It was such a warm atmosphere made even warmer with the array drinks and munchies.
Of all the projects, I was particularly fascinated by a design submitted for a competition, which they unfortunately didn't win. It was of a retail and residential building at Waterloo. The scale was enormous approx. 200m in length and height. The middle block for retail and the sides for residential with gardens on the outer edge. The building had a lot of interesting features including the wind energy generators and the unequal arches to balance the support.

As a continuation of their open studio, we were taken on a site visit of the Noho Square Project, which was initially a hospital but now converted into a hi-tech 3 building square, combining retail and residential. Some of the interesting points were; preserving a small chapel situated in the centre of the square, building around a protected building at one of the corners, dividing the square into 3 buildings based on the flow of people/traffic from 3 main roads, making one of the surrounding streets a school zone, and maintaining the mansard roof trend of London buildings.

I loved this street. It was lined with cafes and little eateries, all of which opened out onto the pavement.
Next I rushed a few streets down to Oxford Street for another open studio of Woods Bagot Architects. They had a guest list and I found my name near the top. Made me feel like a VIP. :) I could tell from the second I entered their studio, that this was a very top end firm.
This place had similar things going on, projects on display, free food and drinks. But the atmosphere was more like an office party and they weren't as friendly and eager to explain projects. BUT, I found a shelf full of complimentary publications and I helped myself to a arms full of books. That definitely made up for the cold atmosphere!


Last stop for the day was a building tour of the Goodenough College. It was the end of the day, my feet were killing me, I had trouble finding the college. I mean, the name itself should have put me off. Well, the tour was hardly a building tour, more like a college tour. One interesting thing though- in the main conference hall, one really antique room, the designers individual stamp was a small carved wooden rat on the table legs. Everything else went way over my head. The student, our guide, was doing her best to interest us in her college, but I honestly didn't want to see the dining area, student rec room, barbecque area, music room etc, etc. There was a talk afterwards and hoping it would be interesting I went, but most annoyingly it was yet another bore. She talked about the history of architectural festivals (I think). She read her whole speech! In the middle of it all, someone's phone rang. I was thinking, 'Who is this rude person who didn't put their phone on silent and is taking so long to switch it off?!', only to suddenly realised it was my phone. Actually my Grandma's that I was borrowing, never having heard the ring tone! And then the presenter said she apologises if it was a bit boring as it was her first time doing a presentation, and then you couldn't help bet feel sorry for her.

I was so happy to be on the train back to Watford. On the way I was staring at this really cool stadium, when it suddenly dawned on me, that it was Wembley and it was too late to get a decent picture.

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