15 May 2006

Weekend in London

Just back from a quick trip to London. It’s great to have old friends here – it’s sort of like going home. (Above photos with KRVIA people in London)

So as soon as I met Neha we tried going to AA bookshop to pick up some books but the store was closed so we sneaked in a few minutes at the British Museum. Actually we had only time to appreciate Fosters amazing roof for the Great Hall.

After that I decided to go check out some new stuff in the city, and high on my list since a while was to see the whole Eastern Docklands development and all the new stations in the area (especially in light of the studio I am currently doing at the Berlage).

Below is the main station at Canary Wharf yet again designed by Norman Foster (in sort of his usual aesthetic). The station is mainly about the main entrance hall the picture on the right but I have to say that the materials and the light quality is very nice, unlike most Dutch architects Foster’s architecture doesn’t question what one already knows it merely gives it a clean corporate look, and as far as he doesn’t claim that it does more I guess I like it – Brutally efficient and pleasing.

Over the past twenty years the London Docklands (as this area is popularly known as) with Canary Wharf in the centre has developed into one of Europe's biggest clusters of skyscrapers and direct challenge to the financial dominance of the City of London.

However, along the way they made a few blunders in this huge project the most visible one being the Millennium Dome. Today is almost no better than a nice background for movie, ads and touristy postcards. So here’s one to that spirit.

After the Docklands, I headed for Holloway Road to check out the London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre designed by the sensationalist architect Daniel Libeskind. He designed this building sort of fresh from his heroics of the Jewish Museum, Berlin and this building clearly shows a hangover. Read what he has to say about it himself on his website - http://www.daniel-libeskind.com/projects/pro.html?ID=44

The Next day besides going to see the Baishakhi Mela (Bangla New Year Festival) at Brick Lane (read more about it here - http://www.visitbricklane.com/baishakimela/index.php); I went to see the London Aquarium near the Thames. Though I was a bit disappointed at the collection and the general layout of the spaces I have to say that the big shark tank was quiet nice. Probably just making it worth one visit.

And lastly I saw yet another piece of Architecture by Norman Foster. This time an airport, the Stansted airport and again I would have to use the same words as in the Canary Wharf station to explain this project – Efficient, simple and pleasing. (Check more about this and previous mentioned projects on his website - http://www.fosterandpartners.com/)

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