Posts tagged architecture

As staircases go the one in City Hall, London is fairly impressive. Its understated, simplistic curves and never ending spirals make for one aesthetically pleasing piece of architecture. Residing on the banks of the Thames, near to Tower Bridge the building is most well known for housing Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London among other city officials. Starting from the top I indulged in the view, which unfortunately wasn’t much further than Tower Bridge in all its grandeur (at a squint I could just about make out Canary Wharf in the murky distance). However I was far more taken with the view coming down, it was a slow meandering process that involved stopping at every other step;  but that staircase just doesn’t have a bad angle! I visited City Hall as part of Open House London and I am very tempted to visit again next year as this Norman Foster designed building is possibly one of my favourites!

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The Leadenhall BuildingThe Leadenhall BuildingThe Leadenhall BuildingThe Leadenhall Building, View from the 40th Floor40th Floor, The Leadenhall BuildingI’m a sucker for a good view, so last month I diligently waited in line to be whisked up to the 40th floor of The Leadenhall Building in London. Once a year Open House London lets the general public roam around some of the most architecturally intriguing buildings across the city, which is great if you don’t mind a bit of queuing. This distinctive design by Rogers Stirk Harbour Partners was finished earlier this year and is currently the tallest building within the City of London. Visiting the Leadenhall Building was a slight anticlimax. After waiting over an hour to get in (crazy I know) and experiencing a stomach lurching, ear popping assent over The Gherkin (fastest lifts in Europe); all to be rushed around the 40th floor as quickly as possible it was just a bit disappointing. Unfortunately London was being its usual miserable self weatherwise, with zero visibility the skyline was cloaked in a thick cloud of fog.

I made a hyperlapse of the jaw-dropping descent, going down at 8 metres per second it was pretty quick!

Leadenhall MarketLeadenhall MarketLeadenhall MarketLeadenhall MarketLeadenhall MarketLeadenhall MarketI’ve walked down Leadenhall Street many times, but never have I managed to stumble my way into this charming indoor market. Dating back from the 14th century Leadenhall Market is one of the oldest in London, and the mix of ornate architecture and decor instantly transports you to diagon alley a time of colonialism and British rule. Unfortunately my accidental visit was early on a sunday morning and most of the shops were still closed, but there were a couple of stalls open selling some wonderful handmade items.

 

I find myself curiously drawn towards greenhouses, lured within by the exotic species and tantalising heat. Let me define my peaked interest in the greenhouse, I’m not talking about one you may find squirrelled away in the depths of the garden but more the grandeur of the Victorian era. These elaborately designed structures became much celebrated pieces by the wealthy upper classes and botanists alike. Last year I visited Chatsworth and its just how you imagine it to be, a grand building surrounded by the sprawling Derbyshire Dales as far as the eye can see; but its the gardens that are the real treat. I could spend hours wandering and getting lost down secret passages and tree lined avenues. Unfortunately the original greenhouse designed by Joseph Paxton in 1837 no longer exists (at the time it was the largest glass building in the world!) being demolished after the 1st World War, due to heating costs. Its a great shame that such a structure was lost, replaced by its much more modern counterpart in which I took these tropical looking species.

The city of Norwich is full of history and heritage and it dates all the way back to the Iron Ages, before the Romans invaded in AD 60. Then came the Anglo-Saxons and Normans. This period saw the birth of the Cathedral in 1096, with all of the stone specially shipped across from Caen in northern France; and after nearly 50 years it was completed.  On friday we headed into the city, with the sole purpose of exploring. After a lengthy walk around Tombland (not at all tomb related) we ended up at the Cathedral. We strolled around the cloisters, wandering in awe and taking in the grandeur of the gothic architecture. Mostly unchanged, its like taking a step back in time, delving deep into history.

A while ago I went on a much needed jaunt to Lincoln. Having gone there for University, I pretty much know the place inside out and it was such a welcome return to go back.  I graduated a year ago, so I’ve really missed the place and all of my lovely friends (most of which are still there). I decided it was time for a holiday so me and one of my best friends booked ourselves into the new DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Lincoln, ready for a relaxing weekend. I don’t think you can ever be a tourist in your own city, but its completely different once you no longer live there. I experienced everything with fresh eyes, camera in hand and ready to explore. My first point of call was Steep Hill, and yes it lives up to the name! It leads up towards the historic quarter, which is all things quaint and wonderful. Lined with cute independant tea rooms and shops, it was the perfect way to spend a lazy morning just wandering about and drinking tea. Another place not to be missed on my checklist was Lincoln Cathedral in all its grandeur. It dates back from medieval times, although its had lots of amendments since, as well as being attacked by fires and earthquakes! I was really hoping to do the roof or tower tour, but it wasn’t to be. However I did manage to capture the magnificent gothic architecture, so I was slightly consoled. We finished off the afternoon in style, hiding from the rain and drinking champagne.

My birthday involved some serious sunshine, and it probably wasn’t the best time to visit Cambridge in the midst of a heat wave. The shops were a welcome escape from the heat and a perfect excuse for birthday presents! Everytime I visit there is a need to explore, and I’m constantly finding new hidden passages and courtyards full of architecture and history. I was desperate to go punting as I’ve never been, but sadly due to the intense heat it wasn’t to be. I’m crossing my fingers for next time.

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Summer sunshine is a good excuse to go out and explore. And that I did, an afternoon was well spent wandering about the grounds of Somerleyton Hall & Gardens. I’m lucky because its only about 10 minutes away, located in the lovely Suffolk countryside. The drive in is quite grand with huge tree lined avenues, and a splendid view of the Tudor-Jacobean mansion. The grounds were secluded and allowed for long wanders around the sprawling but beautiful gardens. I got lost in the maze, explored greenhouses and then headed off in search of tea; which was found in the lovely garden restaurant.

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Its not everyday you get to stroll around some of the most private and exclusive gardens in London, but last weekend I did. Eccleston Square was one of the most interesting gardens of those I visited, with secret pathways, a tennis court and a cute greenhouse. The fleeting glances of Georgian architecture are clear indicators to the wealthy area the square lies within (located near Victoria & Pimlico). Locked away, hidden by trees and only usually open to residents; it was all very secret garden-esque. I must admit I became slightly obsessed with this hidden tennis court. I love exploring hidden green spaces in London, so I’m very glad Eccleston Square was included in this years Open Squares Weekend, allowing people to indulge in these secret spaces, if just for the day.

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Photos from what should of been a brilliant day, but turned out not to be. One of those days where just everything goes wrong. It all started in Kensington, and yet again the Circle & District lines weren’t fully operating so it was a bit trickier than expected to get there. My generally brilliant sense of direction failed me and I got lost; but it resulted in a lovely stroll through Kensington Gardens. All I found of the usually popular deck chairs were these lonesome three in perfect unison and I daren’t sit on them for fear of being hounded for the ridiculous fee! Whilst in Kensington there was a failed trip to the Bowie exhibition at the V&A, and a flying visit around the Environmental Photographer of the Year 2013 exhibition. The photography continued with a trip to Somerset House to see Landmark: The Fields of Photography. It was by far my favourite part of the day, as it was all of my favourite photographers work in the same room. From Edward Burtynsky, Robert Adams, Olaf Otto Becker and Thomas Struth to name a few. My dissertation at University was on climate change and its affect upon the landscape through photography, so I was really excited to see this exhibition. Unfortunately its now closed, or I’d have definitely made a second trip!