Monday, 20 September 2010

Earth, wind, fire and water (part I)

Firstly, many apologies for the curious layout and arrangement of photos in this post. This is due to current difficulties with uploading images to Blogger.

Open House London, the major annual showcase of the capital’s architecture, has recently changed its name to Open-City. Over the course of the weekend, many of London’s buildings were open to the public, encouraging people to learn more about architectural design, and appreciate the amazing variety of buildings within local communities all over the capital.


I’d strongly urge anyone who wishes to see the huge variety of architecture in London to take a trip on a Thames Clipper from The London Eye to The O2 at Greenwich. I recently took one of the high speed catamarans to see an Earth, Wind and Fire in concert at the O2 Arena, so I thought I’d share some of my photos with you. This is just a very small selection, so you get an idea – sorry I can’t replicate the sounds, or that ‘wind in your hair’ feel of a blowy day on a boat (I could have done with one of the new feather hair bands from ShopCurious).

The pier where you set off on the Clipper offers some amazing opportunities to get a close up look at the London Eye, and there are some classic views of the Houses of Parliament too.

You’ll pass tons of well known landmarks, of course, but what I really love are the quirky curiosities like old warehouses and pubs – the buildings that give you a sense of London’s history as a port and a centre of commerce.

Once you get further down river, there are more expansive views, like this one of the Royal Naval College at Greenwich.

Arriving at the O2 was the best part of the journey for me. I have a curious passion for desolate places and mud flats. To me, the river always looks better when the tide is out. Here you’ll see dilapidated wharves and old gasometers alongside modern sculptures, and there’s quite a lot of new building going on too.

There’s also a spectacular new office complex, called Ravensbourne (see below), at Greenwich Peninsula. Designed by Foreign Office Architects, it’s due to open at the end of this month and will house the latest techonologies in HDTV studio, prototyping facilities and collaborative technologies. The Open House brochure describes it as “an inspirational new learning environment, over interlinked floors around an impressive central atrium.”

  The O2 atrium is actually quite impressive too. I treated myself to dinner on the upper terrace at Gaucho (a rather curious combo of seafood and spinach with garlic and chilli oil – Mmmm.. )

Going home by river was even more impressive. London is looking more like Hong Kong than ever, and Canary Wharf looks stunning lit up at night.

More traditional sights included popular favourite, Tower Bridge. But the piece de resistance was the London Eye, which bathed the water in electric blue light.

Oh, and there’s something I omitted… I expect you want to hear about the concert too...

1 comment:

worm said...

very interesting post!!! And so very true about the mud and the old wharves! I wonder if I'll ever manage to get to the dome before it blows away/floods/gets blown up/ turned into a job centre