August 22, 2013
by Jessica Karsten

Already 6 weeks in! I can’t believe how the time flies by! London is a massive city; one could live here for years and still encounter new things every day. I am trying to see as much as possible though, and every weekend I go out and see different parts of the city, going to parks, museums and trying out different restaurants and pubs around town, and have been to some pretty amazing and unique places. Here are some random shots around the city of these cool spots.

I ventured out of the city center a little and went to Columbia Road flower market. I had to walk a ew blocks from the bus stop to get there, and thought I must be in the wrong spot because there weren’t many people around and it was a pretty quiet area. Then I turned a corner and the market appeared abruptly and it was suddenly busy and loud and colorful and smelled of flowers, and I got caught up in the shuffling around between the booths in the most jam packed few blocks I’ve ever seen. The market sells fresh cut flowers, flowers and shrubs for the garden, as well as herbs and cacti etc. Most things were selling for a ‘fiver’, which is all you could hear in that few blocks and one of the notably unique characteristics of this particular market. The narrow road was lined with antique shops with clothes and jewelry, as well as other crafts and cafes; it was really an amazing afternoon where it was too easy to spend all your money ;)

ColumbiaRoad

ColumbaRoad Video (It takes a little time to load) For being such a huge city, it’s still so interconnected that it’s easy to see many parts of the city in one day out. On one Saturday I explored Hyde Park, saw Buckingham Palace, walked through St James Park, and cut across to Westminster Abbey and the Parliament house, then across the river over to Southbank past the London Eye and to The Tate Modern museum! This whole walk was about 2 miles, which is amazing you can see all these remarkable sights in one short walk. I posted some pictures of these areas last week as well.

LondonWalk

As I mentioned above I went to Hyde Park a bit ago, mainly to check out the Serpentine Gallery and this year’s exhibit. I walked along the pond over towards the gallery, and it was really peaceful with the white swans and people boating in the lake. On the way there I passed Princess Diana’s tribute fountain. It is a beautiful water feature that winds around in a circle with a little stream in the center of its path. It’s so soft and calming it was really nice place to just sit for awhile, watch the children playing in the fountain and just enjoy the atmosphere. It was really lovely, and a nice way to honor Diana.

HydePark

Then I came to the Serpentine Gallery. Every year the gallery hosts amazing exhibits from some of the best known architects, like Herzog & de Meuron, Peter Zumthor, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and many others. This year was a sculpture by Sou Fujimoto, and it is a very light structure which plays with the way people interact with and inhabit the space, with multiple transparent levels that people can climb and sit, making each experience unique. Check out the website to see some more pics of this year, and of the previous years. It was pretty amazing.

http://www.serpentinegallery.org/architecture/

Serpentine

Since then I’ve also been to the Royal Academy of Arts, the British museum, other markets, High gate Cemetery and Hampton Court Palace, but I’ll write more about those in the next blog. But it hasn’t been all play and no work. We’ve been really busy working on Liverpool hospital. The project has a huge scope, aggressive schedule and a large team, and it’s definitely been a good challenge to keep up and on top of everything. While the fundamental approach to the hospital design are similar, there are many differences not only in the procurement process but also in the production and delivery methods and code requirements used on this project compared to hospitals in the states. It’s been an amazing learning opportunity so far!