Medieval Edinburgh, industrial Glasgow and metropolitan London. These were the three cities VIA and AnArchi, the student association for Architecture, visited on their joint study trip to the United Kingdom. The trip contained a fully packed program, which some of us felt the need to expand until late in the evening. On our way we were accompanied by dr. Sergio de Sousa Lopes Figueiredo who gave us useful insights into the architectural and urban theory behind certain buildings or places.
First on the list was Edinburgh, a city with a medieval and modern face. Straight away on our first day we walked from the Edinburgh Castle right until Arthurs Seat. Those who weren’t afraid to take it a little further even climbed all the way to the top to oversee the seven hills of Edinburgh. Once up, one can truly see the landscape mingling with the city. Something that was also visible when walking across the Royal Mile, where every once in a while a magnificent view would pop up through the many different closes.
The next day, we met with an old professor of our university: Gijs Wallis de Vries who prepared a little tour through the New Town of Edinburgh. We were amazed by the contrast of the straight and organized New Town compared to the chaotic and medieval Old Town. It was very clear to imagine why this expansion planned was so successful.
In Edinburgh, part of the group would visit Reiach and Hall architects where Dermot Patterson gave us an inspiring story on how he related a piece of art to his architecture. The other part of the group was extremely lucky: they got to see LDN Architects who happened to be working on the McEwen Hall, the Graduation hall of Edinburgh University. As you can imagine renovating in a medieval city can be quite problematic. LDN Architects showed us how they did it and we even got a chance to climb the scaffolding all the way to the top of the dome!
Next stop on the road was Glasgow. First: The people’s palace and the winter garden behind it, followed by merchant square and the city halls. But the most impressing building of the day was the Glasgow Cathedral with its nearby Necropolis. The walk uphill also ensured you of a good view of the cathedral and its greatness. The day ended with a visit to the Lighthouse. This former lighthouse was designed by the city architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the extension by Page\Park. Today it serves as an exhibition space where there happened to be plenty of activity regarding the Scottish Festival of Architecture.
The next Glaswegian day was reserved for the former industrial docklands. Located in this area is the Glasgow Science Center, the Glasgow Tower (a tower that can rotate 360 degrees depending on the wind direction), the BBC Scotland building and the Riverside Museum. With all the highlights it was hoped that the area would transform into a successful urban part of Glasgow, but the lack of residential program caused an area which did not succeed after all.
On our last day in Glasgow, we were accompanied by Jamie Hamilton to guide us through the theater royal. Jamie is an architect at Page / Park, who helped on the design of the building. The theater is an amazing design and the combination of different high-end materials caused a luxurious atmosphere in the building. The last visit of the day was the Sierra Reid building by Steven Holl, next to the Glasgow School of Art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. His design made walking through the extension an experience which interacts with the old Mackintosh design.
Immediately in London we visited the AA School, which housed an exhibition packed with projects from all students, which made it absolutely worth the visit, followed by Foster + Partners, who showed us their enormous office next to the river Thames.
Waking up the next day everybody was told that the program was stuffed with all sorts of great things, starting with the Tate Modern, which recently opened their extension. After wandering through all the amazing exhibitions, it was time for Sergio to guide us through the center of London.
To save the best for last is certainly applicable to our trip. First off were the Serpentine Galleries and the sculptural Pavilion of stacked bricks, designed by Bjarke Ingels. Second we visited the Olympic Park, which represents an example of how to deal with these huge areas after the Olympics. Our tour guide explained the history of the area and gave us an impression of how it was like during the Olympics.
Before flying back to Eindhoven, we visited one last urban design office in London. Allies & Morrison was happy to receive us and guide us around their office, which was clearly separated in three different buildings with different working groups.
Afterwards we can reflect on a great study trip where we visited works of well-known offices from around the world and saw a lot of unexpected beauties in the United Kingdom. It was a busy program which was followed by a well-deserved summer holiday. We as the organizing committee would like to thank everybody involved in the trip, from participants to professionals, for the wonderful time we had. We would like to specially thank Sergio for giving us deeper insights in the various projects we visited.