We are still on the move! We’re moving at such a pace, that stopping to blog is hard to squeeze in.
Day 3 began with a visit to the London Bombing Memorial with Lewis from Carmody Groarke. The overview that we had received on the previous evening was now evident in real life. 52 Stainless steel columns cantilevering out of the ground, strategically positioned within Hyde Park. Soft dappled light played on the different surfaces of the cast stainless steel columns – quite a moving experience architecturally and given several members of our group had a personal connection to the bombings.
Another frantic dash across town, saw us arrive at the campus that Foster + Partners occupies (all 1000 + of them!) We had all heard many stories about Fosters (not all complimentary) but we were all pleasantly surprised by the warm reception we received and the vibe in the office. We were shown around by Partner, Thouria Istephan who was very
generous with her time (we even came away with a show bag – they clearly know the way to an architect’s heart is through a free architecture book)
On the walking tour earlier in the week, we couldn’t get over the number of Foster Buildings in the city (it was just Foster, Foster Wren, Foster, Foster, Wren!) and today we saw how this mass of work was prepared. This is one well oiled machine, and as with Rodgers Stirk Harbour, they had every conceivable facility an architect might want. One of the real highlights was the sustainable sample room, manned by 4 full time researchers who are dedicated to finding and researching the best sustainable products. What a great resource!
Another (frantic, hot, humid) dash across town found us at the studio of Zaha Hadid. As with Fosters, we had all heard un-complimentary stories about this studio, but unlike Fosters we were not disappointed! We may just have received the authentic Zaha experience. We made it as far as the entry courtyard, were made to stand in the heat for 45 minutes and then shown the door. Horror stories confirmed. (Thanks to David Smith at Schueman Smith for frantic phone calls to try to get us in)
The afternoon commenced at Canary Wharf, where we met Ms Kay Hughes, the Principal Design Advisor for the London Olympic Delivery Authority for a guided bus tour of the Olympic Site. Winding through the construction site we were able to get up close to the venues, all at varying stages of completion. The main stadium by HOK Sport (now Populous) has really taken shape. The seductive forms of the Olympic Pool by Zaha Hadid and Velodrome by Michael Hopkins are bound to be centre pieces. Two very sexy roof forms, although Zaha appears to have used 4 times as much steel in the roof than is probably needed.
The day was capped off by an intimate cocktail party at the RIBA and a look around their great building on Portland Street. We all had a great time chatting to the RIBA reps and extend our thanks to Ruth Reed (RIBA President) and Harry Rich (CEO) for the hospitality.