Showing posts with label grand tour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grand tour. Show all posts

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Grand Tour London Olympics Orbit


The Orbit is the iconic observation tower built for the 2012 London Olympics.


It is considered to be the biggest sculpture in Britain and is 114 meters high.


It was designed by artist Anish Kapoor, and from the observation deck there are expansive views over the Olympic Park and onto London.


Constructed out of 600 prefabricated "nodes" and held together with 35,000 bolts. In a bid to attract visitors post-Olympics, you can absail down the tower, and soon what is billed as the tallest and longest tunnel slide will be opened.


Critical reception has been largely negative, but I kind of like it, simple guy that I am, I'm easily impressed by spectacle.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Grand Tour: London Aquatics Centre


After Colchester we stopped in at the Olympic Park in London.


The distinctive Aquatics centre was designed by Zaha Hadid, who is well known here in Japan for having designed the new olympic stadium but then having the design rejected.


There are some design similarities between the two projects, and I have no idea what the general opinion is but I quite like it. I also liked her Tokyo proposal.


In general I like architecture that utilizes curves. I would have liked to go inside but we were short of time.


Monday, November 9, 2015

The Grand Tour Colchester


I had never been to Colchester before, so was quite looking forward to visiting. It is often classified as the oldest town in England, known as Camulodunon before the Roman invasion.


Its most famous site is the Norman Keep, built on the ruins of a Roman temple. Boudica sacked the town, but it was rebuilt later though the Roman Capital was moved to London.


I was most impressed by the floral displays everywhere, especially the hanging baskets.


Lots and lots of half-timbered houses, one in particular still riddled with bullet holes from the Civil war.


Friday, September 25, 2015

The Grand Tour Colchester Firstsite


Firstsite is a new and controversial arts center in Colchester designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Vinoly. Firstsite refers to the fact that it is built on one of the earliest roman settlements in England.


The building is clad in a copper/aluminium alloy and is kept low so as not to intrude upon the skyline.


The building is semicircular in shape and has no foundations so as to protect the archeological remains that may be buried underneath.


The building has not verticals on the exterior and has come in for a lot of criticism. I like it because it offered me plenty of opportunities for the kind of photographic composition I like :)


Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Grand Tour 1 Brightlingsea Beach


Just got back from a thoroughly enjoyable  month travelling around the UK. On the first day we visited Brightlingsea Beach, somewhere I had never been before. Located where the river Colne reaches the open sea, not too far from Colchester.


It is famous for its beach huts which I guess are a quintessentially English thing. A place to store some beach furniture, make a cup of tea, etc. I was amazed to learn that the price of one of these costs at least three times what we paid for our Japanese farmhouse.


It is a decidedly uncommercial beach, a single cafe at the end of the promenade being the only place to spend money, which means the free activities of hanging out, chilling out, paddling and swimming, exploring the marine life of the shore,  fishing,  napping in the sun, practising English Tea Ceremony, or just watching the boats and clouds pass by are what most people do.


Batemans Tower was built in 1883 and was used by John Bateman as a place for his daughter to recuperate from consumption. Reputedly the foundation were built upon faggot piles as that is why the tower leans.