Tuesday, 19 January 2010

From Waterloo to Shad Thames: A Foggy Walk along the Southbank

Yesterday I spent my afternoon walking along the Southbank from Waterloo station to the Design Museum on Shad Thames. My walk took me past the Oxo Tower, the Tate Modern, Clink Street and the remains of Winchester Palace, The Golden Hind, Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, More London Place, Tower Bridge and through the converted warehouse development on Shad Thames. It was a very foggy day as you can see from the photos below but still a really interesting walk. I stopped at the Tate to see Miroslaw Balka's How It Is installation which was impressive in scale but I thought slightly disappointing once you were inside.

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Along the Southbank walk it is easy to see how London has changed from an industrial city reliant on the Thames for success to a modern commercial centre and tourist destination. The converted warehouses of the Oxo Tower Wharf and Shad Thames are now luxury apartments, restaurants and boutiques. I think that the Oxo Wharf has been a very successful project, it was developed in the 1990's after facing demolition in the 70's and 80's. The architects were Liftschutz Davidson who won the RIBA award for Architecture for the project in 1997. I found the walk inspiring and I think that some of the projects such as the Tate Modern and Oxo Tower will be useful in my research.

The Design Museum

My final stop along the Southbank was the Design Museum to see the exhibition on David Chipperfield Architects. I was aware of his work before this project but it was only when I researched the Neues Museum that I became really interested in the practice. The exhibition explores Chipperfield's increasing interest in historical work and his sensitivity to architectural history and memory. I thought the exhibition was very good and it had a lot of information on the Neues Museum as well as an interview with David Chipperfield about the design of the project and the approach they took to restoration. The line drawings on the wall are graphically very strong but simple and represent the essence of his designs. I also really enjoyed the models on display and thought that they really added to the photography and drawings.

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