With only one day left to experience England, no one should be shocked when I tell you that I filled our only unplanned day with architecture.
To begin, we walked through Kensington Garden, through the "summer houses" and made our way to the Serpentine Gallery pavilion. Each summer for the past 16 years, the gallery has invited an architect to design an outside space for the public to interact with. More than anything, I think this has brought spectacular design much more accessible and interactive and gives such good exposure and respect to architects internationally. This year's installation is by Bjarke Ingles from B.I.G, and international architecture firm that specializes in relatively simple designs that constantly pack a punch - whether it's in the skyline of a city or for the public to use. This year, the structure is made out of hundreds (maybe thousands?) of thin plastic rectangular "tubes" of different lengths that have stacked to create a space to walk through.
After I spent far too long and getting a little too close to the installation, we walked past Royal Albert Hall and made our way to a spectacular row of museums. The Victoria and Albert Museum was our only stop along this street, and we wandered through the wings filled with replicas of famous sculptures and in a special exhibit dedicated to Ove Arup, a brilliant engineer and designer whose firm to this day provides amazing work for the built world.
For an afternoon tea, Charlotte wanted to take us to Sketch, which was a rather posh restaurant with a very famous bathroom (look it up you won't be disappointed!) When you a) can order a chocolate tart and b) it has a gold foil covered espresso bean on it you know you're in for a treat. Our final destination of the day was the newly opened Switch House at the TATE Modern. The viewing platform from the top floor gave us an amazing view of the city! It was extremely packed that day since it had just opened the day prior, so I'd love to be able to come back and see it again once the novelty of it's newness has worn off.
London, this won't be the last you see of me!