Bognor Regis Camera Club – Explore: Visit Open House, London
Saturday 9 September 2023
On Saturday 9 September eight BRCC club members attended the 2023 London Open House event, the visit being thoroughly well organised by club member Edwin Jones. The Indian Summer weather was fine and dry with the only problem being that it turned out to be the hottest day of the year with temperatures recorded at Kew of over 33oC. Fortunately, the mainline trains were air conditioned, as were the buildings we visited. The main problem was the Tube, especially the Central Line which is noted for being the hottest. Luckily the walks outside from the Tube to the buildings were shorter than usual.
This event was difficult to plan this year because of the short time between the program being finalised and its start date. It was only finalised on 17 August, a mere three weeks ahead. A preliminary program was out two weeks earlier but it was without the essential details of the dates when buildings would be open. Grrr!
We travelled to London in the (relative) cool of the morning reaching Victoria Station London at 9.15 and headed to the first stop, the Marshall Building at the LSE. This is a multi-purpose building for the Economics and Finance departments and is the newest addition to the Campus opening on 4th January 2022. There are seven upper floors, including a large open roof area with great views towards the City, plus basements and a large open ground floor with many large concrete columns to support the weight above. Uses included lecture halls, study rooms and a massive, underground, sports hall. The central helical staircase was especially attractive. We had a very interesting guided tour lasting well over the allotted 45 minutes and were given many opportunities to take photos.
Then it was on via the DLR to the Royal Docks and the new City Hall. The building is modern and spacious situated next to the North end of the London Cable Car. It features an angular exterior designed to minimise soar gain (with unusual reflections) and includes a large entrance Hall (which doubles as a function area), the London Assembly Hall, Committee Rooms and the Mayors Offices. We were fortunate to have a person from the architect’s office as a guide. The London Assembly moved from the previous City Hall opposite the Tower of London because of the high rent being paid there and the Royal Docks building already being owned by the Council. A pleasant lunch was had at the Hall’s Cafeteria.
Because of the heat we decided to miss the 3rd building ,a small Livery Hall in the City, and go straight to the Rocca London Gallery. It was very modernistic in concept and had been designed by the award-winning Zaha Hadid Architects. This has some unique wall design and unusual bathroom exhibits and was hosting an exhibition about innovative designs for small apartments for city living. Fortunately this building was just one stop on the overground to Clapham Junction so we headed there to get the cool train back home
A very well worthwhile expedition in good company.
Edwin Jones, Organiser