Wednesday, June 21, 2006

London and Paris: A Tale of Two Cities

Assignment 2: Royal American Design Program

In three weeks I will be in London. I'm so entrenched in my internship at the moment that its hard to imagine that it will soon end and I will fly to the other side of the world to study design in an entirely different way. In a previous life I was a history major and I have studied the histories of both London and Paris in depth. It will be impossible for me to disconnect from the knowledge I have while I am there and it will be interesting to see if this will enhance or detract from the experience. I expect this will only add, but there is something to be said for not having preconceived notions.

I've never been to Paris, but I once spent an afternoon in London. I was on a layover on my way to Athens and had enough time to ride the Tube in from Heathrow, jump on a double decker bus, and take a quick tour. Oddly, the thing I remember most were the flower boxes. It seemed they were on every building and all were in bloom. London was a beautiful city, and a fascinating contrast to Athens.

The thing I would like to do in both cities is to walk the streets and explore. I believe in spending time getting to know one place rather than running all over Europe trying to see everything just to say you were there. I also want to see contemporary architecture and design. The offices of Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, both Pritzker Prize winners, are in London. In spite of my love of history I'm not the type who is in awe of it. You study the past in order to create the future. Having said that I've always been obsessed with cathedrals and would love to see as many as I can.

My family is English from long before there was an England. I am a descendant of Old King Cole, several lines of Scottish royalty (including Duncan, the king murdered by MacBeth), William the Conqueror, and the Plantagenets. It's not always a group to be proud of, but it makes for a colorful pedigree. The most recent of my great-great-great grandparents to come to America left England in the 1860s from Northampton. I need to pull out my genealogy before I go.

I'm looking forward to this opportunity to learn and experience something new, and I hope it makes me a better designer.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I'm also a decendant of "Old King Cole" and I've got roots in Scotland as well (the Campbells)! I suspose this means we're related--Brandon and I figured that out awhile ago :-)