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London: A Cleaner New York City

My expectations of a study abroad experience did a 180 degree transformation, from my pre flight worries to my first day experience. I expected London to be something completely different from anything that have experienced in America. I wanted to go into this travel experience with an open mind, a chance to shop in a different country, see European fashion trends, and try new food. The only thing that I knew to be different in London was that they drive on the left side of the road.


In the first 24 hours, I learned more about the city and myself, than I did the rest of the week.

The first day I accomplished understanding the London Underground and orienting myself in the city, in relation to the River Thames. It was important to understand this at the beginning because how the city is laid out reflects the architecture. When moving through the city, the main features that I noticed were the small spaces, the contrast of modern and historical buildings next to next other, and the street layouts. London was comparable to a cleaner New York City.

The biggest comparison between London and New York was the small spaces. When

constructing buildings, many architects seemed to use every inch of space. In the hotel

elevators and different bathrooms, they used the space for what is necessary. They seemed to maximum common spaces that would have a lot of traffic, and make bathrooms and elevators smaller because people spend less time there.


Photographed: A section of The Home Futures Exhibit at the Design Museum 

Photographed: One of the individual bathrooms at The Sky Garden

Photographed: The inside of the Design Museum 

It was interesting to see the contrast of historical and modern buildings next to each other. There were juxtapositions and similarities between how the architects design the buildings. The main difference is in the material used for construction. The older buildings used mainly stone while the modern ones use glass, which helps open up the space. Another difference is contrasting height. The newer buildings almost double in size of the height of the older buildings. Even though, the heights vary, both buildings have plenty of windows and create a pattern work in the placement of the materials used to construct the building.


Photographed: Two buildings that were around the corner of our hotel

Photographed: The newest architectural addition at the Victoria and Albert 


Photographed: Another example of contrasting building styles in the city to show the varying heigh difference

The use of repetition and intersecting lines on the modern buildings could be influenced by the street layout. Similar to New York City, London seemed to take pride in having a logical layout in how the streets and London Underground was mapped out. While walking around the city, the biggest thing that I noticed was how clean the streets. There were barley any trash cans but some how the streets were not filled with trash. This is something that I believe New York could take note of!


Photographed: One of the busy streets in Piccadilly Circus, an area similar to Times Square in New York

The city of London was very influential into expanding my understanding of design. My topic of research on this was to analyze space. Specially, how the use of space and depth is seen in 2D poster design and architecture. I had to experience in person the way that London architecture uses space to aid my research. My understanding of their smaller spaces is not something I can find online. Experiencing this study abroad trip was very important in helping my research and my personal knowledge.

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