August 25th 2016: Walking Tour
The walking tour was the first exploration seminar activity for all of us, which made it really fun because we weren’t too familiar with each other yet, but after the walking tour we starting talking to different people more and just hanging out. The coolest part about the tour for me was that we really saw how London juxtaposes the old with the new in its architecture, behaviors, and traditions as well. There were many times when we would look at a modern building such as the Gherkin, then turn a corner and we’d be surprised by the guild buildings. After the tour, I realized that the architecture of London represents the overall spirit and culture of London quite well. In comparison to Seattle, London is more formal in terms of dress, which is a tradition they have carried on from the past that relates to class standing as well. A lot of London’s biggest businesses date back hundreds of years, and yet oftentimes they are the leading companies of the world. It was really nice to see a modern supercity that has kept its roots and proudly displays its traditions for all to see.
Another aspect of the tour that I thought was interesting is how the placement and design of the buildings themselves often represented its purpose or history. For example when we were standing at the Lloyd’s of London building, Gavin pointed out how all of the buildings around it were mainly insurance companies as well because back in the day all of these people had to literally run from office to office during their workdays. It’s as if the buildings themselves were telling the history of the area. The Gherkin as well was designed for the purpose of business, thus it had a smaller footprint and many ways of water/light conservation that would save money over time. The Cheese Grater is an example of how strongly London values its tradition, so much so that it required a building to be built in a way that preserved the view of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Overall, though the tour was quite tiring in terms of the amount walked, it was extremely informative and I’m really grateful that we had Gavin as a tour guide. His background in the business industry made the tour a unique hybrid of business and history, perfect for a group such as ours.