Forty-eight students and alumni from the College of Architecture explored London, England and Glasgow, and Edinburgh both in Scotland from July 22 to August 2016, for its annual architectural trip to Europe titled “Halò London and Scotland.” The trip was facilitated by Asst. Prof. Maria Vicenta Sanchez, Ar. Allan Christopher Luna, Mr. Marlon Villarin and Graduate School Prof. Norma Alarcon.
Despite a loaded itinerary, the students had close contact with structures they encountered in their History of Architecture classes. In London, the group visited the St. Paul Cathedral, Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Hampton Court Palace, Tate Gallery and the British Museum, the group buildings at Greenwich Park that included the Planetarium, Royal Observatory where the prime meridian is located, Queen’s House, and the National Maritime Museum; and The Shard, the tallest modern building in the United Kingdom and the fourth tallest building in Europe.
The group also went to the Windsor Castle, Berkshire, which is the summer residence of the English royalty; Winchester Cathedral, Hampshire; York Minster, York which is considered as the largest cathedral in northern Europe; Canterbury Cathedral, Kent which is one of the oldest and seat of the Archbishop of the Church of England; Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury that has the tallest spire in England; the Roman Bath (built by the Romans) and Abbey, City of Bath; the pre-historic monument of Stonehenge, Wiltshire so beloved by architecture students; and the Leeds Castle, Kent that was the residence of Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.
Outside of London, the UST group visited the medieval cities of Oxford including a visit to the cathedral, Christ Church College and Cambridge, King’s College whose façade is an example of a Late Gothic English architecture. From Cambridge, the group went to Scotland where they explored the city of Glasgow, the country’s largest city.
In Glasgow, the group visited the Culzean Castle, Carrick, Ayrshire, the Glasgow Cathedral also popularly known as High Kirk of Glasgow or St. Mungo’s Cathedral; and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the New Lanark, an early example of urban planning in the part of Scotland where cotton mills and housing for the workers were established; and the town of Falkirk, where the students saw and took short ride on the Falkirk Wheel, a rotating boat lift that connected the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal. From Glasgow, the group proceeded to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. The visit was timely since the group was able to experience the annual celebration of the Edinburgh International Festival, a three-week feast of music, theatre, opera and dance during the month of August.
A tour of St. Giles Cathedral, known as the high Kirk of Edinburgh, the central place of worship of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh and the historic fortress Edinburgh Castle, another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Scotland that has become the symbol of Edinburgh as well as that of Scotland, capped the visit to Scotland. After spending four days in Scotland, the group went back to London by train. The students, at this point, were allowed to go around London on their own giving them time to ride the famous London Eye and Warner Bros. Studio Tour, famous for Harry Potter movies. The last night in London was capped by a traditional English carvery dinner of roast beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and fish together with starters and a generous servings of potatoes.
Having seen and experienced in reality the buildings they only have read about and heard from lectures about British Gothic and Renaissance Architecture, the students in particular left the United Kingdom with a more concrete appreciation of what they had learned from their courses.