From Londonhua WIKI

Cole Fawcett

Cole Fawcett
Cole Fawcett


My project as a whole focuses on the gaining a deeper understanding of my surroundings through the analysis of historical views and context here in London. I saw London HUA as an ideal opportunity to look into and study history around me in such a famous, international captial. I've always enjoyed the history, learning from it and gaining a better awareness of how the world has come to be shaped as it has. Overall, I felt privileged to be accepted and take part of the London HUA Project and experience London in such a unique way.

Milestone 1

London's Architectural Preservation of History
Objective: To address and analyze how and why London has successfully preserved and upheld its most ancient landmarks, rescuing them from natural erosion and deconstruction.

Through investigating conservation conventions taken in the cases of Saint Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London's White Tower, I found that conservation as a term has adopted many meanings over the centuries. From simply keeping a building standing, the term evolved to preventative measures on issues of instability and air pollution. Contemporary emphasis has been put on maintaining iconic view of structures as necessary in their conservation. Buildings like Saint Paul's and White Tower have gone on to shape their environments in efforts to keep the structures themselves from changing. Using the visual aid of pictures, this milestone examines how a greater context informs these sites and how these sites have informed their surrounding context.
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Milestone 2

Significance of London's Fourth Plinth
Objective: A detailed look into the inspiration and consequence of the establishment of London's Fourth Plinth.

In this milestone, I analyzed Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth's significance to Trafalgar Square and London. Effectively one of the worlds smallest contemporary art exhibitions, the Fourth plinth has displayed a piece of art atop the plinth at a time, changing every two years or so. My deliverable consisted of an informed argumentative thesis on what the Fourth Plinth Commission represents within Trafalgar Square and London as well. This project's aim was highlight the Fourth Plinth as a unique statement on Trafalgar Square in the spirit of demonstration and critical thought.
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Milestone 3

Green Spaces in London
Objective: An investigation into the presence and proliferation of green spaces, especially parks, within London's city limits.

Through my research I found that the broad topic of green spaces paired with London's immense defies simple explanation. As alternative to this seemingly insurmountable dilemma, breaking down to narrative of a single aspect or perspective, focusing on the shifting justification for green space in the evolving cityscape. In working on the project, I noticed over time even as opinions and the ways people use public green space change, the central definition for green space remains constant and ever a necessary component of the city.
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Activity Journal

Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and the British Library

Monday, May 8th, 2017

Today, as a whole group London HUA group, we visited Westminster Abby. I was taken aback by the sheer number of notable and famous figures interned all within the Abbey's walls. The scale of how much history is concentrated in such a place is nothing sort of remarkable. A place where royal marriages occur mere feet from the graves of the likes of Chaucer and Newton.
The Tower of London, specifically the White Tower within, holds the title of London’s oldest standing building. Despite this, or maybe as a result, the building itself seems to almost meld with the landscape. Nearly one thousand years old now, this ancient work of Norman architecture serves as a beautiful juxtaposition against the post-modern design of the city surrounding it.
Upon entering the doors of the The British Library, the eye is drawn the library’s crowning centerpiece, The King’s Library. A massive column of an uncountable number of books upon books dated centuries old. A monument to preservation as well as exhibition, this display remains behind thick glass and locked doors as if to all at once tempt and deny such knowledge.

British Museum

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

The British Museum’s entrance itself seems to command some classical authority with its Greek inspired mausoleum front entrance. Boasting exhibits across the worlds ancient cultures to exhibits on modern issues, The British Museum deftly and beautifully captures a monumental swath of human history. Nowhere is this more clear than in the museums "Enlightenment Room." Essentially a glorified hallway with the width of a small ballroom, literary works and art from around the world over the 18th century line the museum's enlightenment room's walls. Pieces and works of all kinds in the vein of enlightenment values of a broader worldly understanding emphasize a unique time when the concept of worldly awareness and recording came to global conscience. Ancient atlases, artifacts from distant trade, and art of all types dominate the space to a point that visitors can't help but be totally enveloped in the wonder of human achievement all cooped up in one room.

Saint Paul's Cathedral

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

Saint Paul’s Cathedral, as a whole, felt more like a quaint amalgamation of a gallery as well as a cathedral. Art pieces from sculptures to murals to video installations punctuate Saint Paul’s, filling up and adding to an otherwise empty space. These works help bring the cathedral to the modern day in tackling modern issues of immigration, world conflict, and climate change. At the same time as the cathedral exhibits the work of others, the building itself stands as a gorgeous piece of art all its own. Remarkable engineering and inspiring design choices like the cathedral’s Baroque Architecture.

National Gallery

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

The National Gallery presents an almost Alice-in-wonderland-esque experience of artistic exploration. Working down from the top floor, works from artists like Leonardo De Vinci and Raphael blend into Claude and Titan into Monet and Van Gogh. An almost spiritual silence exists around the works in the National Gallery, which only serves to benefit all those involved. In touring the gallery, I found myself getting lost, quite literally. The Gallery as a whole allows for the slow digestion of how painting and sculpture metamorphosed with the renaissance and movements like impressionism and pointillism. Because of how gigantic the gallery's collection is, the experience as a whole benefits from not simply rushing through every exhibit to see the most art pieces possible. In touring, I felt almost like I was visiting an elaborate indoor park catered by the greatest works of the greatest painters of their time.

Natural History Museum

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Walking through the front doors of London's Natural History Museum seemed to transport me back to the visits to the Science Museum back in home in Saint Paul, Minnesota. A clear hands-on experience is encouraged in every single one of the Natural History Museum's exhibits. Whether to simulate how tectonic plates shift and cause earthquakes or to examine what factors account of the formation and stability of a ecosystem's watershed, the museum makes certain there is an interactive component to education within its walls. Designed for energetic infants to curious elderly, The Natural History Museum welcomes all those who seek to share in the science and the knowledge spanning its colossal range of subjects. The museum contains exhibits on the following (just to name a few): Marine biology, prehistoric zoology, ornithology, earth science, human history, and geology.

Tate Britain

Monday, May 15th, 2017

Tate Britain seeks to concisely consolidate art history from the fifteen hundreds to present day. While efficiently conveying art's turbulent change and reshaping over the last five-hundred years seems an almost insurmountable task, Tate Britain proves more than capable of getting the job done. walking to the end of Tate Britain's central hallway, by tracing a path in an anti-clockwise direction follows the arrow of time starting in the year of our lord 1500. The biggest jump in style can be undisputedly experienced with the turning of the new millennium. Realism gently paired with abstraction muddies into self-aware pure abstraction. For better or worse, walking with the flow of time informs a more complete experience than any one single exhibit could convey. The whole gallery as a whole becomes an almost meta work of art about the art itself.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

The Victoria and Albert Museum prides itself as a hub of art and style from the medieval to modern age. This museum did a elegant job of dividing exhibit along lines of culture, technique, and age. Yet, the building remarkably remains consistent in its method of presentation, with modern pieces receiving no more of a spotlight than more elderly pieces or visa versa.

I was particularly drawn to the unique architecture exhibit. Just as a result of how immense and all-emcompassing architecture is as an art form, museums or places similar often have a difficult time displaying architecture in a closed exhibition room. The V&A comes to a balanced compromise between a purely outside or inside experience by propping up elements of historic buildings like doors and pillars along side an architecture photo gallery. These photographs were taken soon after practical photography became more readily available and people were drawn to capture architecture of the day and past in hopes of securing a preservation of these sites. Old German castle ruins to London streets are captured alike on the faded film.

Tate Modern

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

An overbearing modern sentiment purveys every inch of Tate Modern. The central room of Tate Modern harkens back to the style of a industrial warehouse devoid of art or ornamentation. Overall, I felt this gallery's out and inward appearance exuded a brutal sense of taking art as seriously as possible. However, I was delighted to find a excited curiosity to every exhibit I had time to visit. One thing I really enjoy about modern art as an experience is the genre as a whole demands a response as much as its pieces. Tate Modern may not be for everyone, but it remains a place were questions continue to be raised and difficult conversations are shared across people of all kinds.

Museum of London

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Proving highly self-explanatory, the Museum of London documents and guides visitors through the history of London. Working of fossil records and pre-history artifacts, the Museum of London's top floor dedicated to detailing human life on the land that would become London and its growth through roman invasion and medieval England into the renaissance. The bottom floor documents the economic, fashion, and political changes from the 1840s to 2013. As a whole, this museum offers a well crafted retrospective on what lead to what is now the city of London.

Museum of London Docklands

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

Along the River Thames, The Museum of London Docklands, like the Museum of London itself, commits itself the exposé of London's complex rich past. Very similar to the Museum of London, we toured the place in following in chronological order staring with the first port on the Thames in Roman times. The museum caught us up all the way to the Seventies when the central London docks closed and transformed into the area it is today, with the development of commercial and residential buildings. Like most of the site we've visited so far, the museum of did a fine job at getting a large amount of information in an entertaining enough way as to not resemble a lecture.

Imperial War Museum

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Finding the Imperial War Museum feels like a journey all itself. Surrounded in tall trees and grass compose an almost pseudo-park around the entirety of the Museum, with the top of the building's dome just barely peeking over the tallest of trees. Entering through the front entrance of the museum was daunting to say the least. Two absolutely gigantic naval cannons point outward from the front entrance. Apparently actually used put on display after being commissioned and used in both world wars on British naval battleships, the two goliaths of military intimidation almost seem to ironically incise and encourage a closer look.

The museum itself has four floors full of war artifacts and exhibits mainly oriented around the two world wars, including a holocaust and a family in wartime exhibit. Approaching the staircase from the entrance down the central first floor, a vast array of wartime fighter jets across from to WWI to modern day flanked by WWII bombs used against London along with military land vehicles jutting from the balconies of the floors above. I thought the museum preserved spectacle along with the visceral realities of war in the attitudes of its exhibits. the family in wartime exhibit specifically tackles the london experience of the second world war as an un-compromised microcosm from the perspective of a humble single family. While tough to get through, every exhibit presented its subject matter with respect and successfully portrayed not only the facts of wartime but the emotion as well.

Hampton Court Palace

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Awestruck probably serves as a fair description of my impression after visiting Hampton Court Palace. The palace kept me throughly impressed for the entire extent of the visit. Once our group arrived, we all picked up handheld audio tour guides to help us navigate the expanse of the palace. Despite, or possibly in spite of, how large and grandiose the palace appeared from the outside, I wasn't so sure the rooms within the building would have enough to make it worth exploring. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that each room had plenty of rich history of the art displayed, and the work done, and people who lived in the palace. My personal favorite rooms include the royal chocolate room and the palace kitchens.

The palace audio guides gave us a lot of specific information regarding the places we visited. We learned that the royal chocolate maker apparently worked for two consecutive kings over the course of several decades. An odd detail was that chocolate was served almost exclusively in the form of what could be described as very strong hot chocolate. The palace's kitchens span the entire front left perimeter buildings of the reception courtyard. Apparently food historians continue to use these medieval kitchen rooms to prepare food as they were back in the time of the palaces operation under the monarchy. When we entered the cooking room where the meat is prepared, an overwhelming smell of smoke permitted the entirety of the building as a man slowly cooked what appeared to be two large pieces of ham over a massive fireplace. In order to accommodate for the absurd amount guests the palace would routinely host, these kitchens would have to run like clockwork with upwards of five spits loaded with meat weighing as much as the men who tended them across all the kitchens fireplaces. It was fascinating to even consider the ridiculous amount of planning and work that had to go into simply running the palace on a day to day basis back in the day.

Lastly, we visited the unbelievable beautiful gardens behind the palace. The main backyard palace garden cuts itself with five spokes branching outwards from the back entrance of the palace. Covered in neatly trimmed grass and lush meticulously managed bushes and trees, the gardens resembled an almost nature persevere rather than a backyard. From what we had time to explore, we saw a group of what we thought were deer, tropical trees, stunning mad-made lakes, and the worlds largest grapevine. Hampton Court Palaces manages to preserve history while at the same time continuing to excel at spectacle.

Horniman Museum

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Humble and honest, the Horniman Museum never claims to be more than what its is, a gallery of objects from ancient pianos to preserved horse skulls available to the public for all those curious enough to visit. The first room we visited was a space completely and utterly dedicated to one singular purpose: to display in utter glory the dead bodies of animals of all shapes and sizes. Dead voles to a stuffed tiger, the Horseman Museum makes sure its visitors get a close and personal look at the animal kingdom post-mortem. Glass cases and metal wires delicately arrange animals of different kingdoms, species, and genus. Funnily enough, our group came to the conclusion that this museum seemed like the perfect place for small children. Ironically enough, as we left the exhibit, a stampeding gang of what appeared to be first or second graders pushed past us to get to see all the animals the museum would let them stare at before lunch time.

The other main exhibit free to the public was the musical instrument exhibit. As straight forward as the animal one a floor above, the exhibit consisted of metal stands and glass cases showcasing the multitude of instruments the world has to offer. Tiny tin shakers to ancient harpsichords, the exhibit accomplishes its task of exhibition nicely and without complaint. After having visited all the museum had to offer, our group decided to explore the sizable park surrounding the museum. Besides a beautiful view of the London skyline, a impressive gazebo, and a quaint garden, the park seemed like just a nice place to spend a summer day.

The Wallace Collection

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

The Wallace Collection imposes itself over the space of entire street block. Previously a townhouse of one Richard Wallace, the collection resembles Hampton Court Palace more than other collections we've seen. The experience as a whole reminded and felt like to me a very fancy house party, with much less food and people and more art and sculptures. Highlights from the visited included the extensive medieval armor and weapon rooms. One room housed a entire full body knight armor set riding a fully armored horse model, a scene that managed to take up most of the entire room. Besides old portraits and rococo fixings and furniture, the most engaging part of the Wallace Collection for myself was the design aspects seen in the collections lower levels. Busts that utilized different types of stone and materials to recreate a person's likeness in color littered the basement level of the collection. A particularly interesting room studied how armor, weapons, art, and architecture were efficiently reproduced in England's middle ages.

London Science Museum

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

The London Science Museum, just off the aptly named Exhibition Road, can be found right next to previous museums we've visited on this trip including the Victoria and Albert Museum and Natural History Museum. Similar to both of those, the London Science Museum appears at first glance a fairly modest museum with a manageable handful of exhibits. However, I'm positive I could have spent my entire day within the science museum's wall without fully exploring all that was available to explore. And that is just what is free to visit to the public. Exhibits ranged from steam powered engines to early biology to material science and all the way to space science. I found myself especially draw to the information age section of the museum that specialized in compartmentalizing the ways by which technology of all types evolved to what they are today. Cellphones, Radio, Television, the Internet, and more, each with its own corner full of old and fairly new artifacts. The room reminded me of the enlightenment room in the British Museum in its attempt to capture and define a generation of science and advancement all in a finite space for glass cases and information plaques.

Romeo and Juliet at the Globe Theater

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

As a whole, spending the evening at the Globe Theater was a memorable to say the least. Priding itself as a more contemporary performance of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, experience as a whole never failed to be entertaining. I had the unfortunate realization that I had left my ticket for the show at the flats only upon arriving at the gates. Luckily, we had left for the show uncharacteristically and unintentionally early, which left we with 45 minutes to sprint back to the bus station and pray that I had enough time to get back. By some miracle, I was able to make it back to the entrance with a good thee minutes to spare. However in the time between my frantic beeline home and my return, what started out as light drizzling over our heads had transformed into large drops of slow rain. For better or worse, our seat had us right on the edge of the stage, forming something of a mosh pit. Unfortunately, the shape of the globe theater resembles a large donut from bird's-eye-view, with a small roof covering most of the stage but none of where we all were standing. To make matters worse, once the production actually started, the rainy evening decided to kick it up an notch, committing itself into a full on downpour, poised to soak us to the bone.

Most of us had brought light jackets or had bought thin white ponchos but no one had prepared for the sheer torrent of water that dropped on us over the first act. Despite the apparent unpleasantness of the situation, I was able to actually really enjoy most of the first half of the show when I could hear it through the storm. Luckily, the downpour let up through the end of the first act and showed little sign of coming back. Left slightly soaked and chilled as the sun set, the intermission helped everyone prepare to really enjoy the show, as anyone still left standing clearly felt committed to seeing the performance to its end. The performance itself was incredible. From my impression of the show, the show felt as though it combined elements of cirque du soleil with Shakespearean vocabulary. A little over-the-top at points, I thought though that the play overall was pretty original and charming in its liberties from the original script as well as its faithfulness to it. Modern references paired with Shakespearean prose mixed surprisingly well. In the end I felt the performance and experience around it were unforgettable to say the least.

Stonehenge and Bath

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

I had never experienced a bus tour before this trip, so I went into this day-long tour of England with low expectations and blind eyes. I can say with confidence that today, June 8th, was the best day spent in England so far. Our guide, Andrew was the best person to have along our trip possible. He brought humor and knowledge to the trip in a very self-aware way. He genuinely took time to make sure all of us got the most out of each location we visited. As a supervisor to the bus tour as a whole, Andrew did an impeccable job at keeping the mood light and playful, while simultaneously respectful and thoughtful.

The first site we visited was Stonehenge. I really enjoyed how the attitude around the stones themselves was to successfully convince visitors that the stones were more than just...well, stones. Some admittedly mucky weather failed to ruin our visit to the stones, setting an almost eerie vibe around such ancient and massive rocks. After grabbing some hot chocolate on our way back on the bus, we headed off towards the city of Bath.
Entering Bath felt like going through the wardrobe into Narnia. Climbing a steep pass and defending a sharp hill, the way to Bath felt like an adventure all itself. The roman architecture and lush green backdrop reminded me of a beautiful city in Italy rather than England. Once a city committed to luxury of the English aristocracy, the city of Bath seems to be a careful combination of equal parts quaint and posh. From the restaurants, to the cathedral, to the baths themselves, Everyone was taken in by the wonder of Bath's charm.

Windsor Castle

Monday, June 12th, 2017

The first thing that stuck me when we arrived at the castle gates was the peculiar proximity to city life. Off all the palaces and castles we have been graced to visit over this trip, no other one lied so close to stone cobbled city streets. As a residence for the Queen, however, I absolutely understand the convenience such a location provides. I'm fairly certain the Queen lives closer to a McDonnell's than I do back home in Saint Paul, MN. Besides this closeness, entering the castle felt like stepping into a compartmentalized town. The place was littered with gorgeous gardens and medieval castle turrets. After visiting only a little over two weeks ago, a comparison between Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace is impossible to resist. Most likely a result of a large part of the castle still in use by the royal family, the tour of the castle's facilities was fairly straightforward and didn't take too long. Within an hour, most of the group had completed a full visit of what Windsor had to offer. I would never say the visit was anything near boring or too short. I think after so many visits to museums, galleries, palaces, and performances, Windsor Castle served as a well-paced sweet cherry on top of a full London experience.

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