Yale student Kate McMillan took part in the RIBA-led exploration of a Victorian masterpiece of architecture and engineering. Read her account of the workshop… 

Material from the RIBA's collection used in the workshop

Material from the RIBA’s collection used in the workshop: The interior of Barlow’s train shed and working drawings for Sir George Gilbert Scott’s St Pancras station and the Midland Grand Hotel.
Images from RIBApix
© RIBA Library Photographs Collection / RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections

Here in London, great architecture is all around us. All you have to do is walk outside, and you might find a Gothic arch, Neoclassical column, or Victorian window staring down from one of the many notable buildings, or perhaps nestled more discreetly on the façade of a lesser-known home or shop. Last Saturday, 8 June, members of the public were invited to dig deeper into one of London’s great structures – St. Pancras station – through a hands-on workshop exploring its history and design.

At the RIBA

Workshop leader Viyki Turnbull, Education Room

Workshop leader Viyki Turnbull, Education Room, RIBA, 66 Portland Place
© Kate McMillan / RIBA, British Architectural Library

Participants stepped into the Education Room of 66 Portland Place to discover a wide assortment of periodicals, books and drawings from the RIBA’s collections waiting for them. Some of the books were so old that they were surprised when workshop leader Viyki Turnbull heartily encouraged them to “Touch! Touch!” Through a close-up investigation of these original 19th-century documents, participants were given a chance to see St. Pancras station in the context in which it was made.

Participants drawing and exploring material from the RIBA collections, Education Room

Participants drawing and exploring material from the RIBA collections, Education Room
© Kate McMillan / RIBA, British Architectural Library

Before heading off to St. Pancras station, participants experimented with drawing tricks and techniques to create the variety of forms that would be seen at the station, including arches, circles, and floors in perspective. From the looks of the work produced, they got the hang of it pretty fast!

At St Pancras station 

With the exception of a little breeze, the London weather was its typical self – clear sky, radiating sun, perfect temperature (okay, maybe not so typical) – participants headed outside for a spectacular view of the station’s exterior. With over an hour of explorations with the RIBA’s collections under their belts, participants needed little instruction before they were on their way with their own observational drawings.

Workshop participant sketching, St Pancras station

Workshop participant sketching, St Pancras station
© Kate McMillan / RIBA, British Architectural Library

When 4.30pm rolled along, it was incredible to see what had been created in so little time. While there were differences in the scope and style of the drawings – some participants focused on detailed close-up arches, while others tackled sketches of the entire façade – all of the pieces had in common the care to the composition as a whole. Everyone enjoyed sharing their work and seeing what each other had captured – it was clear that everyone had produced something of value and had fun doing it. Take a look – what do you think?

Workshop participants sketching, St Pancras station

Workshop participants sketching, St Pancras station
© Kate McMillan / RIBA, British Architectural Library

Drawings created by workshop participants

Drawings created by workshop participants
© Kate McMillan / RIBA, British Architectural Library

By Kate McMillan

The next workshop, Explore & Draw: Sky-walks & Slab blocks, will take place on Saturday 13 July 2013. Booking essential.

 

About Wilson Yau
I work for the British Architectural Library at the RIBA as part of a team to share news, images and information online about the activities of the Library and the fascinating items we have in our architectural collections – it contains over four million items, so there's plenty to see! If you’re curious about what we do at the Library and with the collections, or want to discover the latest about our education programmes, public events and exhibitions at the RIBA, please visit www.architecture.com

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1 Comment
  1. sofyan

    June 21, 2013

    waw so good..

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