On Tuesday 14th March, GCSE Art students from Year 10 and 11 travelled to London to explore architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts. The aim of the trip was enhance the students’ knowledge in ‘sensing spaces’, the theme of the exhibition at the Royal Academy, whilst hopefully inspiring them for their individual projects back in the classroom.

After a traffic-laden journey into the centre of London (made a lot more entertaining by the ‘tour-guide-in-the-making’ bus driver), we arrived at Westminster Abbey, bustling with tourists. We quickly set out taking photos along the Thames and the streets leading to Trafalgar Square, to develop our projects. When we arrived at Trafalgar Square, it was decided that a snack break was necessary. Trafalgar Square was, surprisingly, packed with wildlife and animals – flocks of strutting pigeons, eager to snatch scraps of food off unsuspecting tourists; two Harris Hawks that hurtled from pillar to post and back again, manoeuvring their way through the human obstacles; and a rather domesticated ferret on the end of a lead, being walked by its owner through the crowds of puzzled, yet amused, passers-by.

After this zoological detour, we headed for the Royal Academy of Arts, a short walk away, focused on art once more. On arrival, we were greeted by our tour guides who led us through the exhibition: a display of multiple rooms re-imagined using the skills of multiple architecture firms from around the world. Due to the variations in culture and country, the resulting spaces were diverse and unique – a room full of crafted bamboo created by a Japanese architect; a threatening but adventurous over-sized tree house made of wood; a depressing and shadow-filled room, contrasting nicely with the open and light-filled room that lay adjacent; and an empty archway, relying on visitors to place coloured straws in holes to bring the room to life. It was the interactive nature of the exhibition that made it so memorable, making you think about a more varied range of senses – not just sight, but also touch and sound.