Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Researching Covent Garden - Assignment 3, Buildings in use

Well, Covent Garden has a reputation for its colourful market and very colourful street performers. I found out it really started in the 1660's for the market but it used to be a food market rather than merchandise or restaurants. The food market kept on expanding until it filled the whole square. However when the food market was moved in 1974 the square was rejuvinated. Then it became famous for merchandise and restaurants and also of course for the street performers. Notably, tourists are a major influx to Covent Garden as it is one of the most famous attractions around London. I made a note to be aware of how many (or few) tourists would be desirable in the photographs I produced.

   As far as architecture of Covent Garden went, many of the buildings are original from the 1630's but there are also many newer ones after the rejuvination. Also, interestingly, Covent Garden was the first square to be made public in the country. It was designed with straight lines being the priority by Inigo Jones and the streets around the square reflected this. The main building was erected in 1830 by Charles Fowler with the glass roof of the piazza being put up later in the 1870's. I decided to remember what I had learnt from the 'Spaces and light project as the glass roof might create interesting lighting at different times of the day.

   I was familiar mostly with the 'Apple Market' before this research- which sells a variety of goods like antiques, handmade clothing and craft items. From a photography perspective including this would add a lot of extra interest to the space by including some of these goods in one of the photographs. Other parts to Covent Garden included the 'Jubilee Market' where all sorts of mainly tourist-based merchandise were sold. Then there was the main square where at least one street performer performed per day.

   From my experiences with Covent Garden (I had visited many times already in the past) I knew the markets were quite cramped and often full with tourists so this was a factor for consideration but I was also well aware how colourful and vibrant the place could be with the street performers in particular and also the clothes markets. So the place was both cramped usually (which I felt added some charm) and lively, therefore in my opinion fulfilling its main objective nowadays - to act as an attraction for tourists or city-goers and to sell food and clothing.

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