Day 10: August 17, 2010

Going to Oxford on our last day was a good way to end the trip. The beautiful little town had many interesting sights to see. Oxford University is made up of many different colleges, it is over 800 years old. Christ Church is the largest college, and the location of many of the scenes shown in the Harry Potter movies, such as the grand dining hall. The Bodleian Library houses all of the books published by the Oxford Press. It extends below the campus and a mile's worth of books are added each year. Another interesting fact is that the expression “up in his ivory tower” comes from the two white towers where graduate students study.
Next we visited Blenheim Palace which houses the Duke of Marlborough. The construction of this beautiful palace started in 1705, after the first Duke of Marlborough successfully won the Battle of Blenheim. It took 28 years to complete the construction. The wonderful room that contains the Duke's library is the second longest room in England. We also visited the room where Sir Winston Churchill was born, however he never became the Duke of Marlborough, his cousin was the next heir. The natural-looking but beautiful gardens were designed by Capability Brown. We enjoyed getting lost in the maze created by yew trees, it was actually pretty hard!
A short bus ride led us to Sir Winston Churchill's burial site at St. Martin's Church in Bladon. He and his wife Clementine are marked by a simple grave among other family members. We could see that people still pay homage to Churchill for all of this accomplishments.
We are sad that our trip is coming to an end, but it has been a memorable study abroad trip that we cannot wait to tell our families and friends about. We definitely have learned a lot and will be able to use this experience in our careers. Before we head back home tomorrow, we have some free time to finish up last minute tourism and shopping and to make sure we enjoy some fish and chips!

Day 9: August 16, 2010

Eddie Coryn, Brittany Scherer, David Shirley, Kendall Troesch, and Ross Wagner
We spent our second to last day in London with the geotechnical and environmental company, Fugro. We had multiple presentations in the morning by representatives of the company. Two of the projects Fugro is involved with are Crossrail and Thames Tideway Tunnels. They are collecting soil samples with boring machines for both projects. After a good lunch, we went around the corner to Paddington Station where two crews were boring samples for the Crossrail project. We then jumped on a classic red double-decker bus and took a scenic route across town to the laboratory where employees were categorizing and recording the soil samples. After the lab, we went to the Thames to observe a jack-up barge.
To top off a great day, we had a delicious dinner at Simpsons on the Strand, a very famous restaurant in London. They served traditional fare of English beef roast that was shared in the presence of wonderful company. Thank you Fugro for an informative and enjoyable day in London.

Day 7 & 8: August 14-15, 2010

The students had a free weekend. A blog was not required for these dates.

Day 6: August 13, 2010

Boiler Earthworks:

Nick Tremmel – Civil Materials, Nina Klepczarek – CEM, Patrick Sarbieski – CEM, Patrick O’Malley – Civil Structures, Alex Vaughan – Civil Structures

August 13, 2010 marks our 6th complete day in London. After spending a very educational and rewarding day with Bechtel yesterday, we had the opportunity to meet with Bechtel again this morning. Approaching the St. Pancras railway station we were struck by the extravagant Victorian gothic structure that once was the Midland Grand Hotel. The hotel, now titled the St. Pancras Chambers, has undergone renovations to bring it to a five star caliber rating. Rounding the corner of the hotel, we were able to see as the Barlow Shed, constructed in 1868, blended with a newly constructed bay to form the St. Pancras International railway station. Part of the structure of the Barlow Shed had to be re-worked to provide a usable space after the renovation. The Shed consists of 25 wrought iron arches that span the length of the station – at the time of construction, the largest single span roof and enclosed space. These arches were kept in place with the help of a 2000 iron girder floor resting on cast iron columns.

Upon being shuffled inside we were exposed to a scale model of a planned construction for a 68 acre development of the Camden and Islington boroughs. The development features the construction of 50 new buildings, 2000 new homes, railway expansions, retail space as well as several other areas. The privately funded project has a planned completion date of 2020 and has really jumped on the back of the 2012 Olympic Games. The Games are going to bring a significant amount of people into the city and the boroughs mentioned are in need of a serious overhaul. Across the street from the St. Pancras station, the Kings Cross station can be seen already under construction. The station is receiving an expansion that will be complete just in time for the games. The games are expected to bring in 50 million passengers over the course of the summer. King’s Cross is in no way fit to currently accommodate this amount of travelers; however, the expansions will fix this problem. The rest of the construction obviously will not be, but the owners hope that the games will bring an increase of positive publicity for the developing area. The millions of people who come through the area in 2012 will hopefully view the models and understand that the area will soon grow into a flourishing community.
After parting ways with the Bechtel group, we met with CH2M Hill representatives for a discussion of their involvement in the 2012 Olympic Infrastructure, Crossrail infrastructure, and Thames Tideway project. The Crossrail project is currently the largest construction project in Europe. The challenges that CH2M Hill is considering a related to keeping London open and operating throughout construction of the Crossrail, delivering the project on-cost and under budget, target zero safety, and interfacing with the partners. For every £1 spent, it is estimated that £2.60 will be earned (a total of £36 Billion over 20 years).

Next they spoke about the Olympics. Consisting of 10 venues and 3,000 residential units, the 618 acres of the Olympic site are being developed at a cost of £9.3 Billon. It was stated that 750,000 m3 of contaminated soil were washed to prepare the site for development. The development of the site will contribute to the rehabilitation of East London. In an effort of sustainable practices, many of the buildings have ‘Legacy’ designs; this allows buildings to be partially or completely dismantled to reduce operating costs and waste. It was also mentioned that there will be well over 50,000 m2 of studio space will be constructed for the press covering the Olympics. Some of the challenges mentioned included a 50% sustainable material transport quota, the possibility of discovering unexploded ordinance, and working with many stakeholders.

The final project mentioned was the Thames Tideway. The owner of this contract is Thames Water, the largest wastewater services provider in the UK. The Tideway is estimated to be over 30km long with a diameter of 7.2m at a depth of 45m – 75m depth. This tunnel is expected to reduce 39 million cubic meters of sewage currently estimated to be discharged into the Thames in an average year.

Following the presentations, we spent the evening with a few Boilermaker Alums in a local pub. The drinks were good; the food was great, and the company even better. The pub was located in an alley that was used in the filming of some scenes in the Harry Potter Movies.

Today provided even more opportunities for networking and was a solid day to end our first week in London. The end of the Alumni event was the beginning of the group’s free weekend. The group split with some students remaining in London and traveling to Dover, others traveling to Amsterdam, while still a third group travelled to Paris, France.

Boiler Up!

Day 5: August 12, 2010

 Justin Smith, Erika Donaubauer, Jeremy Horwitz, Drew Wolfred, and Michael Bensdorf

Today was our fifth day in London and we spent the day being shown about by Bechtel. The morning started out by taking the underground out a direction we had never gone before, it is somewhat overwhelming that no matter how many different directions you go on and how many different train lines you take, there’s always another corner of London you have never seen. We arrived at the Crossrail headquarters, which was a bit overwhelming at first because it was arranged in a financial district and within the same building as the European headquarters of Visa. This meant that it took about 30 minutes to get through security with your newly made picture security ID badges. Once we were inside we were given a presentation on the Crossrail project.

The Crossrail project was quite a surprise. It is a 15.9 billion pound project but yet not one of us had heard of the project. It will require 94,000,000 man-hours and roughly seven more years to complete. It consists of seventy miles of track and twenty-one kilometers of tunnels and it is currently the largest infrastructure project being built in Europe. The logistics of this project were mind boggling and consisted of complications between existing railings, stations, utilities, and countless unexpected conditions. They reported that approximated a third of the utilities encountered in the constructed were unreported by previous records. While these utilities were normally dead and did not present a terrible challenge overall, they took time nonetheless.

We then walked over to Paddington Station and were presented with the primary purposes of the current project at the station including the reallocation of the taxi ramps so they could allow for the construction of the new Crossrail station. We were then shown a demolition project of a building where the Tottenham Court Road station’s entrance will eventually be built. The project was being performed by hand-demolition in order to save the Victorian Era bricks that go for 1 pound each as well as to keep the noise levels down. The bricks are just one example of the intricacies of projects like this. Literally every single brick in the structure of a demolition is considered.

At this point we were given a little “job” to do by answering a question about the largest risks and issues associated with the Crossrail project. We came up with several including safety, sustainability, demolition, 2012 Olympics, logistics, and integrity/reputation and then presented them to the rest of the group. The functions manager of Bechtel Civil Division, the Graduate Coordinator, and the manager of the Gatwick Airport project then gave us presentations.

We then had drinks and dinner with some of the select Bechtel executives and it was a delicious feast to say the least. It was really an invaluable experience for all of us. Even before dinner actually began we arranged in a room for a reception. This was great because it was our first opportunity to really interact with professionals on a level that would typically be impossible in business settings. In all honesty some of the biggest benefits we experienced tonight were being able to talk to the professionals we had met about aspects of the engineering, living in a different country, working globally, etc. on a more personal level. Some younger employees of Bechtel were in attendance which was absolutely great, it really gave us an insight and contact to get a better understanding of what its like to be immersed in a global engineering environment at a young age.

Today was an incredible opportunity to experience what it is like to really be involved in an enormous global engineering project. Not just in the office and conference room, but also on the job site, on the move through a busy metropolis, and most importantly as a potential client, colleague, superiors, and countless other possible future contacts.

Day 4: August 11, 2010

Jeff Klenk, Marc Parker, Sean Hankins, Kevin Nuendank, Megan Mockbee

- This morning we began with presentations from every group about different historical sites that we have or will be seeing during our trip. Each group presented the engineering problems as well as achievements that influenced not only engineering in the United Kingdom but as well as globally.

- After the presentations we all went down to the tube and took to the Dockland Light Rail out to East London, which is the location of the main Olympic sites. We meet with Louise Stanley, a communication representative for CLM

- CLM is a joint venture between CH2M Hill, Chaingo Roqrke, Mace. CLM is the Project Manager of the Olympic build, while the ODA (Olympic Delivery Authority) is the client, with contracts being handed out to tier 1 contractors.

- The buildings that we saw on the guided tour of the construction site included

o The Olympic Stadium

 The above ground section of the stadium was designed as a temporary structure that can be removed after the games

o Velodrome

 The velodrome will have 2 separate HVAC systems

o Aquatic Center

 Has 2 temporary “wings” to increase capacity

o Olympic Village

 To be transformed into affordable housing after the Olympics

o International Media Center

 Only structure to be provided a parking garage for the games.

o Onsite Concrete Batch Plant

 To decrease cost of project as well as meet sustainability goals.

o Pump Station

 Worked past blueprints into façade of outside concrete finished walls

- The Olympic project was created as a Demolish, Dig, Design. Demolish - they demolished everything on site and we able to recycle 96% of the waste into the project. Dig – they had to clean the contaminated soil as well as clean up any waste that was left from demolition. Design – the design process would allow for use of the Olympic buildings after the completion of the Olympics, and they are currently in the Big Build phase.

- The whole Olympic Site measures a total of 500 acres and there are only 2 entrances on and off site, with a total of 10,000 workers per day.

- At the end of the day, we had the opportunity to walk London as dusk while learning about Jack the Ripper. The whole of East London was terrorized throughout the 1800s with the brutal murder of 5 women that was never solved.

Day 3: August 10, 2010

POW Engineering

David Canada – Emphasis: Architectural, Graduation Date: May 2011

Tyler Diercks– Emphasis: Structural, Graduation Date: May 2012

Justin Hess– Emphasis: Environmental, Graduation Date: May 2011

Todd Magiera– Emphasis: Hydraulics, Graduation Date: May 2011

Gina Whetstone– Emphasis: Structural, Graduation Date: December 2010

Tuesday August 10, 2010
Our first tour of the day was of the Westminster Abbey, which is the same church that our team (Purdue Olympic Worldwide Engineering, aka POW! Engineering) will be presenting through "Project 2" on Wednesday, August 11th. That being said, our group has done previous research on the Abbey, and I think upon visiting the Abbey the first thing that needs to be mentioned is that online images do not do justice to the beauty of the church. Our perceptions of its magnitude and the brilliance of its architecture can only be appreciated by visiting this world wonder in person.

But before going into all that, the Abbey is world renowned because, with only a couple of exceptions, the Abbey is the coronation site of England's Queens and Kings. In addition, it is also the burial site of a great number of these Queens and Kings, as well as other persons who were of royal stature at the time of their demise. On top of this, it houses a deep historical account of England's history, displayed through its memorials of over 3000 persons and tombs of people who played a role in shaping the country and world.

The 30 students were separated into two tours of the Abbey, with Susanna and Sean as their guides (our team had Sean, a very comical and informative guide from Scotland). Sean walked our group through the history displayed by the brilliant architecture outside and inside the Abbey. The attention paid to detail in the architecture of both the Abbey's structure as well as all of its tombs are beautiful, to say the least. The time consumption of such tasks is simply dumbfounding; the structures were built strictly by manual labor (we will say structures as plural because the Abbey was first built in 1065, and since then has been subject to additions and rebuilds). Engineering aspects of the Abbey include the load-bearing flying buttresses and the fan vault pendant ceiling of the Lady Chapel, which was described by Sean as “lacework in stone”.

Rather than go into the history of London revealed within the confines of the Abbey, perhaps it would be best to suggest that it is a must visit. It is an optimal example of Gothic architecture and represents the intricate design of all the architects who employed their time to its shrines and structures.

After a very grey and rainy morning the clouds parted for a lovely and dry afternoon stroll from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace then onto the Thames River. Horse Guards Road was utilized to lead the group past many monumental parliament locations, including but not limited to The Cabinet War Rooms, The Churchill Museum, Downing Street (where the Prime Minster resides), and Her Majesty’s Treasury. After a brief history lesson, we marveled at the brilliant color schemes of the flowered areas and landscaping as we continued onto Buckingham Palace through St. James’s Garden.

After the walk in St. James Park we headed over to Buckingham Palace. It was an absolutely amazing place. If you are walking down the main street directly towards the palace you will first see a huge monument for Queen Victoria. This structure was erected in 1901, the same year the Queen had passed away, as a tribute to her.

Buckingham Palace was originally built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham as a townhouse. However in 1837 it finally became the official royal palace for the British monarch. The first monarch to live in it permanently was Queen Victoria. This is also where the Queen conducts all her daily business. Unfortunately, we were not able to see the Changing of the Guards. In August, the guards only change every other day because the Queen is on holiday during this month.

Upon arrival to the Thames River, one of the first structures to catch one’s attention was the London Eye. The tallest Ferris wheel in Europe and the tallest cantilevered Ferris wheel in the world, measuring at 443 feet tall. The Ferris wheel has 32 egg shaped capsules that fits 25 people per capsule and takes half an hour for one complete revolution. At a price of 17 pounds per person this attraction draws in quite a large sum of money. We found that the wheel itself is supported in a unique fashion, the cantilever method, which produces an illusion of the wheel resembling a bicycle frame and tire. It is absolutely an engineering marvel, unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

After viewing the London Eye, we proceeded to take a boat ride down the Thames River through the heart of Westminster and the City of London. Although the ride only lasted about a half hour, we were able to see many sites and buildings that play a vital role in London’s rich history. One of the first landmarks we passed was a train station that was architecturally designed in such a way that the façade of the building appeared to be a train emerging from the subway.

We went under the Waterloo Bridge, which was interestingly comprised of self-cleaning stone. The rain water thoroughly rinses the stone, and the effectiveness of this low-maintenance design was evident as we passed under the bridge and saw the stained and weathered stone where the rain did not reach. This was likely the most direct example of sustainable design out of the sites we have toured so far.

One of the most recognizable buildings that we passed was St. Paul’s Cathedral which was designed by Christopher Wren. This cathedral was also the site of Prince Charles’ and Princess Diana’s wedding. London’s oldest cathedral, the Southwark Cathedral, which resides in close proximity to the oldest bridge on the Thames, was also a prominent site along the river bend.

The last two bridges of the trip were the London Bridge and the Tower Bridge. The London Bridge proved to be the biggest disappointment of the ride, as it was very bland and seemed to be no different than any of the other bridges we had passed under. The Tower Bridge however, was magnificent! Opened in 1894, the Tower Bridge has a steel structure under the intricate stonework appearing in the bridge’s two towers. At first we assumed that the Tower Bridge was actually the London Bridge due to the fact that its design coincided with the architecture of the London Tower and many of the other sites we have visited thus far. Overall the boat ride was a very informative way to quickly view parts of London we might otherwise have missed, and conveniently docked right next to the Tower of London.

Arriving at the Tower of London after the boat ride in the midst of a light rain storm may have dampened the trip for some but enhanced the experience for all. Given the multiple uses for the Tower in its many years of existence as a fortress, royal palace, zoo, prison, and executions the dreary weather added some aura to the tour.

White Tower, the first portion built in 1067, had many design aspects considered in its creation. Firstly, the Tower was designed with 15 feet thick walls on bottom and 11 feet thick walls on top, which made the Tower easily defendable from attack. Secondly, the Tower had no doors on the ground floor but only on the second. Only one set of wooden stairs led to the entrance on the second floor. The stairs were comprised of wood so that they could be destroyed easily, and thus no enemy could get in. Also the staircase to the White Tower was a spiral design made of wood. The staircase was spiral to the right because a right handed enemy (majority of the soldiers) could not fight easily going up the stairs.

White Tower was designed to give the British all the tactical advantage. In addition, one end of the complex was built up to the edge of the Thames which collapsed multiple times before it was designed correctly. They believed the Tower collapsed many times because of the ghost of St. Thomas Moore. Moore had gone against the King when he separated from the church and, therein, had been executed on Tower Hill. After dubbing this end of the Tower as “St. Thomas’s Tower”, the Tower stopped collapsing.

Today was a Perfect Day in London. Not only did we have fun with our colleagues, we also were able to apply our engineering knowledge to interpret and respect the brilliance of London’s historical structures.