Sweden: Day 1 & 2

We set off for Sweden at 8:00 am on Saturday and headed for Helsingor. We took the ferry from Helsingor to Helsingborg and then made our first stop at St. Petri Church by Sigurd Lewerentz. The church was designed to be very intimate. Siguard Lewerentz used very dim lighting and small skylights which directed light to important parts on the interior. It was a really beautiful building and we learned so much about the spirituality and symbolism behind his work. We stayed for about an hour, enjoyed the space and did some sketches.

After that stop, we were on the road for 3 hours. We stopped at a diner for lunch which DIS paid for, and then got back on the road for another 3 hours. We arrived at the Zinkensdamm Hostel around 8:30 pm and had a sketch book review first thing. When we pulled up to the hostel, I was pleasantly surprised with how cute it looked. After sketch book review we headed for our room, and it was actually pretty nice. We have two bunk beds and we each have our own locker. It’s actually a pretty cute room. Blenda, Brenna, Rachel and myself all decided to room together, considering we all get along really well, and honestly it feels like we’re having a good old fashioned sleepover. After we got settled in, a large group of us went out to the Hostel bar and had a few drinks. Because I knew I had to get up at 6:00 am,  I headed to bed around 11:00 pm.

In the morning we had breakfast at the Hostel and then walked to the metro towards our first destination, Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s Old City). This area was so beautiful. The architecture had so much culture to it, I couldn’t get enough of it. We stayed for about an hour, did some sketches and then had to head to our next site.

We walked to Sergels torg, which is the most public square in Stockholm. It’s been referred to as the “Times Square” of Stockholm. This area has much more modern architecture compared to Galma Stan. We came to see the Kulturhuset (Swedish for “House of Culture”) by Peter Celsing. We sat and studied the area for a bit and added so more sketches to our visual journal. We then were set free for lunch and to roam the city for a few hours. We went up to the top of Kulturhuset for lunch at a cafe and then just walked around the city. The city was just so amazing, I was so taken back by all the beautiful buildings (new & old) and views.

At 3:00 pm we had to meet at the Moderna Museet and Arkitekturmuseet. I was so excited, more Architecture in another Modern Art Museum! I really enjoyed everything at the Arkitekturmuseet. We saw so many really nice models and some more abstract architectural designs. After we saw everything at the Arkitekturmuseet, we walked over to look at the modern art portion. I enjoyed some of it, but most of it was disturbing, and creepy. A large portion of the exhibit was strange dark photography. I of course love the opportunities to see the artwork in these museums, but after seeing some of that stuff, I felt a bit uneasy, and creeped out.

After the Museum we had a dinner scheduled at a restaurant in Galma Stan. The place was really nice. The service was great and the food was delicious!

This trip has been so great so far! I can’t wait to see more!

We have our last site in Sweden tomorrow and then move on to Finland!

And we’re off!

So the last few days we had some more great lectures. We had one Wednesday on Urban Quality: the Gehl Approach. Gehl Architects is a firm located here in Denmark that deal with urban quality, city planning and architecture. It’s their vision and methodology though that make them so unique. This firm aspires to create cities that are lively, healthy, sustainable, attractive and safe (everything you’d hope a city would be right? ). They create these holistic environments focused on a very high quality of life. After hearing this lecture I’ve been really interested in this firm and would love to find out more about them. I would love to work for a firm like this that does this large scale projects creating better environments for people.

What could make all this even better? We had a lecture the next day from an Architect from Gehl Architects! She spoke about Bicycle Urbanism and some more about the research and methodology behind the firm. She also spoke about some of their projects and how they have improved environments in so many ways.  My Professor who gave the lecture on Gehl Architects has many friends at the firm, so when we get back from Sweden/Finland, I’m going to try to make an appointment with him and find out more.

We also had a really great lecture on Narrative Space by an Architect who has been designing Exhibitions for museums. This was such an interesting lecture. She showed us several of her projects, and went into detail of her process which was the best part. She started by telling us the task given to her, then her inspiration and research, then her models and drawings, and then the final Exhibition. It was awesome, she designed AMAZING exhibitions in really famous museums. I felt very privileged to be having a lecture by her.

We also have been given our new assignment which is our Final Project. There’s an old industrial plant here in Copenhagen which we are turning into a youth hostel. We’ve started doing our research but haven’t gotten too far yet. I’ve never stayed in a hostel before, so this is a bit difficult for me to imagine. Thankfully this week I’ll be staying in a few different hostels in Sweden and Finland, so after some more research and the trip, I think I’ll have a really good idea of how to lay it out. After all these lectures and site seeing, I have so much inspiration bouncing around my mind! I actually can’t wait to start building this project! I just need to get all of the matrixes and diagrams sorted out first. Since were gone for 8 days were not really working on the project. The Professors don’t expect us to work while were gone but when we get back we only have 4 weeks to finish this project. I’m going to try to start the building shell in CAD and get some diagrams and schematics done but I don’t know how this trip is really going to go, so we’ll see.

Concerning the trip, we leave today at 8:00 am sharp. We’ll be in Stockholm, Sweden from the 9th-11th, then we take an overnight ferry to Jyvaskyla, Finland and are there from the 12th-13th. We then head to Helsinki, Finland from the 14th-15th, and then take the overnight ferry back the 15th-16th. I talked to one of the Professors today and they said we’ll be staying in really nice hostels similar to hotels and it will be 4 students to a room. He said we should be fine to bring our computers because we can lock our stuff in lockers, our rooms, or on the bus. After talking to him I was a bit relieved about some of the insecurities I had regarding my valuables.

Everything here has been going really well. I’ve made a lot of friends in the program, and I’ve made friends with some of the Danes living in the Kollegiums here too!