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!

Northern Copenhagen Field Study

Yesterday we went on an All-Day Field Study around Northern Copenhagen from about 10:30 am to 8:30 pm and stopped at 5 different sites.

We arrived at school at 8:30 am for a brief lecture on Sensing Nordic Culture. This was basically introducing us to what we would be visiting and seeing on our Week long field tour to Sweden and Finland coming up this Saturday. We were then handed a packet with all of the information and sites we were visiting for the day.

Our first stop was Skraplanet. It is a Co-Housing Development. Its laid out so that the development is very communal and acts as a family but when necessary there is room for privacy. There is only 33 homes in this development, its apparently the magic number. If there were more houses people wouldn’t bond as well, and if there were less houses people would most likely bicker more. They have basketball courts, pools, a common garden area, and what we would call a community center I suppose. There was an eating area, kitchen, sitting areas and game rooms. The people were very nice and welcoming. We got to see the inside of one of the houses and when we arrived at the community center they provided fresh strawberries and an elderflower drink. The elderflower drink was AMAZING! It looked like lemonade, so thats what I was expecting but its soo much better. I was told they take this flower and steep it in sugar water for 24 hours. After that they usually add some lemon as well. It takes like a tea, and has a hint of mint.

After that we went to the Bagsvaerd Kirke Church by John Utzon, who we have been studying a lot in our lectures. The ceiling in this church is what I found the most interesting because of how it curves and how we directed light into the space. We stayed for about an hour and did some sketches on the interesting architectural features for our visual journal.

We then moved on to the Grundtvigskirken Church. When we arrived I was so excited, it was breathe taking. Its such a huge church with such huge arches and really beautiful brick work. Being inside of it made me feel so little. We stayed here for about an hour as well and did some sketches. You could here a pin drop in here, it was so quiet and every little sound echoed throughout the space.

Our next stop was the Paustian, which is a furniture showroom on the water. I was in heaven. This building was awesome, it was clean and simple and brought in so much light into the space, perfect for a showroom. There were so many windows and skylights, so much of the interior was exposed to natural light and a beautiful view onto the harbor. Beyond all that IT WAS A MODERN FURNITURE SHOWROOM! I saw so many beautiful pieces I’ve studied, used before in projects, and a bunch of new stuff! They even had a cute little kid section with tiny little modern furniture = ] So cute.

Our last stop was the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. This was incredible.  We came here to check out the building and there happened to be an exhibit on Architecture as well! We saw models for some urban development projects, abstract architectural models, and some drawings and paintings as well. We also had the chance to check out some of the other modern art there, all of it was really cool …. and strange. Most modern art is very strange, but I still found it very interesting. OH! And the security guards at the museum had us wear our book bags on the front so we didn’t knock anything with them on our back. That was strange as well, makes sense though I suppose. When I went to the gift shop they had so many architecture books! I wanted all of them! They were all on modern architects and architecture from all over the world. I skimmed through a few and didn’t want to put them down. They were all really expensive though.

The last hour at the museum, I sat at the top of the hill over looking the water, enjoying a glass of white wine and sketching with my friends. = ]

Just a little side observation. I’ve noticed Danish Couples are very affectionate. I’m not talking kissing and hugging, I mean full on groping, grabbing and hard core making out. Sometimes the stuff I’ve seen can be cute I guess? romantic even? But most the time it makes me uncomfortable and it weirds me out that its in front of so many people. But it seems very normal over here, everyone does it… A LOT.

The Models are Complete!

Soo this weekend was pretty crazy with model building.

Saturday morning I went into the studio around 11:00 am and got right to work on the models. My group and I got a large chunk of it done and decided to head home around 9:30 pm. That is all saturday consists of, I’m sorry its not very interesting.

The sun sets here around 11:00 pm and rises around 3:00 am, so because I forgot to close my shades, sunday morning I was woken up by the sun at 4:30 am. I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I went on run. I ran a few kilometers away from my Kolleguim and then pretty far down one of the main roads. It was really beautiful, the streets were dead for the most part but the sun was out and it was pretty warm. I not only got to do some site seeing, but had some time to reflect on some things I’ve had on my mind, and I now have a better idea of the businesses surrounding where I live. I got back around 7:00 am, napped for a bit, and left for school around 11:00 am. When I arrived, my group and I got right to work. We worked on both of our models all day and finished around 9:30 pm. I was so happy and couldn’t wait to head home to get a good night sleep for presentation the next day. I walked to the metro and got there around 10:00 pm, only to find out that it was out of service from 10:00-11:00 pm. Apparently Copenhagen has gotten more rain Saturday and Sunday than they usually get all summer. So I walked to the bus stop to try to figure it out and asked a man for help. He told me I would have to take a few different buses. So being afraid of getting lost in Copenhagen all night by myself, I decided to wait for the metro. I walked and got an ice cream and sat on a bench. I people-watched for a while and listened while some guy down the street played the flute. I walked back to the metro at 11:00pm and there was ANOTHER 30 min delay. I waited and waited..and waited. Finally at 12:00, my train came and I got home at 12:30 and crashed immediately.

This morning I crawled out of bed, got dressed up for presentation and headed to school at 7:30 am to meet my group at 8:00 am to go over what we were going to say. I wrote down a large paragraph and read it over a few times. The way our presentations and critiques worked was we critiqued groups 3 times and we were critiqued 3 times. So really I presented 3 times today. Once to just a group, one time with a different group and a few Professors, and one time with a different group and my Studio Advisor. For once I didn’t shake or stutter, and I wasn’t that nervous. I spoke clearly, hit all of the key points and after every presentation, the next one improved. All of the critics gave me really good feedback and said I had a great introduction /  speech. On top of that, our models got great critiques as well. All of the critics and Professors said we executed the project/ models really well in that we emphasized the key points of the building and architecture. SUCCESS! I feel as though I’m really improving with my presentations and my speaking, as well as my understanding for structure and architecture. I learned a lot from this project and from sitting down and listening to other groups presentations.
I’ve learned so much about Scandinavian Architecture in this little amount of time and its all really sinking in! I really enjoyed how this all was laid out, even though it was really quick start and a really intense weekend, I can already see myself learning a great deal and retaining a lot of the information.

Happy 4th of July Everyone! HOORAY AMERICA!

Day 4 First Night to the Bars!

So yesterday was a pretty good day. I arrived at school around 8:45 am for our computer tutorial. This was to inform us how to use the server system, the process for electronic submissions and the process for plotting and printing. After that our group met up to discuss our plan of attack for the day and go over it with our teacher. We then headed to a supply store to get foam core, glue, spray mount, scales and rulers. As soon as we got back we had a lecture on Modernism in Scandinavia (a continuation from 20th Century Scandinavian Architecture). I LOVE these lectures. We really go into depth on some of these Architects and were shown buildings we’ll be seeing around Copenhagen and on our field tours. Right after that we had a lecture on The Poetry of Space in Sigurd Lewerentz’s Architecture. I really enjoyed how Our Professor explained the spirituality in his work and emphasized how thoughtful and beautiful Sigurds Architecture is. Another interesting fact is this Architect was still active and building until he was 78 years old. We got out of class around 4:30 pm and raced home to get ready for our DIS Social Event.

We arrived at the Studenterhuset (College Bar close to school) around 7:30 pm and received two free drink tickets and a free food ticket. = ] I tried the Oelfabrikken Pale Ale and the Oelfabrikken classic. Both Delicious! Everyone was really friendly, I met a lot of students from different programs at DIS and made some friends. = ] A large group of us met up and headed for A Bar aka.. The Australian Bar. lol It was so much fun. There were large fake crocodiles..I didn’t enjoy them.. We got there at 10:45, just in time! They had free beer from 11-12! I got to know the students in my program a lot better and had such a great night! & basically drank for free! A few of us called it a night and headed home around 12.

Random Fact: You can walk everywhere with your beer. A lot of people just walk around with there beers, and some get too rowdy and smash there bottles on the ground.. there’s broken glass everywhere…