30 November, 2007

Christmas Decorating

Seeing as it is past turkey day, it is time to put up Christmas decorations. After being in the Netherlands and seeing all the Christmas lights, Virginia and I decided that we wanted some decorations of our own. We decided to make our trip to Cortes Ingles and get Christmas lights for our rooms. Putting them up was more exciting than we thought it would be. Oddly, the Christmas lights that I bought were in a complete circle. Instead of the lights being in a strand, the beginning and the end of the strand were both located at the plug. This made it a little difficult to think of how to put my lights up. With this difficulty, Virginia beat me in putting up the lights. With the combination of Christmas lights and Christmas music, taking a step into our rooms will put you in the holiday cheer.

Schroder House!!!

Since our first semester freshman year, we learned about the Schroder House. We learned about the impact it made on architecture with the abstract planes, projecting roofs, and projecting balconies. Therefore, during our study trip to the Netherlands, we made it a necessity to make a day trip to Utrecht to see the Schroder House. When Will and I walked around the corner and finally saw it, we could not believe it. We have studied it so much and finally we were seeing it in person. It was amazing. That reminded me of one thing I have learned a lot about this trip to Europe. Seeing these architectural pieces and pieces of artwork on a sheet of paper does not even compare to seeing it in person.

A Walking Roller Coaster

During our study travel in Amsterdam, we heard about this bridge called the Python Bridge. After hearing about it, we were determined to find it. The one day we set out to find it, we did not succeed. We walked for 2 hours but it turns out we just didn't walk far enough in the right direction. The next day we set out for a second try. We finally found it. It was about an hour walk from our hostel but it was worth it. The bridge was like something I have never seen before. The bridge connects Sporenburg to Borneo Island. It was made out of steel and looks like a large snake across the water. The way it was built was suppose to make you feel like you were on a roller coaster. They definitely succeeded. After doing some research, I found out that it won the International Footbridge Award in 2002.

Enjoying Barcelona

Last week, the class went on a walk through the city of Barcelona. It was really fun cause we got to see and talk about some pieces of artwork throughout the city. Sadly, we live in Barcelona but we rarely have time to go out and enjoy the city. So it is really fun and interesting when we go on these class walks with our professors and learn about the city. This class walk ended at the beach, therefore, the majority of us stayed there and just enjoyed the beach for a few hours afterwards. We just sat on this sculpture and looked out at the Mediterranean Sea. It was so peaceful and relaxing. It felt really good to see the water again, seeing as I'm from Charleston and I love the water. Sitting there and looking out at the sea made me realized how much I wanted to stay in Barcelona my last week here and just enjoy it even more. All of us get done with our finals then we fly out about a week after that. Some people are contemplating on traveling or staying in Barcelona. That day, I made my decision to stay in Barcelona. I can't wait to see the city even more and tell people of the wonderful place I lived for four months.

Sid Barratt in Nou Barris

Last week, Whit and I made a journey to Nou Barris to study our park for our project in ARCH 412. While studying Parc Central de Nou Barris, we realized that the majority of activities that were going on seemed to be dog walking. It was really fun to see all the cute dogs and it made me really miss my dog. While we were at the park, we needed to interview a few people and get their opinion on the impact of the park on the community. Two out of the three people we interviewed were walking their dogs. The last gentleman we interviewed had this adorable dog. He had been coming to the park for four months cause that is how long he has had his dog. It was the most uncoordinated dog I have ever seen. It would try and chase come other dogs and end up tripping over its feet and falling to its face. At the end of the interview, we proceeded to ask the owner what the name of the dog was. He explained that the dogs name was Sid Barrat. Whit and I found that extremely funny. Now we can safely say that we saw Sid Barrat in Parc Central de Nou Barris.

28 November, 2007

Gobble Gobble what what, arch students can cook too?

I like these pictures, and I hope you will too. I also liked how we seemed to shock Juan Carlos that we could cook and put together a well-presented meal. Yes we're well rounded, believe it or not. Anyway, everyones food and drinks were great! It was Thanksgiving and I was definitely thankful for the friends that are more like family, and the good eatin'! Also - Thanks a bunch Professor Hecker for The Turkeys, White wine, etc :-)

25 November, 2007


So Whit decided he wanted a new look. Since Virginia's boyfriend, Drew, was here, and he has had some experiences with cutting mohawks, he gave Whit a mohawk. It was so much fun to watch. Whit has been contemplating if he wanted one or not, and he finally just did it. After it was done getting cut, we used the gel and spiked it up for the finished product.

Mucho Mac & Cheese

We decided to have a Thanksgiving celebration here in Barcelona. In order to make this happen, each person brought a different dish to the dinner. Will and I wanted to make something we knew everyone would enjoy. So we decided to make homemade macaroni and cheese. Not only were Will and I craving it, but the entire class has been talking about how much they all missed it. We cannot find mac and cheese anywhere here. After hearing the reaction from everyone when they found out we were bringing macaroni and cheese, we knew that we better make a lot. We were prepared for this big task and we planned to go all out. We made four dishes of mac and cheese and one more big dish of mac and cheese plus a topping of tomatoes. If was fun making it and it was even better hearing how much everyone enjoyed it.

Christmas Time!!!!!

It has been kinda hard getting in the Christmas spirit being here in Barcelona instead of in the states. It really hasn't felt like Christmas time at all, until we went to Amsterdam. We got to Amsterdam and the first thing I saw were all the Christmas decorations. I got so excited. Every street was decorated in lights and it lit up the entire city. There was also an ice skating rink about five minutes from our hostel. Outside the Christmas rink were little venders that sold these homemade doughnuts and waffles covered in powdered sugar. Hunter and I could not help but get one on the first day. They were wonderful, although I found powdered sugar on my black scarf about an hour after I finished it! Being in The Netherlands really put me in the Christmas spirit.

The Atomium

The Atomium is often called the Eiffel Tower of Brussels. We didn't understand that comment till we saw the structure in person. During one of our three days in Brussels, Belgium, we took a 30 minute metro ride to see the Atomium. It was unbelievable. It was designed by the engineer Andre Waterkeyn in 1958 or the International Exhibition of Brussels. It is meant to represent an iron crystal that is magnified 165 billion times. It is a major site on the Brussels skyline. Before we went inside, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was thinking that the inside could not live up to what it looked from from the outside, but I was wrong. The inside was put together very well. My favorite parts were the stairwells/ tunnels from sphere to sphere. The majority of them were lit up with neon lights resulting in an experience as you traveled through the structure. We finally reached the top sphere, which was 102 meters high. Once we reached the top, we were able to look down onto the entire city of Brussels.

Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin

The Christ Church Cathedral was one of our first stops in Dublin, Ireland. The church looked incredible from the outside so we were eager to get inside and see what it was like. The building of the church began around 1030. It continues to be used for worship today. One of the most interesting parts of the cathedral is the crypt. This crypt is the largest crypt in Britain or Ireland. It was also the oldest structure in Dublin. One of the most unusual characteristics of this crypt is that it stretches under the entire area of the upper church. The crypt pillars actually carry the entire weight of the cathedral and the central tower. It was really interesting to visit this cathedral. On our way out of the church, a man started playing the organ. It sounded so beautiful that we stayed another fifteen minutes just to listen to him.

Utrecht and the town hall

On my independent study travels through the Netherlands, I (and by i, i mean Dannielle, Hali and I) ventured away from the big cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and found our way to Utrecht. Utrecht is a smaller city (4th largest in the netherlands, but small compared to Amsterdam) and quite quaint in most parts of it. There is actually quite a lot of interesting architecture in the city, but visiting on a sunday was a bad idea, because most of the buildings were closed and the inside unaccessible. One interesting building was the extension of the town hall done by Enric Miralles. while i was unimpressed with parts of it, one side of the building was very interesting to me. He created a facade that seemed to be (in parts) incomplete. There were gaps in the materials held together by steel beams. It was interesting because, while it seemed incomplete, you could tell that the look was done on purpose. Another part of this wall was a unique gutter system (at least i think thats what it was). These metal pipes came from the roof into a concrete trough at the base of the wall. the pipes were staggering back and forth making path for water to flow. when it was not raining, the pipes seemed to be used as a fountain. it would be interesting to see how the system works, although i am glad it wasnt raining while we were there. it was rather cold and extremely windy. After the Miralles building we walked around saw some other buildings (i.e. Reitveld Schroder house, Rem Koolhaas educatorium) and i "bahed" at some sheep.

another visit to nou barris and another falling maria

so yesterday maria and i went to our parc for our project for Kathrin. We packed a picnic lunch and headed into our park looking for people to interview to get some personal feedback about parc central de nou barris. we got a couple of interviews and on our way out we spotted some younger looking guys playing with their dogs. we needed to get over there fast before they left but we were up on this ledge and there were no stairs around. to get to the level they were on we had to cross an obstacle of a tiled sloping surface. i was able to make it down no problem. i was waiting on maria to follow my lead, but i thought about it and i new this had to be filmed. lucky for me i know maria and i knew that something was going to happen and....just watch the video its pretty self explanatory. and then i saw this grafitti that needed to have its photo taken. recognize this guy?

Public art in Barcelona

On friday one we had a guest come and talk about public art with the class. After her lecture we went on a walking tour around BCN. More specifically in the neighborhoods of Born and Barceloneta. the tour was interesting because she pointed out art that I have definitely past by before but i never really noticed. We had discussions at each piece and it was nice to hear everyones different opinions of the pieces. Although we didnt look at this piece specifically on the walk, I want to post a photo of Lichtenstein's "face of Barcelona". Lichtenstein is one of my favorite artists, and i think it is cool to be able to say there is a Lichtenstein sculpture basically in my backyard.

Chiezas di Venezia

1. Basillica of San Marco 2. Santa Maria Gloriosa del Frari

In continuing with the architecture of the catholic church in italy, it's important to note the role of art, particularly in Venice! San Marco was completely mosaiced and as you can see, deserves the nickname "chieza di oro." While I'm sure wanting to bling out their church, (each district in Venice had their own, and yes, they competed) the gold was God, and God is everywhere so gold is everywhere! It was a very beautiful and impressive church for the mosaics. Santa Maria Gloriosa del Frari competes with San Marco not just by having a longer name, but by displaying an array of altarpieces and paintings by the names of Donatello, Bellini, and Titian to name a few. It's most stunning unique-factor is the use of brick. While the outside is rather non descript the inside has this interesting play between the matte brick and the colored light from the windows at the sanctuary and transcept chapels. Structure, light, and artwork are what stands about about Chieza Frari. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Marco_di_Venezia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_di_Santa_Maria_Gloriosa_dei_Frari


in the fair, almost deserted town of sant sadurni d'anoia outside of barcelona lies the cordoniu winery offering extremely impressive tours and cava tasting for only 2 euros. the town itself seems to revolve around the making of this bubbly delight with many other wineries of distinction. cordoniu, however, offers the most. the tour consisted of a 10 minute movie(interesting, but yawn), a tour of part of the grounds perched high on the hill(beautiful), a walking tour of the vast interior winery including information about production and other tidbits(enthralling), and last but not least...a "train" ride through the veritable catacombs of cava. another treat is saved for the last leg of the journey, a complimentary glass of their cava brut...of which i inevitably bought an insanely large bottle. i definitely recommend it as a getaway for a day(or a few hours) or if you want to school yourself on alcohol. A+.

24 November, 2007

English Dodger

This was at one of the Hostels we stayed at in Amsterdam. Notice how the Weird Englishman dodges the camera and Maria and Hali show off their new head dance.

why we missed thanksgiving

Two of my favorite bands happened to be playing back to back this week at the Apollo behind RESA. Unfortunately one coincided with Thanksgiving dinner. It was nice being at the dinner for the first hour, and then Dylan and I sprinted to the venue. Both Dylan and I were pumped to see Devendra live for the first time. Being very excited, we were jumping around and singing along, however the others at the concert seemed a little less enthused. Dylan kept getting elbowed by neighboring people who didn't want us dancing. I was disappointed by the crowds' excitement, but i think Dylan and I made up for everyone else's lacking. Cocorosie the next night luckily attracted a more lively crowd, but not by much. It made me wonder if it was just a Spanish thing? I would have thought the fact that Devendra spoke Spanish the entire time would have pumped the crowd a little more. They did get a little excited when the band decide to ask the crowd if there were any young local musicians out there. One guy came forward and Devendra gave him his guitar and then retreated to the drums. Interesting crowd pleasing tactic. Over all it was exciting to see some live music. Maybe one day I'll be a musician. That would be most excellent.

23 November, 2007

This 120 meter spire is not only the tallest object in the city of Dublin, but also provided us with direction on how to get back to our hostel. I had always wondered what the spire symbolized, and finally looked it up when we got back. It was designed to replace the Nelson's Pillar which was blown up in 1966, and was meant to be a statement for the city of Dublin. Talking recently about the function of public art and the success of it in a public space, I feel that this spire is very successful. Not only is it low maintenance, but it provides a type of beacon seen from all over the city. The architect statement also stated that one of the goals was to reflect the movement of humanity both literally and figuratively. I think they were successful.

"The monument should be accompanied by abstract figures in black Kilkenny marble, embellished by stainless steel, as in the folds of a cloak, the bend of a knee doubling as a seat, or just the shiver of a glance. To draw and grow from the mercury and black marble base, shaping in an abstract from, but form with a human spirit."
Ian Richie Architects

21 November, 2007

the Brewery is not just a Brewery

Arthur Guinness was born in 1725 near Dublin in the town of Celbridge, county Kildare where his father, Richard Guinness, was a Land Steward. Part of Richard's duties were to supervise the brewing of beer for the workers on the estate and it is probable that young Arthur first learned the art of brewing from his father. The brewing industry in Dublin at that date was suffering because English beer was taxed less severely than the home-produced product. Arthur was not, however, deterred. He decided to acquire what was then a small, disused and ill-equipped brewery at St. James' Gate.

The lease, signed on 31 December 1759, was for 9000 years at an annual rent of £45, talk about smart business. To start with, Arthur brewed ale, but by the 1770s a new drink, a strong black beer called porter, was being exported from London. Arthur decided to brew this new beer himself. He proved extremely successful and right into his seventies Arthur continued to be active in supervising his business at the Brewery, now assisted by three of his sons. When he died in 1803, he left a considerable personal fortune of about 23,000 pounds and an extremely flourishing business which later generations of his family were to develop, following the example of initiative and enterprise set by its founder.

After venturing inside the Brewery, it was cool to see the transition from the outside of the brewery, which is a dark brown brick, to the inside, which was mostly steel. It was interesting how they seemed to keep the feel of the "old" rish brewery, but transformed the inside into an industry. The outside of the Brewery is deceiving in the sense that you cannot tell what it fully encompasses. The brewery shows you full how how the stout is brewed and gives you a full out view of the industry.

Mussolini's "Suburb"

the EUR (esposizione universale romana 1942) was designed to showcase fascist architecture in a functional manner outside the city, also a part of mussolini's plan to extend rome to the sea. while walking around the area of stark facades and minimal ornament, i felt a little transported back in time. the government buildings and cultural institutions all utilized marble, concrete and vast arcades creating a unified but ominous feel. despite this sentiment, the area is heavily used and there is a great interest to live here. i saw many families and business people strolling the tree lined boulevards, using the vast public spaces that come so naturally to this area. there were many private apartment complexes lining the government building spaces, each one having a pleasant courtyard and gardens. while i couldn't help but think of the strange history and building types of this area, i couldn't help but recognize that it is an area of successful urban planning and a bustling commercial district outside of the city.

Old friends in Amsterdam

The highlight of my trip to Amsterdam was seeing an old friend of mine, Gijs, from Holland. He took a train from his hometown in Valkesvaard, Holland, to Amsterdam, and spent the next two days giving me the tour of Amsterdam from the Dutch perspective. What I didn't realize about Holland is that it's an immigration country in much the same way that the United States is. There were so many different cultures gathered into one city, all of them speaking Dutch and working there. An article I read just this morning ("Netherlands not so Dutch anymore") elaborated on what Gijs told me about the country. I also learned more than I'll ever need to know about the canals' history thanks to a boat guide. And from Gijs, I learned that drunk people tend to throw bikes into the canal, to the point that the entire bottom is covered in bicycles.
The best part of Amsterdam itself is that everyone I talked to was so, so friendly. When a huge parade celebrating Saint Nicholas' arrival blocked me from crossing a street, I asked a stranger where I could cross, and then a police officer. They both gave me 10 different suggestions, all 10 in a cheerful tone, and wished me luck, also assuring me that their Saint Nicholas was NOT to be confused with Santa Claus. The other great thing about Amsterdam: the best cheese I have ever tasted. Ever.
On the downside, the immigration rules were strict and Matt and I had some trouble for about an hour -- I thought we might have to spend the night in the airport! But professor Hecker came to the rescue with the internet, and we bought a plane ticket. From now on I may just carry a bundle of papers documenting my entire life when I travel. That way when they ask for tickets proving that I'm leaving Spain eventually, I can show them that I ran cross country in highshcool, too.

the Silodam

After taking the mandatory pictures outside, some crafty sneaking allowed some indoor ones as well. It turns out that the hallways are color coded, mostly a bright snot green (as you can see at the end of the hall in the first picture) from carpet to wall to ceiling. Even the doors. The 8th and 9th floors were in sky blue and fire engine red, while the first two floors were grey. The condos inside were fabulous, with hardwood floors and huge windows overlooking the harbour in both directions.
The part that interested me the most about this building was it's interaction with the water. In the central hall, there are gaps so that you can look down and see the water and the docks below, where some residents parked their boats. In the front of the building, the apartments' front doors open onto walkways suspended over the water. From the top floors, looking out, it seemed like the building was just floating.

schouwburgplein, Rotterdam

One of the few things I explored in Rotterdam was this plaza. There was a large movie theater offset that reminded me of the Kursaal in Sans Sebastian. Whit had found this plaza the night before and told us how you could move these large cranes around at the push of a button. However, of course when we got there, there was no activity upon pressing the buttons. It still was a very neat plaza by night. Very nicely illuminated by colorful lights. The only thing I found strange was that the projection on the wall of the theater came from a portable projector that was guarded by a cold looking man at the very edge of the square. I think they should invest in a more permanent alternative so some poor guy doesn't have that job. We also discovered the ranging materials used for the floor of the plaza. They created an awareness of the different noises in which your feet could make when in contact with different materials. There were three different types of perforated metal. One with elliptical holes and the other two round but one protruded while the other was punched inward. Then there were different wood elements. Danni, Whit and I had fun making noise across the square.

Fun Firenze!

My fabulous birthday dinner (homemade pasta with a pear base filling = amazing!). Birth of Venus ... on a porta potty by the Uffizi. David looking studly in the sun


I much preferred Florence to Venice. When its cold and you don't want to go outside, it's hard to enjoy a city based on canals and.. oh the outside. And 4.50 euro for a latte is ridiculous. Favorite things from this trip: 1.seeing my Mom 2. San Miniato del Monte in Florence (first church I felt compelled to pray at, didn't feel touristy). 3.Birthday dinner 4. Hostel Archi Rossi in Florence. I'm not sure you can call it a hostel when it has a computer, tv, private bathroom, room service, heck, bidet and complimentary breakfast. OH

AND At Archi Rossi, I just lovvved how (you're allowed to write on many of hte walls there) on the column by the check in desk, very very visibly there is a big orange CLEMSON paw :-) with Clemson written beside it. That made me happy. Archi Rossi was the homiest hostel I've stayed at and that says a lot given the great places we've had (minus London for those who went!). We also had a view of the Duomo!

Chiezas of Italy: compare+contrast part 1

No I didn't visit Japan. I visited Italy. Florence and Venice specifically. This first post shows four images from Florence. Two are of San Miniato al Monte, which is on a hill overlooking Florence. The other two are of Florence's most dominant architectural piece: the Duomo, also known as Santa Maria del Fiori. The churches were constructed with some overlap in time, but Miniato was about 200 years older. Both of course were a part of the Catholic (though Benedictine - Miniato, and Dominican - Duomo) church but differ greatly in most design aspects. The exteriors look somewhat similar here, with colored (sienna red or green) lines dividing up the facade, but the focii are very different. With Tadao Ando's Church of Light, the focus, the intent of you being there, is in your face. It's opposite is Santa Maria del Fiori with the dominant decoration, geometry, and color going on on the exterior. Also inside, the walls and ceilings of the Duomo are relatively plain, with exception given to the painted domes and some paintings. The art that does exist seems to be more for decoration. The floor is of particular interest, there are crazy geometric patterns everywhere. I'm sure this has to do with the renaissance approaching and a renewed interest in logic and order. Consequently, their God is a god of logic, pattern, nature, and order. The cross and images of saints are secondary. The reverse is true with San Miniato al Monte. I'll talk more about the comparisons and contrasts in religious architure in italy later in my case studies...

20 November, 2007

Sissy Boy...the sequel

I apologize for the unnecessary length of this video but you're going to have to talk to Madison's sissy behind on that one. Cut up your volume, the dialogue is priceless. Madison, Kelly, and me in a nutshell. Amsterdam was full of laughs, oh and great architecture...notice the Borneo background.

Che bella é l'italia!

Quando sto viaggiando a l'italia, sempre sto felice. La terra, le spiagge... penso che l'italia é unica, perché non ho visto un otro luogo simile. E il cibo... buonissimo! In un villagio, abbiamo mangiato pizza di pesto ché era megliore di tutte le pizze in espangna! Era una sorpresa a me che i italiani nord erano molti simpatici, perché in citte come Roma, tutti hanno fretti e non piacono i turisti.

La storia di l'italia é fantastica. I Romani ha costruito edifici come la arena in Verona, e italiani a volte i usono oggi.