31 March, 2008

Sorority Girls

This event happened in Zurich during a visit to one of the many cathedrals. With gummy bears in your hand from happy hour, we decided/calvin decided to do a picture pose portraying a glowing sorority function. We took a second to brainstorm but we knew we were already ready already. With the camera on auto, our mannerisms had to be perfect and correlate exactly with the 10 second camera delay.

I think Calvin is the ring-leader. Stephen is the leaders best friend. Josh is the blond. Ryan is the bad one. And Matt is the bigger one that plays rugby.

Italy vs. Barcelona

So when learning architecture, the two programs are so different. In Italy they are learning the old ways that the old architects learned. Columns, arcs, and so on, whereas here in Barcelona, we are learning contemporary architecture. I agree more with this type of learning because this is the wave of the future. Yes it is important to know where we came from but it is also important to understand how to make way for the future. I have had many conversations with the students in italy and it makes me ever more thankful that i am learning what i am learning here.

From Paris with Love

So I hear the stories how romantic Paris is. It is a city of lights, a city of love, a city of bomehmian grandeur...but to me, it was cold. I liked Paris, but I did not see the romantic side of it...maybe because I didn't have a sweet heart, but I think if i did i might have felt something, but no. The sites were great, the food, okay. But Paris left me wanting. I compared it to Barcelona, and i found that BCN has so much more to offer i feel in that whole romantic aspect. My comrades also were talking non stop about old architectural practices like flying butresses, column orders, and the like...I could not relate one bit...hence the difference in old timey Itlay and modern BCN.

The one thing i found fascinating in Paris was La Defense...the business sector of Paris. I loved all of the buildings there, especially the Arc de la Defense. It is the contemporary pieces that lines up with Arc de Triomph and the Louvre.

a lil bit of FUN in da SUN

This was one of the first weekends since I’ve been in Barcelona that has been somewhat relaxing. On Friday couple of us went to the beach for sunset and climbed on the rope thing. It was fun and relaxing. On Saturday we went and watched the ping pong tourney. It was nice for once just to sit there and not worry about anything and have fun. It was a nice weekend outside without worrying much about school even though we all knew that was coming very soon. This weekend was an amazing time just to chill and have fun with the rest of the class without thinking of doing work. The highlight was definitely Josh and his spandex to look intimidating in the tourney. Did it really work? I don’t think so. But it was a good effort Josh.

29 March, 2008

wat u just call me?!

so this is sumthin that i've been experiencin alot lately...it seems as though the kids here in barcelona r for the most part very rude. just today, a group of us went to go play a lil street ping pong, and there were kids there at the table. as soon as we showed up, they started cursin at us and immediately called me a chino...wat's da deal? and of course, wat could i do? can't pick a fight with a 5 yr old (or can u?). well, either way, i felt like i couldn't do anythin bout it except take the insults...kids r freakin mean, especially in barcelona.

Under the Genoa... raincloud?

So a few weekends ago I took a trip to Genoa, Italy to visit the Clemson kids there and get a little taste of Italy. What I saw was so unlike all the other cities we've been to thus far. Genoa, like Barcelona, is a port city, yet they are so different. When we first arrived, we were taken up approximately 32346984 awkward and sloped steps to finally reach the villa, and then another two flights up to the bedrooms. The elevation change from the port to the rest of the city is insane, and happens so quickly. It seemed there were so many more cars and bigger roads with less cross-walk signals, which for me is extremely dangerous. The old edifices are completely preserved and loved in Genoa, but not in a touristy way -- they're preserved because there's no other way -- no contemporary architecture , just a subtle appreciation for the buildings and piazzas that are hundreds of years old. We used mainly our feet and the bus system to get around, which is practically based solely on the honor system that you actually pay for your ticket (but when they do check, its a 40€ fine...) We spent a lot of time in the villa, just because once you climb up all the stairs, you don't really want to leave to have to do it all over again. Most of the students spend all their time in the villa too, especially since they have a cook, so are completely not used to spending money on food and getting to know a city that way, which has been one of my favorite aspects about Barcelona. However, we did go out, of course, and it was the first time the 'natives' could take me around their city and show us the ins and outs that they have discovered being there. English was spoken very rarely, and groin vaults dominated the interiors of buildings. Much pasta was consumed, and I found out that Italian McDonald's carry patate vertigo -- absolutely fabulous curly fries. The doner kebabs are comparable to BCNs, but the gelato definitely kicks more butt. Once it begins raining, it doesn't stop. Open markets still function despite the weather, and the merchandise varies from flashy printed underwear to jean jacket vests and gummy candy. The night life isn't quite as extreme as Barcelona, but many more people are willing to tough out the cold and mingle in the streets and piazzas, since they are so conducive for that. Renzo Piano dominates the port landscape -- and don't be convinced when you're told he's actually at the villa party. The Italians are fascinated by Native Americans, and fresh foccacia is out of this world. A very relaxing break, but I love BCN. :)

28 March, 2008

How Harry got Packed

Let me tell you a little story that was told to me today by Harry Han.

In the spirit of March Madness we have been playing a little ball lately. Today Addie, Harry, Troutman, and I went to a little court close to the Rival area and on the way there Harry told me a story....

It was a breezy March afternoon and Harry couldn't get anyone to go "ball" with him. So he decided to get his exercise without his architecture classmates. When he got to the court he joined in a pick up game and started to "ball" with some Spanish guys. Harry was playing very well, he could feel the wind in his face and ground under his feet, this was a good day. All of a sudden Harry made a great steal, he was all alone running down the court with nothing but the basket ahead of him. Harry jumped up to make the easy layup when out of nowhere a "big black dude" packed the crap out of him. Everyone that was in a two mile radius could hear the shattering of Harry's dreams and ambitions with the smack of the big black guys hand on the basketball. As they both came to the ground Harry's eyes found their way to the floor and he slowly walked away in shame.

This is a tribute to our fallen friend, next time you see him, give him a pat on the back and tell him, "Harry, it will be alright, just remember your Asian"


Wednesday, March 26, 2008--
Barcelona, Spain
There are plenty of nice hairstyles floating around Barcelona. From 60 year old women with bright pink hair, to gypsies with dread lock mullets, and punk kids with mohawks, we've figured out that anything goes in the bcn. We stopped by the local skatepark only to see the great Calvin "wash" Knight tragically dislocate his shoulder, taking him out of the scene for a while. Later that day, we met up with the "regulars" and their traditional espana half-mowhak hairdoos flopped around as they consistently pulled sweet tricks. As Calvin was on the way to the hospital, he concluded that all skaters need sweet hairstyles in order to become great skate legends. Unfortunately tragedy had already struck for Calvin, but I still had time! It was time for a makeover. The world famous hair stylist, Ryan Cromer was commissioned for the free-form design contest of my head. The result was a success-- the thunda' bolt!-- a Spain prize-winning design. Good work Chrome!


After arriving in Milton Keynes and taking it easy with the family the first night [having fish and chips for dinner with some proper English beer]...Uncle Dave had some X-treme plans for Sunday. Apparently, he'd already made reservations for Rush and me at Xscape indoor snowboarding and skydiving.

AirkiX was the jam--I find that the X-cessive use of the letter X is usually a good indicator of how awesome something is.

Turns out, Rush is more aerodynamic than he looks. We each got extra time in the wind tunnel because Dave made reservations for three but inevitably backed out [I don't think they could turn the fan up high enough to lift him]. Anyway, I've gotta sweet DVD [AirkiX fliX] of our experience if anyone wants to peep our skills. Rush and I are now both level 4 fliers.

Still Thinking

My datacards haven't progressed much graphically, but I've been thinking a lot about them conceptually. Without getting too deep, the past few weeks have altered my view of the world significantly. Conceptually, the datacards are tracking my experiences, feelings, etc. so patterns are beginning to emerge from day to day/ week to week. While I see my experience in Barcelona as a chance to split from the norm and explore a new world, I also find myself falling into simple patterns. Are they engrained in the nature of life or are they based on some precident (our experiences and lessons)? I'm hoping that the datacards will reveal this answer graphically, but at the same time, I've begun to explore other mediums to reveal these patterns. Since the cards are based on sheer quantitative data, it should be easy to transfer the information into another form- MUSIC. I love music. Kind of like how Chad loves land, or Brick loves lamp... Anyways I typically listen to music, and I'm not much of a composer, so this study is less about composing music and more about using SOUND as a medium. Using MIDI programs, I want to transform my numerical data into a numerically ordered pitch, resulting in a series of sounds (sometimes called a song) though probably not as musical. By compressing the information into this form I hope that the patterns will emerge more clearly, and possibly music could be generated from experiences. Those are my hopes, but I'm still working on learning to program the MIDI software...

I M Pei......I'm not pei

Hidden on Museum Island in Berlin is this little architectural gem by I. M. Pei. It is a new exhibition hall of the German Historical Museum. The spiraling glass staircase is an eye-catcher, but what I liked most about the building was the space it created. Alluding to a previous study trip to Amsterdam, I learned about the density that a space can have through MVRDV's projects. Inhabiting the lobby of the exhibition hall, the space feels very refreshing and transcendental. It is not very dense programatically or even structurally, which is why I believe it works so well. The way Pei describes this is "The architecture should seduce people to move through the whole building full of curiosity and pleasure. I even want to tempt them to the top-most floor through ever more steps, new views."

Another interesting aspect, all be it small, were the details inside the building. Although we have been taught to think about details, we as students havn't worked through a project including the smallest areas of design. One example of this was the texture change that Pei gave to a wall were it contained a beam that spanned an opening. The change of texture revealed the structure in a very slight, but clear way.

Love and Architecture


Oysters and the The Tube

At the beginning, The Tube, London's Underground metro system, was awesome. It was a lot clearer and easier to pick up on than the UBahn and SBahn systems in Berlin, and I'd say I picked it up quicker even than the one in Barcelona. Plus, we got this Oyster Card deal thing at the airport on the way in that we put 10 pounds on and it would last for 48 hours, at which point we'd simply reload it...

WRONG! That Oyster died probably in 12 hours or so. Why? Because its so flippin sensitive. We saw locals just touching their wallets to the readers, a lot like CUIDs at Clemson, and naturally expected ours to work the same way. Nope, we were actually supposed to touch the entire surface of the card itself to the reader, or it was taking 2 pounds away from our 10 each time. ALSO, you have to touch the reader to get onto the platforms AND to leave the station every time...or another 2 pound deduction. With all of this, we were oysterless pretty fast, and The Tube became more frustrating than awesomely easy to navigate. I mean, really, 8 U.S. dollars for one ride?! Get outta here. At least we recovered quickly and minimized the damage with the next 10 pounds...

In other news, Clemson flopped early in the dance, kinda disappointing. But UNC is holdin well for the ACC, pretty much flooring everyone in their path. Kansas / UNC most likely coming up soon, doesn't get much better than that, LOVE THIS GAME!

travelin with the fam

It seems like ages since I last blogged and I keep forgetting that it is part of our class work. So to catch up on recent events we had our recent ITS or Independent Travel Study. It was a welcomed break and what made it better was the fact that my family came to visit and travel with me. It was especially cool because my dad and I were able to see the innovative architecture of Europe and discuss it the whole trip. I seem to enjoy architectural discussion more when I am out of the class room anyways. For the study travel, we went to London, Berlin, and Rome. Each of these cities has a distinct urban fabric, however, it is fascinating to see the way in which modern architecture is intervening in each of the respective cities.

The culmination of the trip was pretty unforgettable too. It ended in Saint Peters Square with about 100,000 people at Easter Mass with Pope Benedict, or as the Italians say "Papa Benedicto". However, the fact that it downpoured for almost the entire mass and the impossibility to view the screen because of the umbrellas made it even more of an experience. Notice the before and after photos.

Love and Architecture


Awkward moment #231

In need of cheap flights, ryanair sounds promising.... but is it really worth the hassle?? This study travel, flying from Berlin to London was our first experience with the lovely airline. We had heard stories of the possible hassles, but I don't think we were quite prepared. We have been flying a lot lately and pretty accustomed to walking right up to the desk, handing over your passport, getting a boarding pass with your name, gate, and seat on it, passing quickly through security (of which I have not beeped off in like 10 years), sitting in seats at the gate and eventually boarding the plane. This particular evening though we truck it with all our stuff from the train to the terminal, to find massive waiting line number 1. This is apparently a security check, before security, just to be able to check your bags. So we pass our bags through and are waiting in the long line to check in. Now that we are out of the weather I want to add my jacket to my checked bag so I don't have to carry it on the flight. This was apparently a mistake, and as I am shoving my jacket into my bag, angry man comes over and indicates that I must go back to first security check and pass my bag through again. Finally we get to the check in counter, hand over our passports, and receive the ever so official looking ryanair boarding pass. Aka a pathetic small piece of paper that pretty much just says ryan air, a flight number, and your last name written down in pen. We then go wait in the even longer security line. We soon discover why the line is going so slow is because if they think you even look like you might beep they hardcore pat you down and the next person cannot come through till that person is thoroughly strip searched, gather their things and depart. Well APPARENTLY my belt beeped off even though I'm not sure I even heard it. I get pulled to the side, knowing what is coming because the same has just happened to Lauren, and Jo. Hands up in the air I get the pat down way more touchy-feely then I have ever been patted down before in my life. Less of a pat down, more of an all over grope. Then I am instructed to undo my belt and the lady feels around INSIDE both the front and back of my pants. Needless to say it was a little alarming and uncomf in the middle of the airport. We gather our things, head to the standing area until our flight actually receives a gate, board the plane through the unassigned seat free-for-all. Oh, and then to top it all off we land in London in 30 mph wind, through turbulence about 2 feet off the ground, fish tail like crazy on the run way and all almost die. Strong recommendations for RyanAir!

Circulation much?

I was really excited to finally get to go to Berlin and see all these things I had heard about for so long. One of the major things I was looking forward to seeing was the Jewish Museum by Libeskind. A friend of mine had researched it for our sophomore projects and it looked amazing. When we walked up to it, the sun was just right in the sky...the sky was perfect...we took a ton of amazing pictures and i was ready to be wowed by the interior. We walked in and right off the bat, the floor plans of the building were on this clear layered glass wall. It was an awesome way of showing off the plans...little did I know that the presentation of the building's design would be plastered all over the rest of the building as well. From the entrance, my like of the building went downhill rather quickly. We walked down some stairs into the three axis space created by Libeskind (everyone is aware b/c his name was everywhere). The first axis we took was where the entrance took you and it was the axis of the holocaust but after a few minutes of straining to see the few things in the display windows we reached an intersection of the three axis with so clue where to go from there. As architects in a museum we were expecting an experience as we walked, or some semblance of circulation...however we didnt really find any of that in this building. Hailed by Libeskind, this design in my opinion was actually lacking a lot. The three axis were not very well thought out. There was no heirarchy of the three so you didnt know what order to follow them and then after following them, you just turned around and walked all the way back to pick a new one. When I walked around the Guggenheim in Bilbao, I was wowed by architectural achievements at every turn, but I didnt see FRANK GEHRY plastered all over the building to constantly remind of who came up with this, or little plaques everywhere explaining all of his design ideas. Overall I was not impressed with this museum and, after being so excited to see it, would not recommend it to anyone. I guess sometimes architecture put up on a pedestal (especially when its put up there by its own architect) has farther to fall when it disappoints.

Ponte di Calatrava

When we went to Venice as our second destination for our study travel, we thoroughly expected to see nothing new, which was a good thing, cause there wasn't anything new. The city was beautiful though, and it was really cool to see a city where the only transportation routes are walking paths (you couldn't really ride a bike through Venice...not easily at least, too many bridges with steps) and canals. However, there was one new thing in Venice. They're making a fourth bridge over the Grand Canal, which, very surprisingly, is designed by Calatrava. It seems really weird in a city where everything is so old and that's the way they like it. We tried looking it up when we got back but it seems the main thing about it is the controversy about it. Of course there's the old and modern architecture thing, but the other controversy about it is that Calatrava decided not to incorporate handicap accessible ramps because supposedly they messed with the aesthetics of his design. And he says that he'll worry about making it accessible when the time comes. Another funny thing I found was a post in a forum about it; someone said "I wonder if he'll sue the city of Venice if they try to change it to make it handicap accessible," in reference to the thing with the bridge in Bilbao.

Adventure back to BCN

On our flight back from Rome to Girona (with a train ride back to Barcelona, yay RyanAir), we had to catch a 4:30 bus to the Rome airport. After waiting pretty much all night at the train station, and then a cafe that some nice guy told us about so we didn't have to sit on the floor in the train station the entire night surrounded by creeps (one wouldn't leave Susan alone, and then asked me if I was married...), the bus did show up on time. But what was a 40 minute drive to the airport, this guy pulled off in 20 minutes, and it wasn't just because there was no traffic. He was driving pretty crazy. He almost switch lanes on top of some smaller cars and then this car got in front of him and he got way angry. Then he almost ran over some pedestrians in front of the airport. But all in all, we got to our flight and all was good.

The Best Spring Break Weather EVER!

Okay, my brother who is a senior at Clemson went to Jamaica for his Spring Break which is pretty sweet. I talked to him on Easter Sunday about it all, and he told me that it was sunshine the entire time except for like five minutes of rain from a random cloud that was passing by. He was also telling me this while on the porch of my house where he was enjoying 70 degree weather with sun and a slight breeze. Then, I told him about the weather we got. It was ridiculous to say the least but fun and interesting. In Zürich we got cold rain, wind, and cold. It was bearable, and we didn't let it crash our fun or anything. In Berlin, it got more sporadic. When we were at the Sony Center at night, it started to snow, and it was really cool how the space just sucked in the snow and with the lights it was really cool as well. Of course it was really cold and windy. On the other days, we would get cold with wind then rain then snow then sun. It was a bit nuts. London, however, was all that it was cracked up to be. We got snow, rain, sleet, a bit of hail, and wind... lots and lots of wind. However, the locals just walked on through while us tourists kind of huddled and acted like fools at the first sight of snow. We had a white departure from London with about five inches of snow on some of the surrounding London communities. It was really cool, but I am glad to be back to Barcelona 60 degree Farenheit weather. It is quite refreshing, and I didn't get sick like I usually do when I'm constantly changing through different climates. It is nice not to have to wear two coats and a beanie every single day for once; you feel ... lighter.

“I am one of those people who thrive on deadlines; nothing brings on inspiration more readily than desperation.” -Harry Shearer

So we’re back from independent study travels and just completed another week of class. With only three weeks left, we are getting down to the nitty-gritty. Competition boards, case studies, data cards, presentations, papers, finals, portfolio, internship applications…. Bring them on, I’m starting to like the pressure… I think. I found this quote by Harry Shearer and thought to myself, “How true.” At times it takes deadlines to get me going.

London, England

Starting this journey, we were intimidated by the value of the GBP. Once we arrived we found several items that were similar in price. On the other hand, there were other items that were outrageously priced. So, we simply budget shopped and made our way through our stay. One night, we decided we should see a musical while we are in London. Lion King: booked or priced at £53 per ticket. Wicked: booked or priced too high. So we decided to go with Chicago, London’s sexiest, most sensational musical. Chicago was great! I have seen the movie back in the states, but to see it in person is just amazing. My favorite scene would have to be the puppet scene, where Billy Flynn, a smooth-talking lawyer, treats Roxie Hart, a nightclub dancer, as a puppet in front of the reporters to explain the trumped up story that will get her out of jail.
Big Ben; House of Parliament; Westminster Abbey; Greater London Authority Building; The Gherkin; Lloyd’s of London; former Millennium Dome; Australian War Memorial; Buckingham Palace; Hyde Park & The Green Park

Berlin, Germany

Man was I ready to get to Berlin after a few days of Zurich’s prices. We arrived in Berlin late on Sunday night… around midnight if I’m not mistaken. The staff of our hostel was cool and glad that we arrived at midnight instead of 1AM like we had told them. The common room was where it was at between the day tours and the night life. Ping pong, TV, free WiFi…yeah, we always found ourselves hanging out in there. Plus it was a great way to meet some of the locals as well as other tourists. I’ve got to give it up to Juan, one of the locals; he is pretty darn good at ping pong.
Judisches Museum Berlin; The Sony Center; Botsckoft des Konigreichs der Niederlande; British Embassy; DZ Bank; Dem Deutschen Volke; the Jewish Memorial; Mercedes-Benz Showroom & Ludwig Erhard Haus

Architecture as a gas

Should spaces be created from ideas, or should they materialize from a repeated process that is drawn from the relationships of people and ideas through the space they inhabit? To me it seems as though it should be a little of both. When thinking up spatial relations for our "site" for studio, we have to understand how people will interact in these spaces. Buildings, and spaces created between buildings, are nothing without people and experiences of people interacting in them. At a certain point you have to put a cap on the scope of thinking about space in order to generate a framework for your research and ideas. We were told that architecture is a gas that will fill up whatever container you give to it, but what determines the size and scope of the container. When do we make the step from a godlike perspective into a personal experience perspective and back again?

Ireland aka Emerald Isle

This past week I ventured on my travels to Dublin, Ireland and London, UK. This particular week afforded me a wonderful opportunity, St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, I was going to be in a county that was hosting its most well known holiday. Dublin is a city that is deceiving to look at from the guided forces of Google earth. Our sleeping accommodations appeared to be about one or so hours outside the city, turns out it is only a twenty-minute bus ride on the public transportation system. Long story short, it did not take very long to walk the entire city. They also had amazing maps for travelers such as us.
Back to St. Patrick’s Day, the festival runs through the city center and heads over the O’Connell Bridge to run through the Temple Bar district, down Dawn Street and finishes up at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We were expecting everyone to wear green; this isn’t really the tradition in Dublin. The parade was full of bright colors and the music came from all parts of the world, as well as the people. I guess the slogan for this year was perfect, “On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish!”

Light Switch Panel

You might not have to be a rocket scientist to operate this light panel, but you such have to know how to work it.  This light panel is from Zaha Hadid' s Fire Station @ Vitra in Weil-am-Rhine, Germany right across the border from Basel, Switzerland.  The panel is one of unique design and according to the tour guide, not too many people can figure out how to use it correctly.  The light panel really stood out to me, because this shows how many details really go into coming up with designs.   So many times I focus my attention on the big people that I miss small details like this light panel. 


Switzerland is one country full of Wow!  Everything is great except how much things cost which if you eat from the grocery store and drink water, is not too bad.   The country is full of amazement everywhere, from the mountains to the cities.   The mountain scenery is some of the best in the world and the street and trains are so clean.    I wish we could have cities as beautiful and clean back in the states, don't get me wrong some are.   It seems like every corner I turned while in Switzerland there was something really beautiful.  The highlight of my trip besides the beautiful cities on the lakes were the snowcapped and glacier covered mountains.   This was definitely the case up at Zermatt, Switzerland, with the ICON of Switzerland, the Matterhorn.  The matterhorn was amazing, but all of the mountains around the area were covered with snow and glaciers for the most part.  This made for some beautiful photographs.   The Matterhorn and the surrounding area is a must see in Switzerland, which is right on the border with Italy.  The picture of the Matterhorn on the right shows how the Matternhorn makes its own weather and can become wicked looking. Enjoy!!


The waterfront in Zurich, Switzerland was beautiful.  The park and it surrounding were some of the best landscape architecture that I saw when in Switzerland.  People were really using the park to it fullest when Ashley Brazeal (Larchie in Genoa, Italy) and myself were there last Saturday.  There were so many different activities that people were participating in, within the park.  The one that stood out the most was this guy who was using the landscape architecture materials, stone, for his artwork.  The guy was balancing rocks on top of each other to make some very interesting forms and balanced rocks.  I watched the guy place a couple of rock perfectly in just a couple of minutes.   He had some amazing talent for being able to balance these rocks.   As people walked by he was really getting their attention.  You can see in the picture how small the one rock is with such a bigger rock balanced on it, I dont know how he was doing it.   Amazing and highly enjoyable to watch!!

March Madness via Internet

WOW, I am a happy man and no one within thousands of miles cares at all. It's quite the different world from back home in Cincinnati where everyone was watching this game and currently celebrating the victory. Xavier moves on to the Elite Eight and it is killing me I'm not there to witness it. Having to invite myself over some friend's apartment and staring at a less than perfect internet stream on my laptop at 3 in the morning is not the way I would have pictured myself taking in this year's March Madness, but it works. WoOoOoOoOoOoO!

Zurich, Switzerland

Wow! What a beautiful city. So needless to say we were all pumped about the trip and on top of that, the Swiss Frank is only worth 0.97 USD. (Well, that was until we got there and found out that everything was pretty much double in price.) But that’s cool. The Zic Zac Rock-Hotel was awesome! HOTEL PARTY! ...on Friday night; we got the VIP treatment since we were staying there. Somehow I managed not to buy a single thing while we were there that night. But almost every view in Zurich is picturesque. I found myself snapping pictures of the same things just because it was daylight and you could see the mountains very well, or it was sunset and WOW was that sunset beautiful! Or I would capture the same building from a different angle just because it still looked picture perfect. I would have to say that Zurich and San Sebastian are my two most photographed cities in Europe.
Stadelhofen Station in Zurich was rebuilt in the 1990’s by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The station building from 1894 was preserved and the surroundings were completely redone in a fancy twist of modern art, thus forming a striking combination of the new and the old.

27 March, 2008


Barceloneta Open
Ok it’s officially on. The next MLPP tournament will be held on the twin courts of Barceloneta town in the hood of our cross town rival Doug “philosotect” Hecker. Word on the street is that he brings the heat and is like 6 foot 6in. and wears magical Merrell shoes of power, but that’s only rumor. Anyways the last tournament was of great success for our first season with the MLPP, and this tournament should be a breakthrough. The tournament will be open to anyone willing to step it up and crown themselves a true ping pong champion, this means whether you’ve a member or not you can come out and sign up, but please have ready your team name (be creative). Registration will be held through Commissioner Ryan “The Cripps” Ramsey (contact via jrramse@clemson.edu or RESA A412). The deadline for entry will be at 12 noon Saturday. With two tables the rounds should run pretty smoothly, so waiting time should not be bad. Personal statistics will be accounted for and added with previous game tallies for trading cards stats.

Tournament Starting Time: 2pm Saturday the 29th

Tournament Outline
NCAA Dance Bracket style
Pull names from hat to decipher starting matches
Round 1: first to 21, by service changes of 5
Final 4 & championship match: best of 3, play to 11, service changes of 3
Serves: cross court style (aka tennis style)
Game Point: server can loss on a bad serve (net shot or off table)
Winner: gets tootsie pops of their choosing
Loser: has to cook dinner for the winner
Attire: dress for the most hustling bustling sport around these parts, Harry no flip flops

Please bring your own paddle if you own one, if not we can supply you with one on temporary loan. Balls will be supplied.

Jewish Museum Berlin and "Shalechet" (Fallen Leaves)

One of the main stops that was a necessity to visit while in Berlin was the Jewish Museum. I have been wanting to go there since freshman year when we learned of it. The building itself by Daniel Libeskind is really amazing. The exterior was great and the window pattern was awesome to see up close; the window lines themselves were made by connecting different important locations in Jewish history. The first section you enter is the where three different axis create a hallway system that leads you to three voids and to the rest of the museum: the axis of death leads to the Holocaust Tower, continuity leads to the rest of the museum and the Memory void, and exile leads to the Garden of Exile. Each void is different in nature and feeling. The Memory void holds an installation by Menashe Kadishman called "Shalechet" (Fallen Leaves). There are 10,000 faces roughly made of iron that are spread out on the floor. When you walk on them, there is this echoing clanking noise that is really eerie. It was more of what I was looking for in this building especially since the rest of the museum felt very commercial and a bit trite with bright carpeting and bright installations. I was quite surprised at how there was such a difference between the the actual museum and the Holocaust sector of the museum.

Weird Figure

The other week before Spring Break, JC was telling us about this 'thing'.  Sorry I can not remember what you call this thing.   It is a combination of a snake, horse and man.  The reason for him telling us about this thing is to combine many different aspects with our project in order to come up with a good combination.   This is a really weird 'thing', I am not sure how or why he knew about this thing, but it really made for a good explanation.  I  by no means am into things like this but wanted to post and show everyone one of JC's many explanations.  Enjoy!!

I can smell it

The photo isn't showing up right, but it's supposed to show our hybrid progress. We have reached an interesting point in our project and we're really starting to move in the design. The goal is to create a carbon neutral building that will produce more energy than it uses. We hope to be able to sell power to Barcelona. I have found some interesting information about bioremediation and we could possibly help with the water problem a little. We are hoping to take a portion of the seawater and put it through a desalination process. This water would be pumped to the highest level and filtered down the mountain using gravity. It would pass through troughs of oyster mushrooms which would filter it and can be harvested for restaurants on our site. We haven't decided what to do with the purified water yet, but there are countless possibilities.

So there's no modern architecture in Venice or Rome...who knew

For independent travel I went to Berlin, Venice, and Rome. We went to Berlin because its one of the places to be as far as architecture goes and its reasonably priced. We went to Venice because we have just heard its amazing in general (plus we figured it would be good to have one place where we could just relax). We went to Rome to see all the classical Roman stuff. It is amazing how the Roman's created stuff that could stand the test of time...but as the city seems stuck in time, it does seem to get repetitive after awhile. What I did find interesting though, was that they had modern art in the vatican because that was definitely the last place I expected to see that. And they didn't just have a few pieces, they had a whole wing dedicated to it. So I may not have seen much new architecture while I was in Rome but I did learn that not all of Rome is ancient.

To the little town of Wolfenbuttel...

So I remember Adie's excitement the first time he saw Ronaldinho in Camp Nou. I also remember Cromer's 3 day grin while in Amsterdam. Well I got pretty excited when we pulled up to the Jagermeister Factory in Wolfenbuttel. Almost just as exciting as it was to see the only place in the world where they produce Jagermeister, was our long journey there. When most of the group bailed at the Berlin train station after seeing how much it would cost just to get there, Adam and I decided to trek on. We took the Die Bahn Train from Berlin to Wolfsburg, switched on another train to Braunschweig, and then took a 20 minute taxi ride to Wolfenbuttel. That put us in a place where most Americans or tourists in general don't travel to. Unlike Berlin or Barcelona, it was one of the first times where I felt like I was deep in another culture. The Jagermeister tour isn't run like Heineken or Budweiser where 100s of tourists come in and out of it daily. It's once a week and usually consists of 5 to 10 people from the surrounding area. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. We were rewarded with some souvenirs for our trek and it was quite the successful afternoon. We even made it back in time to meet everyone up for a night-time Reichstag visit.

The DZ Bank

well, I don't know what is the deal with fish and Gehry, but Im glad he likes them and they inspire him to creating such amazing architecture.
Although it might not be that occupiable in a lot of occasions. but it does what people hire him to do, which is impress everybody who sees his architecture.
When I first saw the exterior of the bank I wasn't that excited to enter. but when I went inside and saw "The Fish" I was IMPRESSED.
too bad we were not able to go into the building but, just seeing that form, and the way it reflected the light that came in through the main roof top, was enough to make my day.

Travelin and Spendin

Well we recently came back to Barcelona after 10 days or so roaming around Europe on an independent study trip. Saw lots of good stuff, spent plenty of good money, had a pretty good time. Architecturally, I was most intrigued by the projects in Berlin. The obvious answer is Libeskind's Jewish Museum, which was impressive, especially the museum exhibits themselves. Probably my favorite project for the whole trip, however, was Berlin's Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cutlures). This one was particularly interesting for its entire composition, landscape work, siting, and the actual structure. Walking through the project seemed an experience just as designed and thought through as the structure itself, and you know it works well when you feel the need to take pictures of every single detail (I'm not usually ever one to take many pictures). That's it for now, had a great trip, just might not include any of the top 5 most expensive cities in the world next time...

26 March, 2008

More London . com

Dearest Blog,

I would like to say that most of the architecture i saw on the trip was enchanting. I really liked the new developments london had to offer. They had a metropolitan center near the tower bridge and the project title was "More London". This project indcludes the bullet, the GLA building, and an entire fleet of new proposed buildings for the area.

There were amazingly innovative and stand at a large scale. I love buildings that really make a statement and over take the entire area. The GLA and the bullet are two great examples of this. There was also interesting landscaping around the area including a water walk leading up to the area, some interactive water sculptures, and fountains, and meeting plazas. There was a large green space to relax and have picnics in too which really helped the area seem more friendly.

After seeing the contemporary architecture here i really did want to see "More London" than i got too. I only wish it was warmer when i was there.

"I hurt myself" episode 2.5....tri point vumpf

dearest blog,

independent travel was simply amazing. It was really cold especially in berlin and london. We had alot of fun discovering other countries architecture and their cultures. Zurich was a very boring city, but we made it a blast.

In Zurich we spent time looking at the corbusier haus and the train station. We also played alot of frisbee and time hanging out and watching Swiss TV. The language is interesting, because it sounds very German with some English words popped in there every 10 seconds.

Ryan Ramsey had his worse day ever in Zurich. From splitting his nice pair of dress pants playing frisbee, to dropping a reciept in the road and having to chase it down in major traffic, and finishing it up with spilling half his McDonlads coffee all over himself and the floor.

All in all we all had a great time and spent lots of money. I only wish I could be still traveling instead of back in stuio.

Wash Owt.

25 March, 2008

In Berlin, the third day we were there was by far my favorite. I had read my "Travel Europe" book thing and been a total geek and planned out the whole day. I had lame little tidbits of information to throw out at each stop, things like "this is the hotel where Michael Jackson hung his baby out the window"...you know, highly interesting pieces of information. So anyways, we had been walking since like 8 in the morning in freezing cold weather all day and it had begun to snow off and on the whole day. At times, it was really snowing hard and we got covered, but at one point at sunset while we were nearing the end of Unter den Linden street, the snow started again but it was totally different than any snow I'd seen before. We could look down the street and see where it had started but it was not snowing on us yet. The sun was setting aka...it was still sunny...even while snowing. But the best part was that above us was a clear blue sky...in the snow. We walked in the snow for a few mins and then got to our next building with clear blue skies again. It was the craziest thing ever. I loved the snow in Berlin...snow under the blue sky...thats how it should always be :)

everyday i'm hustlin', everyday i'm hustlin'

aight, so just got back from independent study travel, aka spring break. me and brett went to paris and berlin, and both were ridiculously cold. and of course, me bein the dummy that i am, i only packed my hoody and 4 t shirts (tall tees, in a way), so of course i spent the entire week wearin every shirt i had and my hoody. but we did see some interestin architecture, though i'm not sure that rly made up for the miserable state that i was in all week. but neways, i think i'm gonna share my berlin experience with u all, or more specifically, my experience in mercedes world. ah, mercedes world. basically the only thing i wanted to see all spring break. it was an interestin piece of architecture. it had an interestin form, and the way the floors were formed was interestin too. it was also designed so that every available space became a showroom, and it integrated landscape throughout the structure too.

and of course, there was this:

MotoGP in Jerez de la Frontera begins FRIDAY

Okays, so this is blog number dos for the week, and then there is a lot of work to be done between right this minute and Thursday when my plane heads to Sevilla. Yikesers. So, here goes...

I'm sure people will talk about The Reichstag, DZ Bank, Sony, etc... because we all went to Berlin, however I don't want to. One funky building during my Indie Travel really caught my eye. In a weird way, it made me think of Lawrence Halprin and the way he uses his wife's choreography to design, but this building didn't have great circulation, just great movement of the building structure that caught my eye. Maybe a little Alice and Wonderlandish. The Dancing House is an office building in downtown Prague, designed by Czech architect Vlado Milunic in co-operation with Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry on a vacant riverfront plot (where the previous building had been destroyed during the Bombing of Prague in 1945). Originally named Fred and Ginger (after Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - the house vaguely resembles a pair of dancers) the house really stands out among the Neo-Baroque, Neo-Gothic, and Art-Nouveau buildings Prague is famous for. If this building had been in Berlin, it probably wouldn't have caught my eye, but because it sticks out almost like a sore thumb, I found it interesting and intriguing, and almost made Jen, Tara, and Matt pose as dancers like Fred and Ginger for a silly picture trying to manipulate the building.

Food, Cars, and Beer (And maybe some architecture in there somewhere...)

Independent Travel (Eh hem, Spring Break?) is all it's cracked up to be. My best buddy, Jen, and I decided we'd head through Bavarian country for this excursion, because the cultures run in both of our families, as well as through us, so we ended up in Berlin, Dresden, Prague, and Vienna. Bratwurst, sauerkraut, red cabbage, goulash, wienerschnitzel, dumplings, homemade chilli ketchup, pretzels, chocolates, peugots, mercedes, bentleys, ferraris, porsches, minis, pilsner urquell, kozel (my favorite), more beers, the cave bar, hot wine, and grog...

But seriously though, Indie Travel was an amazing experience. We were able to see a lot of architecture, landscape architecture, and art in the amount of time we had, and we didn't have to keep hurrying up to keep up with Doug, haha, and we could spend as much time at a building or site as we wanted to, exploring and analyzing it with each other. We found buildings we didn't quickly read about and put on the itinerary that were really interesting as we were walking along, and we bought books and maps to help understand the sites and buildings we were looking at, giving ourselves our own little tour :) We also were able to run in and out of art and car museums, a little culture effect, and after the rain and crap front went through, we were left with beautiful snow for all three countries we visited. Me gusta!

Family and friends

The first 4 days of my spring break, I spent with my old roommate in Germany. He lived with me in the states when he was preparing for his Thesis.
I think at that point, and after a great amount of work for the review we had the day before, I needed a break, a break where I didn't travel and run around all the time. A break where I can relax both mentally and physically. And with Yasin and his amazing family it was. I haven't seen my siblings for a long time now, and seeing his cousins and nephews was a little of a compensation. Plus, the idea of communicating was funny, since my german is not amazing, and they did not speak english that well. so I had to express my self in german all the time, and it used to crack me up whenever I wouldn't understand what one of the little kids said, and they try to explain it to me in simpler german.
I guess, one of the main reasons why this spring break was sooo special,in addition to the places I have been to, was the amazing people I was with.

Indie Travel

One of the most amazing things happened to me while I was on independent travel. We started with St. Patrick's Day in Dublin which was awesome by itself and I didn't think it could get much better. I then headed to Paris which was cool, but not as great as I expected. Rome was my favorite place probably because I was given the chance of a lifetime. My best friend and I happened upon "the haven for English speaking Catholics in Rome" on Good Friday. While we were waiting for mass to start, a man behind us tapped my friend on the back and gave us 2 tickets to Easter Mass at The Vatican. We were speechless. After getting coffee with this guy, who was traveling with his mother, we found out they were from the same town that my whole family is from in Alabama. What a truly small world it is! So Sunday morning there we were in St. Peter's Square 20 rows away from Pope Benedict giving Easter Mass; it's something I will never, ever forget....

24 March, 2008

is it a Gehry building?

In Berlin we took two tours one of New Berlin and the other of Potsdam both of those places were gorgeous. On our New Berlin tour we visited the DZ Bank Building in Praiser Platz near Brandenburg Tor (Gate). From the outside this building fits into the urban fabric and you cannot tell it is a Frank O Gehry building. But taking a closer look you can tell. On the inside the Gehry structure is quite evident and uses his infamous fish. Looking from above from the Reichstag Dome (Cupola) you can clearly see the fish structure. The building gives a false façade a boring one from the outside but once you approach it on the inside it is completely different and breathtaking. Looking from above is just a whole another perspective that you could not even imagine. This building is definitely amazing and worth to see while in Berlin.


Today was our first official day in Rome. We decided to go ahead and get the Vatican City out of the way because tomorrow would be chaotic due to Good Friday followed by Easter. After successfully waiting in line for 2.5 hours with hail and constant rain we finally got in. The city is totally blocked off by a wall and we had to turn 3 corners waiting in line before we actually got in. On the inside it is very quiet and serene without the tourist that is. We went to the Vatican Museum and saw Michelangelo’s creation in the Sistine Chapel. It was amazing and breathtaking. After touring the museum we went for lunch where pizza was by the weight. It was amazing and then we went into St. Peter’s Square. It was exactly how I pictured it. The lines were crazy, but we moved pretty fast and by now the sun came out so it was getting a little warmer. We went inside St. Peter’s Basilica and saw another one of Michelangelo’s creations “Pieta” crowded by tourist as usual. We then headed to climb the dome which was a total of 551 steps; we took the elevator half way then walked up the rest. The city was gorgeous from up there. A little windy but gorgeous. We also saw the infamous Swiss guards in their costumes. The Vatican is a gorgeous place to visit; food on the other hand in Rome is not so great.

Ways of communicating

I think it was professor Hecker who was telling us on the first study travel that if you have a pen and paper and can draw you can get around anywhere because a good drawing is universal. In the same way, something that has caught my eye everywhere I have gone is the signs that different places have put up. I'm not going to understand what the text says so the signs are more or less a game of pictionary. In this effort to communicate non verbally, I have come across some very amusing signs whether it has been a stick man being mangled because he did not exit the metro in time, or people running across the street with luggage in hand (which I am still not 100% sure what they mean with that sign). I thought the most humorous sign I would see was in the Netherlands letting you know that your dog is not allowed to use the rest room on their lawn, however, when we were leaving Venice, the funniest and most descriptive sign I have ever seen was a sign showing a stick woman prostitute, warning you that they come to that area. Its universal and easy to understand so it has a purpose but considering I have never seen a sign like that before it was amusing especially since they showed detail down to the purse and shoes a typical prostitute would wear. It makes me wonder who has the job of coming up with these things.