The week started out slow with the whole group working very hard and long on our projects. We had our last class with Vincent on Tuesday for our seminar class. Jodi and I managed to go to Paris one lst time to check out the top of the Eiffel Tower, Princess Diana’s memorial statue, and Museum d’Orsay. Thurday, the day before the project was due, was filled with stress, computer screens, pencils, tracing papaer, and Web Pizza (a local pizza joint in Lille). Thomas, Jodi and Melissa’s friend, arrive this day to see his fellow NDSU colleagues, and discover Lille while on his trek thorugh Europe. After the metro closed and we had ll left the school to continue working on our projects at home, Oliver, Kirsten, Lyle and I had a fire alarm wake up call at one in the morning.
Friday was filled with presenting our studio and seminar projects. After the 6 hour long day of presentains firnally ended we all ent back to our apartments to get ready for our last dinner out as a group before dispersing home. Paul Gleye reserved a nice table for us at a local restaurant in downtown Lille.
It has been quite the week; I hardly know where to begin. Last Tuesday, the 29th, was the start of an eventful week. That morning, we met with a landscape architect here in Lille, Denis Delbaere, to go and experience Les Jardins de Colysee over on the west side of the city. We briefly learned about the political debate that went on during the design and execution of the gardens. The residents living near the area did not want the gardens for fear that the public would invade their privacy. Later that evening, all twelve of us boarded a coach bus with the 5th year French students and embarked on a five-day trip through Germany. Our first stop: Cologne.
Wednesday morning we loaded the bus and traveled an hour out of the city to the small town of Mechernich to see Peter Zumthor’s Bruder Klaus Feldkappelle. This private project was built to honor St. Nicholas of the Fleu but is open for the public to visit. After an hour, we headed back on the bus to visit the Kolumba Museum in Cologne, which was also designed by Peter Zumthor. This building delicately rises from the ruins of the late Gothic church, both preserving and respecting the site and its history. After spending the afternoon in Cologne, we headed to Mannheim where we explored Frei Otto’s Multihalle exhibit. This tensile structure was originally supposed to be temporary but 35 years later, it is still standing. However, it is currently closed to the public due to structural problems. Finally, we boarded the bus and headed to Stuttgart to turn in for the night.
Thursday’s journey brought us to the Mercedes-Benz museum designed by UN Studios. Everyone went off on their own self-guided tours before getting on the bus and travelling to Weissenhofsiedlung. This is one of the most significant landmarks left by the “Neues Bauen” movement in Stuttgart during 1927. Seventeen architects created an exemplary residential scheme for modern urban residents under the direction of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Le Corbusier’s Weissenhofmuseum is one of the surviving semi-detached homes and is open for public viewing. Finally, we headed to Munich for the night but not before stopping in New-Ulm to see the NUWOG Headquarters. This mixed-use building by Fink & Jocher displays an interesting façade characteristic. The building sits in a zigzagged footprint unparallel to the street, however, each brick has been oriented in a parallel fashion to the street creating definition and texture.
Friday morning started with a visit to the Herz Jesu Kirche chapel in Munich. Allmann-Sattler Wappner designed this small chapel. Some of you may recognize this building by its 46-foot tall glass doors that open like a large gate. From there, we drove to the outskirts of the city to see the Allianz Arena by Herzog & De Meuron. This soccer stadium is known for its ETFE-foil air panels that appear white but are actually transparent up close. Each panel can be independently lit in red, white, or blue colors for the soccer matches. After a few hours of waiting around, we gladly hoped on the bus and headed back into the city to see the Brandhorst Museum by Sauerbruch Hutton. Later, a group of us wandered into the heart of the shopping area to the Fünf Höfe (five courts) mall before meeting for dinner and drinks at the Hofbräuhaus. This massive beer hall is capable of seating 3000 people and is known to tourists and locals for their large beer steins and traditional polka music.
Saturday, our last day in Germany, was filled with sunshine and relaxation. We started off at the BMW Welt, designed by Coop Himmelblau, where we got to explore the incredible detail of the architecture and the automobiles. After checking out the latest and greatest that BMW has to offer in their line of cars, we wandered over to the Olympic Stadium that was designed by Frei Otto and Gunther Behnisch. The tensile structure of the stadium appeared to flow in and out of the landscape with the seats mimicking another hill in the park. After a stroll around the lake in the center of the park, we climbed to the top of the tallest hill where we could look out on all of the Olympic Stadium and its surroundings.
The trip to Germany was indeed more eventful than I can put into words but the architecture was beautiful, the people were good company, and the food was very German. This week will be busy with everyone finishing projects and seminar courses. After that, it’s home free.
Greetings from Lille, France.
After spring break, all of us had to hit the ground running with our studio and seminar assignments. Since several of us had traversed the far reaches of the European Union during spring break, it was quite difficult to bring our assignments with us. This week was a work week before another whirlwind adventure. We will be heading out with the French students on Tuesday on a 5-day bus trip through Germany to see new architecture in Cologne, Mannheim, Stuttgart, and Munich.
During our time this week, we worked with Vincent Ducatez, our Lille seminar teacher, on our respective seminar project as well as our plaza project. We also had the opportunity to visit Vincent’s studio and see the progress his students have made on their own assignments.
A majority of the group decided to travel to London. Andrew and Olivier stayed longer to visit Olivier’s cousin in a suburb of Enfield. They went to such places as Parliament, British museum, Natural History Museum, Wimbledon grounds, changing of the guard (Buckingham), Gherkin, City Hall, National Gallery, Portrait Gallery, Olympic Grounds (2012), and the O2 arena. The rest of the London group saw various places like Tate Modern, Globe Theater, and Millennium Bridge.
The majority of those who went to London found that they had come at a time of student protests. British students and others shut down the main part of London as they marched to Parliament. It was part of the 2010 UK student protests that began in November. The reason for the protests sparked when the student fees have tripled in the past year. It was relatively peaceful for the most part for the size of the crowd.
Nathan went to Canterbury this weekend, which is where Geoffrey Chaucer set his tales named appropriately Canterbury Tales
Paul visited the city of Metz in the eastern part of France, which has a new branch of the Pompidou Center art museum in Paris. The spectacular building is called the Center Pompidou-Metz and is designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban.
On Monday, we had the unique opportunity to learn about what is currently happening with mass transportation in Lille. We sat down with head planner Matthew Goetze and the material we discussed was very informative for our seminar project.
Also, we had a birthday this week: Scott Wullschleger. Happy Birthday, Scott!
Stay tuned for exciting stories about brand-new architecture in Germany.
Greetings from France, Holland, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Germany, Scotland, Greece, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, and the Czech Republic!
The last few weeks have gone far too fast. The first was a short one with a few work days in Lille while everyone finalized their spring break plans. Then starting Friday our group dismissed in all different directions to savor Europe. I will now give a briefing of the places each group visited.
Starting with myself and Olivier we travelled to Belgium to visit his cousin in Brussels for two days. We saw such monuments as mannikin pis, atomium, and the EU assembly headquarters, after enjoying a Belgian waffle. Then after a short stop back in Lille we took a train to Paris, and then flew to Barcelona for a week where Nathan met us after 4 days in Copenhagen and Malmo, Sweden. The experiences we had include a walking tour of Gaudi´s architecture, attending an fc Barcelona football match, visiting a few parks that overlook the city and the sea, and of course enjoying the sunny beaches. For a quick two days Nathan and I popped down to Valencia and saw some of Santiago Calatrava´s most impressive work. Bicycle rides, street parades with grill outs, and a lot of sun added up to an unforgettable experience this is sure to lure us back some day.
For the next group – Lauren, Cody, and Lyle went skiing in Chamonix, Switzerland, a ski town that sits at the base of Mount Blanc, the tallest mountain in Western Europe. Skiing from the peaks of the mountains was incredible and the views of the surrounding mountains were equally spectacular. Lyle claims he has never seen such enormous mountains nor skied anywhere that has been that surrounded by towering peaks.
Following that they met up with Kirsten in Geneva Switzerland and spent the day visiting museums, buying chocolates, paddle boating on the lake, and enjoying the huge pressurized fountain. From there they went to Athens, Greece where they had the opportunity to visit the ancient sites of the Greek Acropolis, enjoy incredible food, lounge on the beach, and shop in the packed market streets of Athens. Truly unforgettable.
Mixed in with that group was Jodi, who first visited the Czech Republic and Berlin on her way to Athens. In the Czech Republic she visited a friend would lives in the capital city of Prague. While there she saw a famous dancing house, the Prague castle, was inspired by the ‘tallest building in Prague’ and stepped back in history while visiting a few soviet buildings. In Berlin she saw such sights as the Brandenburg gate, the Riechstag capital building, and the Hauptbahnhof central station. Then she flew to Athens to join Lyle, Lauren, Cody and Kirsten for a breathtaking view of thousands of year old buildings.
The next group of adventurers, Brittney and Melissa, headed out of Lille bound for Scotland and Ireland. Their first stop came in Glasgow where they spent time with Melissa’s friend Sarah. Later on they also met up with Brittney’s parents in Dailly, Scotland. When exploring they visited the Glennkinchie distillery where they learned all about Scottish whiskey. Later they enjoyed a charming ferry ride to the Isle of Arran where they saw costal life as well as some chocolate and cheese factories. Next was St. Patrick’s Day which was spent in Belfast discovering more about alcohol production, ect. Finally they saw a monastery on the way to Kilkenny, which is Ireland’s medieval capital. From the sea to the country side, it was one very relaxing spring break for Melissa and Brittney.
Our final group, Mike and Scott, went to Marseille, France located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea for spring break. Marseille is a fantastic city with a lot of character and some of the best scenery you could find anywhere. They climbed up the steep hill to the Notre Dame de la Garde cathedral and saw stunning vistas of both the sea and the mountains that border the city. While staying in probably the friendliest hostel anywhere, they met all sorts of people from other countries including Germany, Australia, Scotland and New Zealand! They also visited a building by the famous architect Le Corbusier which was very interesting in its approach to low income housing and the maximization of interior space. After exploring nearby islands, seeing jaw-dropping beauty and making new friends it was very hard to leave. The hot, sunny weather didn’t help either!
All in all, we had an unforgettable spring break which was energizing, educational, entertaining, and most of all full of culture. Being motivated to learn a second language, brush up on foreign politics, and see humanity on a global scale has been a truly rewarding opportunity. With just under one month remaining, who knows what else we will be inspired to pursue.
It has been a productive week in Lille, France since we just got back from Amsterdam it has been pretty much devoted to working on the project and really figuring out the space and what needs to be done to really make these spaces flow and be integrated into the city, instead of just sitting on the side lines like they were before but really highlighting the brilliance of the space that is there, what it has to offer, and the importance that it has for the city. Since, everyone’s project is different in some way, shape, or form, we have all been working on different things but basically figuring out the concept, plan layout, and the details that will help us accomplish our goals at making these urban spaces stand out areas that people like to occupy.
We also, got to take a day trip to Roubaix, France, which is one of the three towns that make up the metropolitan area of Lille. It use to be industrial full of factories but now is just a small historic area trying to survive. We walked around the town, and got to see a zoo that was made up of baby lambs, an exhibition that had a huge white bunny, a textile factory, and an art museum that made from a swimming pool. It was a great way to spend the afternoon learning a little more about the town that we live in and the culture that makes up part of Lille.
Even though we have been hard at work this past week, as everyone knows if you work hard you sometimes tend to play even harder, and we have been taking full advantage of this phrase and of this opportunity experiencing Lille, France at its finest, along with some of its neighboring countries Spain, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium.
A few of us went to our first French Futbol (soccer) game, where it might have been cold outside, but the spirit and pride of the Lille fans was enough to make everyone warm at heart, where their chants and cheers flew their team to a shoot out victory. When the weekend began we all went our separate ways ready to take the adventures that lured in front of us, not knowing yet the outcome of our possibilities.
First, we head to Rennes the capital of (Bretagne) Brittney a region in the Northwest corner of France, known as an administrative city, is now trying to be an individual with the language, culture, and architecture that it has to offer. Olivier got to hang out with some friends that he has not seen for quite some time and get to experience a side of France that is quite different from the Metropolitan area that we are living in now, with its coastal line, seafood and St. George Palace and gardens. Next, going south towards the warm weather and sunshine a group headed to Spain. The weather was beautiful especially after the rainy, wintery weather of France, it made the architecture that was amazing in the first place just seem that much better. The trip was one never to forget with the Mies Van Der Rohe Pavilion, the 1992 Olympic stadium, Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo by Gaudi in Barcelona, the Guggenheim in Bilbao and ending with tan lines and relaxing waves splashing on the beach in St. Sebastian. Spain has a multitude of things to offer and this trio definitely made the best of there time spent there.
Now, we go west to Berlin, Germany a place that is rich in culture, History, and beauty. Andrew and Nathan took full advantage of this area while they discovered some really great architecture like the Berliner Dom, which is the Capital building of Berlin, along with the Brandenburg Gate and got to experience some of the culture while they visited the Bauhaus-Archive, and Judisches museums. Then we head north to Copenhagen, Denmark; with all of the wonderful architecture there is really no limit to what they might be designing next. The expression of creativeness is present everywhere from, furniture, sculptures, graffiti, and especially buildings, but also in the atmosphere that created an environment that was perfect for seeing the town. This trip would not be complete however without a little jaunt to Malmo, Sweden to catch a glimpse of the turning torso, by Santiago Calatrava before the sunset on its twisted form. Last, but not least the rest of us road tripped to Bruges, Belgium; where Scott and Mike got to full fill a dream and saw the town of Bruges from the movie “In Bruges,” Brittney got to meet a sweet bartender named Steve at Joey’s café, who loves “Journey,” we got the savor the best of Belgium, chocolate, beer, swans, and horse drawn carriages, along with walking up 366 stairs to the top of the bell tower in the grand plaza. We also went to the North Sea, in Oostende, Belgium where Lyle got to play in the freezing cold water, and we got to spend the gorgeous day on the beach, collecting seashells and getting our fill of seafood.
The time flew by as yet another week has past, and the end is approaching, what will the next week have in store for us, no one will ever know, but the anticipation is looming over head and Spring break is just around the corner. All I can say is let the good times roll and enjoy every minute of living.
This has been a week of new acquaintances and new experiences for the France crew. As we
entered our third week in the city of Lille, members of our group have begun to take advantage of
Lille’s role as one of the major transport hubs of the region, taking this opportunity to see as much of
the famed Architecture and Landscape Architecture of Europe a possible.
Also, much like in Blois, the French students and faculty of our host school decided to throw us
a welcoming party. How the students approached this party helped to emphasize the differences
between the rural town of Blois and the metropolis of Lille. In Blois, we were greeted with a pleasant
lunch of homemade traditional French dishes that the students had made themselves. In Lille, we were
received with a much different sort of party. The packed student run cafe was filled with music and
cheers as we were introduced officially to the new school. Feeling a bit like rock stars, we partied with
the students late into the night, making many new friends in our new “home base.”
The excitement for the week didn’t end with our welcoming party though, as we headed off to
Amsterdam for the weekend!
Getting to Amsterdam wasn’t necessarily easy for us though. A few of us learned why it’s a bad
idea to board a train too early. We should have realized something wasn’t right when we were the only
ones aboard the train as it started to move 10 minutes ahead of schedule, but our mistake was made
obvious when we finally stopped moving in the middle of a rocky yard along side several other rows
of parked passenger cars. Jumping out of the train like a group of hobos, we got to see the train we
should have been on whiz by us as we walked back to the rail station.
However, eventually we did arrive in Amsterdam, and we were more than willing to go get lost
in the beautiful maze of canals and crooked streets surrounded by slightly askew buildings that looked
like they could be from a Doctor Seuss story. Examples of Dutch ingenuity, craft, and design were
around every corner. Beautiful masonry structures from the mid twentieth century, modern houses with
canal waterways as “backyards,” and beautiful tree-lined walkways connecting the city into a web of
thriving pedestrian activity are just a few examples of what we were able to see in this incredible city.
As the weekend came to a close, we all (successfully this time) got back onto our trains to Lille,
ready to prepare for what is sure to be another eventful week in France.