Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Water Show

Tonight I went to Placa de Espana and watched the weekend water show. Not quite the Bellagio, but they did play a lot of 90´s music that you might have heard at the high school prom, took me back a bit. I also got some video footage that I´ll try to upload at some point. It was a nice, relaxing way to spend a Sunday evening after a pretty busy week, hope you enjoy it too.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gaudi or How I Learned to Stop Depending on Machines for Daily Living

So I´m going to jump into the future for a second. Two days from now my computer is going to crash and life as I know it will cease to exist. Sad but true. The worst part about this predicament for those reading this is that the blog is going to be significantly less cool. I´ll blog and upload pics as usual, but no image manipulation or videos for now. I´m going to rework the blog once I get home and I´ll send out an email once it´s done, but for now mediocrity is my middle name.

In the meantime, I took this Saturday afternoon to stroll by The Batllo house by Gaudi. I didn´t go on the inside (that´s for this coming tuesday), but the outside was pretty stellar. Also happens to be my wife´s favorite architect, so I thought it would be worth two posts. Enjoy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The German Pavillion

Also known as the Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe , we came here two days ago and then took some time to let it soak in. I went back today, had some gelato and did some drawing. It was a great afternoon.

I know a lot of you might say something like, "I don't get it?" It's ok, I had to look at it for a long time before I got it, and some of it is still lost on me I'm sure. I'm probably couldn't give you any sophisticated explanation of the buildings significance, but I would say its about minimalism, materiality, precision and space conception, but really I think its just about Mies.

Lastly here's the first film I ever made. Obviously not my best work, especially now that I've seen it in person, but it gave me the chance to really discovered Mies, and a big part of what brought me here. Enjoy.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Forum con Barcelona

Today it was my and Kendal's turn to walk the group around part of Barcelona. This is the same part that contains the amazing photovoltaic in my earlier post ("A Photovoltaic Like No Other"). We met right off the metro and walked through yet another amazing Enric Mirrales park installation (below).

Just across from the park there's an interesting convention center/hotel complex next to the local shopping mall. I haven't gotten inside yet, but there's an amazing view of the ocean from the neck of the building on the left. The complex is a collage turned architecture. Squint your eyes if you don't quite see it.

The last part of the walk we were able to complete (due to some weekend concert event) was the forum by Herzog & De Meuron. It's a really interesting building, but part of me is just not that in love with it. But you do get some interesting moments, and from a certain vantage point the building seems to float. It's a triangular shaped building, but if you walk underneath, you can see places where the building is punctured through and lined with reflective materials. Not too bad.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

It's about Mies, but I really think it's about architectural landscape ecology and modernism!

Well tonight I would have to say it was really about Barcelona winning the cup. I watched the last half an hour or so of the game on the megatron at Catalunya. In about the 75th minute or so Messi headed in a goal off a pretty sweet pass that sealed the deal. It was fun to watch and also to see how crazy the rest of the world gets about soccer (futbol, whatever). I've never watched a full game and I probably never will, but I can always get into a game in a country where people care about it. I mean, if I could get into cricket I could probably get into anything.

Now to the real post. It was a full day. We walked a good 7 or 8 hours, and by the time I was done I was sorry I started, but we did see some pretty amazing things. As the title of the post suggests, the day started out about Mies, but since he will require multiple posts throughout the trip, I'll skip over him and start right into architectural landscape ecology and modernism (as our fearless leader put it.) I will say that our first stop was the Barcelona, I mean "german" pavillion and it blew my mind. Awesome.

We made quite a trek up the hill, passing lots of civic buildings that included what I'm assuming is the capital building as well as other structures erected for the 1929 International Exposition. The place still seems like an exhibition in a lot of ways, attracting mostly tourists and disconnected significantly from the main city, but it is quite a grand space to be in.

As we got about half way up the hill, there started to be various installations within the landscape leading up to the Joan Miro Foundation Museum designed by Josep Lluis Sert.

Our next stop was an interesting above-ground cemetery. The place was like a labrynth. We couldn't tell where it started or ended, but was actually a really pleasant place to be in. As we made our way up we were given great views of the city and the ocean below.

The signal tower below is by Calatrava. Built for the olympics in 1988. They wouldn't let me go up.

We at long last arrived at the botanical gardens. It was a very new project by an old architect, Carlos Ferrater. This is where we get to architectural landscape ecology and modernism. I won't bore you with a lot of rhetoric, but suffice it to say that until I saw this project I thought that those two concepts were utterly opposed to each other. But to see this Mies style building overlooking the gardens was a thing of beauty, and the two seemed totally in harmony with each other. And if I hadn't been utterly exhausted by the time we got there I probably would've enjoyed it a lot more. I may have to take a second trip.