Saturday, June 20, 2009

An Unexpected Adventure

So I woke up this morning and hustled my way down to the airport to catch my flight, only to be delayed due to "mechanical problems," but to my surprise I wasn't alone. One of my classmates was unexpectedly on the same flight. We waited for about 5 hours before they finally got the plane in working order and then off we were to Amsterdam. Problem was that both of us had missed our connections by then, but the airline was nice and gave us accommodations for the night, which left us with a few hours to explore the city.

Downtown Amsterdam is only about 15 minutes by train from the airport, so it was pretty convenient. Keep in mind that the only thing I really knew about Amsterdam was that it had really cool row houses and canals running through the city. As we walked around window shopping took on a whole new meaning. I realize the whole city's not like the redlight district, much like there's more to Las Vegas than the strip, but it was a whole different world compared to what I was used to. A fun afternoon at any rate.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Retracing My Steps: Part 4 - Parc Guell

Decided to spend my last afternoon in Barcelona at Parc Guell. It really ended up being a nice afternoon. I spent a little more time soaking in Gaudi and met up with a nice lady who sold me some jewelry that I think my wife will like a lot (fingers crossed!). My walk took me back to a couple of days ago when we talked about Frank Ghery. Some of Gaudi's work doesn't really speak to me stylistically, but the fact that he was able to make it happen is just incredible. A lesson I hope to learn as I make my way as an architect.

The class met up at Santa Caterina for one last meal together. It was pretty good. Having eaten so much pork since I've been here I decided to go with a vegetarian dish, which was delish, but then a friend gave me a bite of her suckling pig and I about died. It was the best bite of pig ever! If I ever get back there I'm getting it. We all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Viva la Barcelona!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

San Sebastian

We rounded up our two day trip with some fun in San Sebastian. Unlike Bilbao, I though San Sebastian was a really interesting city. It was very subtle though, and I like that. Subtlety is a way of rewarding those that pay attention. Obviously not the best day for taking pictures, but a great experience none the less.

We visited the Kursal Centre by Rafael Moneo. It's a really sweet music hall right on the coast. The inside was great, but if you skip down toward the end of the post and you'll see a picture of it lit up at night which really added a new dimension to it. The windows also really frame the coast in an interesting way.

Our next and final stop was two installations of Eduardo Chillida's sculptures. They are all quite interesting. They pose questions of spacial continuity and order that I think architects ought to do more. For me it was more about implied space, and that intriques me quite a bit. His drawings are pretty amazing too if you look them up. After that we went down to the historic district and had some of the most amazing food I've ever had. Not fancy places like Les Cols, but it was great and there was an atmosphere unlike any other place I've been. Really too bad it was such a short trip, but I'm sure I'll be coming back sometime.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Today is the first day of a two day excursion to the north coast of Spain. We spent most of the day in Bilbao, and what I mean by that is that we spent most of the day in the Guggenheim. I don't mean any disrespect to the city itself, but there's nothing about it that sets itself apart from any other Spanish town we've been through other than the huge sculpture in the middle of it. Having said that I don't think the Guggenheim would have the same effect if it wasn't interacting with this quaint little city.

Most of my thoughts today revolved around Gehry himself. It seems to me he's a guilty pleasure for most architects. They poke fun in public, but behind closed doors they are in awe. Not necessarily because they think his buildings are so amazing, but because they wish they could get clients to spend exorbitant amounts of money to feed their creative whims. That's the one thing I think you take away from a guy like that, the idea we're not as constrained as we think we are. I think he also reminds us that architecture doesn't have to be so serious all the time. So for what it's worth, enjoy!