the fam

04.22.2012 § Leave a comment

The family left last week, but it was great to see them after what felt like forever. I finally took a little of my vacation that has been building up to spend he first couple of days with them. Of course, I was put on the production end of a competition right after I returned to work, so the next two weeks were a bit rough. It was a fun group, though, and the project seemed to turn out well, but it did not make it an easier kind of homecoming.
After the submission, I took off the three work days for the Easter holiday week, so I did get a good time them. I could not believe how big Desmond is getting. We went to the park and the Post and Tele Museum, which is free and has an entire floor devoted to a kids area. Des just called it “The Slide Museum” because the main attraction is a steep little stair that leads up to four black tube slides that are all pitch black. I could never remember which one ended in which room, so I would watch Des go down the hole and then fight the hoard of kids coming up the stairs and then run around trying to find where he ended up. Usually he was off playing on his own someplace and had not even noticed that I was not there.
Some of the other photos are of the apartment we rented in the center of the city, just around the corner from Rosenberg Palace and a short walk to the Statens Museum. Luckily, there was also a nice bakery or two to have pastries to go with the espresso maker that was in the apartment. I had a daily habit of three to four lattes. I am still going through withdrawal.
I am back at work now, and have just finished a quick weeklong charrette proposal for a new bridge in Tbilisi, Georgia. I had seen some of the things that are being done there, but reading the most recent issue of Mark Magazine, I had no idea what a hotbed of architectural development it had become. The city itself looks gorgeous, with all of these screened balconies that have a nice mix of western and eastern influenced patterning that came from it being a major stop on the Silk Road. Definitely on the list of places to visit someday…
And the photos.


The Office

03.17.2012 § Leave a comment

So, the last few weeks have seen the end of the competition for the new hospital in Vyborg, and my working in the model shop for a couple of weeks. There have also been a number of beautiful days, which have made it seem much less like winter and much more like spring. This is mostly a photo update since I am in a kind of holding pattern until I find out the next project. I will also throw in some images from my apartment, the office Friday bar (you can almost see the Arne Jacobsen three-legged chairs in the cantine), some past snowy days and just random things (like the “vintage” Domus with the Seattle Central Library on it that happened to be used as a weight for gluing in the model shop).
Also, the family has arrived as of Monday! But that is for another posting…


02.27.2012 § Leave a comment

Another trip to Jutland! Two domestic flights in one week. The security line was the most mellow experience I have ever had at an airport. Show up 20 mins before departure, no ID check, no full body scan, everyone is even in a good mood, obvious by the signage at the airport in Aalborg.

As the newest intern (of over 20!), I was chosen to go to help take down an exhibition that the office has had up since December in Aalborg at the Utzon Center, which showcased a wide range of work. The exhibit was also about process and making architecture more accessible to the public, so part of the gallery was biven over to studio space. One of the design studio actually met in the gallery for class and critiques, and their desks were on exhibit through the design of the project. It seemed like it would be hard to work through the creative process while on display, but everyone for the most part had positive responses about the project and process.

The center was designed by the son, Kim Utzon, with input from the father, I was told. The curved glulam beams and peaks on the building house Utzon’s sailboat, which faces the fjord. Yep, the largest fjord in Denmark cuts through Aalborg, or borders it at least. Not quite the image I had of a fjord after seeing photos from Norway’s vast network, but the water bordering the industrial areas was quite picturesque and fitting with the weather. The center definitely showcases the view with the colonnades and large windows framing the water and power plants. Not a bad place to study architecture.

*An interesting aside: I have been working quite a few weekends lately, so I have met the people who come in to clean the office several times. One day I was talking with the one man, and he got very excited after hearing of my trip to Aalborg and the Utzon Center. He got on my computer and typed in the URL for Utzonphotos, and told me how it was his site. It is impressive! He has beautifully documented almost all of Utzon’s projects in great photographic detail.

Another highlight was the converted power station, Nordkraft, which was right down the street. I only was able to visit in the evening, so the images are not the best. However, for a converted industrial space, it is one of the better adaptations I have seen. A lot of raw materials and existing equipment were left in place, and the program was possibly the most interesting combination of public/private uses ever: part university building, part theater, part music venue, part gymnastics center, part art gallery, part tourist office, part bar (x3), part restaurant (x4), part shop (x2), plus offices upstairs. There is a lot of talk about hybridizing program and bringing different user groups together, but I had never really seen a great example of it as I did in this building. Apparently the whole complex grew from a community theater/music group that put on shows and had accumulated enough money to convince the government that the building should be a piece of the community rather than developed for commercial purposes (which had fallen through anyway with the whole economy). Of course, this was what I gathered following a tour in progress (in Danish) translated from the other intern that was there, so some of the facts may be incorrect. Hopefully it is accurate (if not precise).

Also, Aalborg is apparently undergoing an expansion, with Coop Himmelblau designing a new House of Music, see the cranes below, and HLA working on new student housing right next door. Apologies if the images are out of order, my organizational skills within the galleries are somewhat lacking in the name of time…


02.22.2012 § Leave a comment

The second week saw the start of the competition, which included a day trip to Viborg (in Jutland) for a site visit. We also got to visit the new Town Hall, which HLA designed. It is a nice space, and surprisingly quiet despite there every floor being open to the atrium (also a great use of the stair/bleacher, which seems to get a fair amount of use).

As Denmark is consolidating the numerous smaller hospitals into larger centers that can handle newer equipment, higher patient demands, and larger trauma centers, there is an expanding need for designers of healthcare facilities. One of the people heading up the team described the expansion and investment as the largest single use of public money since Denmark became Christian, which led to the need for a lot of churches. So, he continued, healthcare is the new religion.

Just realized that there are no images of the actual site. I will try to include a before and after set at some point. The consensus was that there was no where to go but up, if that is any indication of the current state. I included the most compelling things, the concrete wall with moss and the frosted grass. It was cold.


First weeks….or a month…

02.22.2012 § Leave a comment

(For efficiency sake, I am going to try to update what has been happening and upload photos in a more timely manner. Hopefully.)
Realizing that I have been here now close to a month, I should update this before I get too far out to catch up (as is typical of my blogging past). I spent the first week getting adjusted to the office of 160ish people on three (!) floors of white everything. I was in the model shop for most of the week working on models for three competitions and finishing with some volumetric studies for the competition I am now working on, a hospital for Vyborg. It is a nice shop with a good set of tools, a few work tables, a few foam cutting stations, a laser cutter, a 3D printer and a spray booth. They turn out some nice models, even when the competition does not call for a physical model, a lot of times they are used for photos or presentations.

Copenhagen in 2012 (Thank you Scan|Design)

01.15.2012 § Leave a comment

I know that the year in the URL has ended, but for continuity’s sake I will keep using this blog. It will be a documentation of my experience in Copenhagen as an intern at Henning Larsen Architects (HLA) from January to June, as well as a place to record all of the other exciting things that come with being in Copenhagen.

First things, first. I must extend thanks to the Scan|Design Foundation for the generous support through the HLA Internship Scholarship. Without their support, this experience would not be possible.

Upon my arrival, I was greeted by an old acquaintance that came to meet me at the airport.

And then by another old friend that met me at the Central Station.

And then the Central Station at night during my 40 minutes walk (with all my bags) to the HLA intern apartment, where I will be staying for the first 2 months until Anya and Desmond get to CPH.

Toddler Architecture (Bikes)

09.08.2011 § Leave a comment

One more thing about the playgrounds. Most are public and some are even staffed during the day with a few keepers that put out toys/bikes/educational items for use by individual children as well as the public daycares. If you time it right, you get an empty amazingly stocked playground all to yourself. The most impressive was the collection of bikes steel bikes at one of the parks in Ørstedsparken (rickshaws, cranes and recumbents!). Everyone always talks about the bikes in CPH, but I had never seen any mention of these. I was so impressed that I had to get a pic of each one just before a daycare tore through the gates and chaos ensued.