30 June 2008

first day of school: tiny houses, music, water

(bad photo of the houses, taken while riding a bus)

we met at the Royal Academy of Fine Art School of Architecture for the opening ceremonies… on the way I spotted this amazing community of tiny (really tiny) houses which began as a summer time gardening community type area in the 60’s with lots of small plots and over years more and more people built these houses on the lots. today it looks like a toy land with tons of these tiny houses really close to each other which people actually do live in. It honestly looks like a gnome land - i hope to get back there and take more photos soon.

(installation hanging from the ceiling of the the Royal Academy of Fine Art School of Architecture - composed of tire inner tubes)

at our opening ceremony a string quartet played as part of the program. we were told that this was a true Danish tradition for all opening and closing ceremonies to include live music. one very nice tradition.

the music was followed with a lecture by the architect and city planner Jan Gehl who has written a number of books on designing better cities and is currently working with Bloomberg to help make NYC incorporate more Copenhagen characteristics (i.e. safer bike lanes!!!). he talked about how during the 60’s people were never discussed within architecture – and that the 50’s “car-invasion” created a hierarchy with cars on top resulting in unsafe, unfriendly, less social spaces. his point was this made us lose our sense of quality (of life + materials). Copenhagen has so many examples of design relating to the people – each bike lane is carefully designed, safe, easy to use and does actually force cars to give them the right of way. I think it would be worth checking out some of his books… like ‘Public Spaces Public Life’.

Roaming the school grounds...

(Tawny and Azusa, Pratt schoolmates)

(just a shot next to the school of well designed stair cases)

that afternoon we took a boat tour around the canals and harbor. the city is undergoing a lot of new luxury buildings being built right on the waterfront as well as office buildings. we spotted a few house boats but not too many. Here are just a few from the 100 photos I took from that tour:

so far, so awesome – calm and charming city with so many really sweet friendly people. what is so striking is how everyone obeys the traffic laws. for example almost all bikers signal when turning, they all stop at the red light, and where lights at night. this is due of course to heavy fining if breaking any of the laws.

today (tuesday) we headed out and explored with our glass teacher, Charlie Meaker, after our morning lecture. highlights included the department store Illums and the Kunst Industri Museet (Danish Museum of Art & Design) which had a huge exhibition on ceramicist Bodil Manz (love her work). more on that tomorrow…

a quiet sunday

like all euro cities, almost everything was closed on sunday... so a little exploring and unpacking

i arrived and settled into the Keops Kollegium (a student dorm) though this one is more like a NYC studio apartment (incl. private kitchenette + bathroom). I will be living here for the first week and then returning for at least another week at the end of my program. It is the neighborhood of Nørreport which is referred to as Copenhagen's "youngest, trendiest, and most diverse neighborhoods... and some even refer to it as 'The Nørre-bronx".

the Keops building is super new (opened in 2006) and super modern. you may be able to see it in the picture above, the building has apartments on the exterior walls while there are three communal spaces which are suspended (float) in the middle. the Danes are really into the idea of intertwining both private and public life so you see a lot of architecture that includes space for social gatherings.

so about the city... it's all about the bikes + i'm loving it
36% of the city commutes by bike (daily!) - and almost every single street have a seperate bike line with it's own crossing lights.

sites like this with tons of bike parking are everywhere

great ad campaign for the city + biking

love these cargo bikes - tons of people use them, they have three wheels with two in the front. they are super versatile - people use them to transport their kids, groceries, etc.

nice graphic design

more to come...

well, just before arriving

I caught one of the most beautiful sites while transferring planes at the Reykjavik airport...
just adored the facade of this building. As if someone painted a huge watercolour grid and applied it on the building.

arrived in style

I arrived in Copenhagen in a Rolls Royce (as marked on the plane wing.)

What is a travel report without a weather report... it's MUCH cooler here then I had expected. Having driven with Sacha to the airport in very humid 90 degree weather with no ac made it all the more drastic to get off the plane to a cool breezy 70 degrees. It seems that there is quite a bit of wind and amazing cloud formations (which I'll be documenting). Don't forget, at this time of year there is about 4 hours of night, so by 4:30am the sun is shining BRIGHT.