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…

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