Last of the Last

These are the last of my photos from my time in Amsterdam. Again, I feel bad for not being up to date with my blog, but I have been spending more time doing schoolwork. I haven’t been going too far outside of Barcelona either, so there haven’t been long days of photographic documentation.

On the plus side, I have booked my flights into and out of Istanbul, and hotel room for the second week of December, before I fly home on the 20th! I also have a desire to spend the week before that seeing some of the other big cities in Spain for a few days. Madrid, Seville, Granada, Valencia, all in my “plans,” but nothing is set in stone yet, we’ll see.

Now, onto the pictures. First up, a picture of the boat I stayed on. It requires a bit of a disclaimer: No laughing! It has old world charm (except for maybe the tarp as a preventative roofing measure)!

Hallway to the bedrooms, my room is at the end, kitchen is to the right.

This is the view from the bed.

This is a bike that was obviously just pulled from the canal.

My last day in Amsterdam was spent touring another man-made island with some more cool Dutch architecture.

Boats!

Look at that intense autumn colour!

I think this pedestrian bridge is called “The Python.”

View from the top.

More nice houses along the waterfront.

Check out this detailed building facade, its effects really change as you look at it from different angles. The same building is below!

Photobomb!

Back in the old city of Amsterdam!

I’m not sure what the formal name of this museum is, but it is generally referred to as “The Bathtub.”

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Museumsplein

Goodbye Netherlands! It was short and sweet!

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Rotterdam!

On the same Tuesday that I was in Delft, I went to Rotterdam in the afternoon. There we had a bit of a tour from a local architect, highlighting many of the landmark buildings and construction projects still underway. History lesson: Rotterdam was basically flattened during WWII, so much of the development since has caused the city to take on a very modern look. There is a lot of interesting architecture, but the European-ness of the city is pretty much lost.

I’ve come up with an approximation of my afternoon tour, overlaid on a photo of this interactive model that was in the civic info center.

I’m not sure what building this is, but I really liked the materiality of the facade.

This is a Renzo Piano project. It was pretty underwhelming. In terms of a facade screen, it’s really uninteresting and boring. The leaning structure thing doesn’t do much for me either. Rem Koolhaas’ De Rotterdam is under construction just behind it.

This is the Erasmus bridge, nicknamed “The Swan.” It is probably the nicest suspension bridge I’ve ever seen.

View across the river.

Another shot of De Rotterdam. It’s actually one of Koolhaas’s older projects, but has taken quite a long time for it to come to fruition, probably because it is so massive, about 160,000 square meters of gross floor area.

Container cranes in the distance.

The Rotterdam Floating Pavilion, the building envelope is an inflated thermoplastic supported on a regular geodesic dome.

The Cube Houses, more strange, Dutch architecture.

Hello, Kitty.

Kitchen

What a strange fit!

Look how excited Maricris is!

Rem Koolhaas’ Kunsthal. Funny story, exactly one week after I was here, 7 paintings were stolen including a Picasso, Monet, Matisse, etc.

It was closed when I was here, but even wandering through the exterior spaces was really cool.

The aspect of reflectivity was impressive, giving an idea of space which isn’t really there and turning an asymmetry into symmetry.

I think this was the architectural association.

And lastly, Rotterdam Central Station. This is a project by Will Alsop, and it’s kind of a mess but seems like when it’s finished it could be really cool. It’s still under construction, so let’s wait and see.

Ok, well that was my trip to Rotterdam. I’ll finish my trip to the Netherlands in a bit. I still have some photos to share, like the boat I stayed on, and a few from Museumsplein, but my internet here at studio is lagging big time and it’s super annoying trying to upload stuff. See ya later!

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Longest Blog Update Ever Cntd.

I went to the Netherlands by train Sunday night, October 7th. I had booked a bed in a sleeper car from Munich Central Station to Amsterdam Central station, arriving at 9 am. I was going to the Netherlands to take a class offered by EVDS which focused on the Randstad region and its urban planning strategies which contribute to an overall sustainability framework. Naturally, architecture plays a big part in the design and construction of this regional development. Quite a few of my pictures are a result of my being in these places as part of the class. The cities which I visited were Amsterdam, Delft, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.

My sleep on the train was surprisingly nice. After a rainy day in Munich, I woke up to the train breezing through the flat Dutch countryside on a bright, sunny morning.

It’s not a great picture, but I was excited to be in a new country!

Our first class tour was to a constructed island called IJburg. Now for those of you who need a little bit of reference regarding the Netherlands and their use of dykes, canals, and water in general, my understanding is that all of the water which fills Amsterdam’s canals is fresh water. The body of water which makes up the waterfront of Amsterdam was once a large bay of the North Sea, but was shallow enough that the Dutch could build dykes that connected land masses along the outer shore line, and drain the salt water out. This allowed the rivers to fill these huge areas with fresh water, and while at great risk to flooding, helped with irrigation and farming in the region. Now, Amsterdam is using this waterfront space to build island communities. I’ll reserve judgement on that topic for my class project.

As you can see in the first few photos, water continues to play a large part in building these new neighborhoods. Most people in these places have a front step to the street, and a back step to their boat. The last two are pictures from a particular street which has a rather architectural quality to it. Some of these houses are the work of modern Dutch architects, of which there are lots of great ones. It seemed that the Dutch tend to be quite partial to their own architects, as I am not familiar with many of them, and I find Dutch words and names are incredibly hard to pronounce.

Day two in the Netherlands started in the university town of Delft, also famous for their china which incorporates a special color appropriately called “Delft blue.” We were going to have a tour and listen to a talk about how the design faculty at TU Delft recovered from a fire which destroyed their previous building and allowed them to inhabit and construct an addition to a historical building, giving a new home to the more than 3000 students in the faculty. This would be an incredible architecture school to go to!

The “Delft blue” motif is incorporated into lots of things, like furniture!

The faculty has an incredible collection of original production modernist chairs, including this one from the Vitra collection. In a future blog post, you will see a scale model of this chair, and a price tag. Imagine how much this one is worth!

They had some really cool Lego models on display. Students getting to make models/have access to this much Lego? That is like a childhood dream come true!

This is how most of the chair collection is stored, on these big shelves with a rolling step ladder to climb up and take a closer look, like in a library.

A large part of the Eames collection. I’m sure we’ve all sat in a reproduction of one of these before.

Here is their awesome workshop space. Seriously, look at all the room!

The architecture library desk is made out of books, those which clearly did not make the grade of shelf quality.

This is the common space, heavy on the nationalist orange, I love it.

We went for a walk around the rest of the TU Delft campus, found this monster of a building.

This is the main library, bikes in the foreground. More on bikes later.

After leaving the university campus, we walked around the historic part of Delft. Like any Dutch city, you will find canals and old cathedrals, although this cathedral seemed to be leaning to one side an awful lot.

Just like any other Dutch front door, water access is imperative.

This is the bike storage facility at the Delft commuter train station. That looks like a lot of bikes, but it’s really nothing compared to the amount anyone may encounter in Amsterdam. I could go on for a while about how the Dutch love their bikes, and why it works so well, but I’m really not up for it.

Some graffiti next to the train station, in that famous Delft blue!

That’s going to be it, for now. I still have pictures from Rotterdam and Amsterdam coming up. I didn’t take any pictures in Utrecht, which I’m currently thankful for. I have to be up early and ready to get some school work done tomorrow. I’ll be back as soon as possible to get this backlog out of the way!

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