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Architecture Monday

November 4, 2019

One of the jokes I make about my trip is that I travelled over 8000km just to look at apartment buildings.  And… well, it is kinda true.  I did look, quite intensely, at a lot of apartment buildings.  Some, like the last three posts here, were deliberate visits, but many were seen and experienced just by walking past.  There is a plethora of both solid and nifty apartment buildings throughout the Nordic cities, ranging from the sedate and mighty fine to the wild and adventurous.

(By the way, don’t get me wrong, I also love very much the “old school” 5-story urban string of walk-ups, often concealing lovely little courtyards.  They make for wonderful living and a lovely streetscape and urban fabric!)

To start our tour, I really liked these towers, for they were definitively not in a “trendy” neighborhood but still exhibited design care.  Varied window placements, textured brick patterns, but above all else, check out those hanging community rooms, suspended in the light atrium!  That’s a funky and nifty touch.

These ones jut into a pond, overlooking a park with a wood longboat sculpture…

Funky balconies and great colour, ho!

I totally looove this one.  Encompasses a courtyard, volumes jutting in and out, encased in nature, and, best of all, it is (I think, anyway) university student housing.  That’s way better than the residence housing during my time at university!

Clearly a deliberate and artful design.  Certainly nifty, and the angled volumes work to provide the inner units with views out to the ocean.

This one is hilarious, in that it’s done by BIG Architects, and I didn’t even know it before I stumbled upon it.  They’re everywhere!

Just a small sampling of various other buildings.  Overall, I found the “design median” quite high.  While some were meant for the “luxury” category many were not, often glimpsed from the tram or metro as we glided by.  All, I’d say, sprung from a general civic sense and understanding that well designed spaces elevates the everyday experience of for all.

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Lion Kung Fu

October 31, 2019

No surprise I’m sure, but I absolutely love that last panel.  You don’t want to mess with that lioness!

by Oglaf (Totally NSFW, BTW)

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Wonder Wednesday

October 30, 2019

Both mysterious and slightly sinister, yet pastoral and quotidian at the same time.  Highly intriguing and atmospheric (in both senses of the word), it very much captures my imagination.

by Anton Markus Pasing

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Philosophy Tuesday

October 29, 2019

“Ignorant.”  We tend to throw that word around as an insult.  Rather than a simple descriptor of someone’s knowledge (or, more properly, their lack thereof), it is wielded as a club, a disparagement of their character and of a massive failure on their part.

As though they should know.  As though they are bad and wrong for not knowing or understanding it.

And with that we relegate them into a hopeless category that deserves scorn or fixing (or both).

Yet we are all ignorant of a great many things.

And, here’s the crux, not everyone has had the fortune of the experiences, information, and reinforcement that it takes to learn something.  To become aware of something.  To synthesize the myriad of different threads into a rich tapestry of knowledge and understanding.  And going beyond understanding into the realm of groking it.

Even the information on its own is not enough; it can take guidance and the proper context and mindsets, aided (and thus can also be hindered) by others along the way.

The way we learn is that we are shown.  We follow examples.  And when someone makes us aware, and invites us to go deeper, we can learn.*

What matters is to put aside our harsh condemnations and extend that invitation.  When we relate to people as a hopeless “other” then there is no opportunity for exchange.  When we are willing to listen and lead, then new possibilities can open.

It isn’t easy.  It isn’t automatic or guaranteed.  It isn’t likely to be instant.  And it won’t necessarily be fun.  But it can always be a start.

 

* It is also possible that they do know, or are aware, and continue to espouse a limited or severe view.  Again, this may be because they have never been exposed long term to someone who can help expand the view.  Either way, it becomes a different conversation than one of teaching, but a conversation that will still be more productive when coming from a place of invitation and exchange than one of scorn or fixing.

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Architecture Monday

October 28, 2019

Two successful projects under their belt.  The same developer approaches them again with a new site just down the road.  Time to go for the hat trick… and boom: The 8 Tallet (8 House) is born.

Looking from above, there’s certainly no mystery where the name comes from.  A winding row of apartments shaped into a double courtyard arrangement, with an open flow in the pinch point that leads both into the courtyards but also allows for unimpeded cross traffic.  But the killer concept comes in the form of its sloping nature, filled with continual open-air ramps and staircases that connects nearly every unit together in one giant loop, from the ground to the top floor, fostering community connection and creating a sense of neighborliness not often found in large apartment blocks.

As with the previous two projects, there are several different configurations of apartments, some featuring front porches that abut the ramp, others with balconies facing the courtyards.  The courtyards are planted quiet spaces, and the entire building dips down to reach the ground (sporting a planted roof) along its southern corner, allowing light into the courtyard and views out to the fields and marshes of a preserve.

It’s big, yet bright and airy and interesting and playful and definitively a cut above the usual apartment building fare.  It’s rightfully famous and well known… so well known that it has had to post notices all around to remind us that, while amazing, it is still home:

As a bonus, we ate at the café at the base of that planted roof, looking out over the waters and wildlife and artwork of the park area to the south.  (And the food was excellent.)

As a double bonus, check out the great iconography and wayfinding graphics!

Hat trick totally achieved.  A mighty fine design in every sense.  Splendid work.

8 Tallet by BIG Architects.

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Gaming Thursday: Trail Maps

October 24, 2019

Back in 1990, TSR released a pair of maps:  one of the (western) Forgotten Realms, the other of Kara-Tur.  They called them Trail Maps, and these were no simple poster-sized map; much like the name suggests, they unfolded like a road map to massive size.  Put the two together and you got the whole of the realms some 72”+ wide.  It was epic.  I had them on my wall for quite some time.

One of the benefits of working at an architecture firm is access to a full-colour large-format roll scanner.  I think you know where this is leading… both trail maps, scanned and merged, with a bit of added continent to the south, all ready for your campaigning pleasure:

Enjoy!

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Wonder Wednesday

October 23, 2019

Head underground.  Beyond the light of day.

Walk into the water.  Let the darkness flow.

Enter the light of blue.  Surrounded by the ambient rumble.  Feel the splashes.

And then, a sign.

 

A little jaunt underground tonight, in the Cisternerne, a (no surprise) former cistern now turned art venue in Copenhagen, exclusively for installation art.  With specific art for this unique location, experimental, encompassing space and light and sound for a full experiential experience, this very much checked off all the boxes of what excites me.  Worth a visit for sure!

I took an audio recording while walking around, have a listen to it by clicking here!