Tag Archives: europe

The New Acropolis Museum (?)

The following is a totally made up story about a very real piece of architecture and the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. It is, in the loosest sense of the term, based on historical events.

One day long time ago, some people built the Acropolis on top of a very prominent hill. It was visible from all over the city, and those responsible for its placement patted themselves on the back and said “Oh hell yeah. People are gonna love this thing forever. Its gonna be a crumbling mess and people will still come from all around the world to see it.”

And they were right. 

Fast forward… I dunno… like 100 years? Probably more like 1,000. Lets say fast forward 100-1000 or maybe more years later and some civilization is in power and at war and they store gun powder in the Parthenon. The thing gets hit by a cannonball and BLAM. 

Fast forward again, and people start to take an interest in historic preservation and restoration. They look at this thing and they say, “You know what would fix this? Lets put in a bunch of rebar to hold it together and lets recreate and rebuild everything man, time, and pollution has destroyed.” They had really great intentions, but they totally botch the project and the whole site is worse off than it started. Rebar is rusting, the added portions look totally terrible, and things basically are not going well.

Okay, now in 1975 people say, “Whoa. You guys. Listen. We gotta do something here because this is really historically significant and we want it to last forever for posterity. What can we do to save the Acropolis and the Parthenon?”  They think about it for  like 20 minutes straight and say, “We gotta build another acropolis with all our modern technology and slowly move everything into the new acropolis we built to save them forever. But one question: Who will design this new museum?”

As they finish saying that, Bernard Tschumi flies in on a hot air balloon and is hired on the spot.

(You can read an abbreviated version of what actually happened by clicking here. It is actually rather interesting.)


So my version of the story may have taken some artistic license, but the basic plot is spot on. This is the New Acropolis Museum by Bernard Tschumi in Athens, Greece.





This building is massive. And please forgive me, it has been so long since I visited, I know the building is actually sited ON TOP of some other ruins but I can’t recall what they are…


The entry to the museum is under a giant flying canopy.


Under the canopy are some exposed ruins, this makes the museum experience begin even before you enter. I think the floor is also glass and allows you to see the other ruins sheltered by the footprint of the museum.


Eventually as you explore the museum, you find that the giant canopy above the entry is a roof terrace to the museum’s cafe.


You may have caught glimpses of the glass box on the top of the museum in other photos. This is where my make-believe story gets real. This glass box is oriented the exact same way as the Parthenon is on the Acropolis. This glass box is the new Parthenon resting above a man made hill of Acropolis artifacts. Look at the reflection of the Parthenon in the photo above. Bernard Tschumi wins points for that regardless of this strange strategy for historic preservation.


Inside you find all of the standard museum programmatic components. Notice the scattered lights in the museum gift shop. I decided they were mimicking stars in the night sky.

Either that or someone had a field day in Revit placing lights everywhere.


The museum is clean and beautiful. There are many pushy security guards that won’t allow you to take photos.



Much of the museum is as beautiful as you’d expect. But the central area is a type of atrium where many floors at different levels all cross and open up. The building really has a spectacular sectional quality.




The coolest (and most creepy) part of the museum is glass floors. It is something that is used in multiple areas and can be unsettling. People who are scared of heights may find certain spaces challenging.

As well as anyone wearing a skirt or dress…


Once you reach the top floor you are in the New Parthenon. Metallic columns match the locations of the original Parthenon and the friezes that are slowly being removed from the Parthenon are being relocated to here.


It is a cool idea, but I am amazed at this historic preservation solution. I can see that the decorative sculpture is being saved, but how is this preserving the architecture? 


Regardless of your opinion of the preservation strategy, the building is cool. Definitely one of the more interesting pieces of architecture we saw, and perhaps one of the more contemporary in terms of style and aesthetic.

If you go to Athens, you can’t miss it. It is literally gigantic. Even if you tried, you probably still couldn’t miss it. 

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Helsinki Files 08: Listen to the Music

Helsinki Music Centre_Exterior night 2 Cover

The Helsinki Music Centre (spelled this way because it is European) is a cool building. That’s about all I remember at this point since it has been so long since I took these photographs…

Helsinki Music Centre_Exterior Amphitheater

It is a nice series of glass, stone, and metal volumes that intersect and are cut away, bordered by a generous stepped lawn.

Helsinki Music Centre_Exterior Day

The green metal volume is a actually some kind of dimpled panel, illustrated below.

Helsinki Music Centre_Facade Material Detail

If the exterior is considered quiet, then the interior could be called loud. It isn’t crazy by any means. very clean detailing, but very nice and very interesting. You could almost call it nuanced in a positive way.

Helsinki Music Centre_Entry

In this grand, atrium type space there is a long stair that ducks under a dangerous looking sculpture.

Helsinki Music Centre_Interior Lobby

At night the reflections of colored light off of this artwork casts brilliant patterns throughout the space.

Helsinki Music Centre_Interior Lobby 2

But the entire building isn’t so architecturally loud. The halls surrounding the main auditorium are very simple and generously dimensioned (in case you were curious about the building’s dimensions…).

Helsinki Music Centre_Interior Hall

And in said halls are supporting program, like a small coffee stand and tables to eat a snack at before a performance.

Helsinki Music Centre_Cafe Seating

The glazing is held up by these interesting struts that allow the human scale space to be mullion free and could potentially be used as a pull-up bar by rambunctious Americans.

Helsinki Music Centre_Glass structure detail

The most interesting part of the music center is the interface between the actual performance hall and the rest of the building. However, it is inevitable that the most noteworthy part of the building went undocumented by yours truly.

At night the large glazed portions of the volumes glow warm green in the cold Helsinki night.

Helsinki Music Centre_Exterior night

I count five more posts about this ancient Helsinki trip before I can proceed to post about more current things guilt free. Bear with me as I get through this painfully long process. 

Or don’t… I’m not in the business of telling you what to do. 

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The Beginning (of the most ridiculous trip ever)

Starting now, and likely continuing for the rest of the year, I will begin posting photos from my most recent travels. This is the beginning of the most ridiculous trip ever. You could say it was one of the greatest trips of my young adult life. You could say it was an adventure straight from hell. Either way, you’re right. 


Frankfurt Germany_Train Station

You have to understand, I took hundreds (maybe thousands) of photos on this trip. So I do not have the time nor the patience to describe everything I saw and got lost in throughout this European Monstrosity. I’ll only be posting the things I find most important/cool.

I’ll start with this German mall called Myzeil (I think…). It has a massive hole in it for some reason…

Frankfurt Germany_Myzeil_05

The exterior is quite unassuming. You might even walk right past this building without noticing this giant architectural move. However, if you go inside, you will surely be overwhelmed by curving glass and swooping floor plates. 

Frankfurt Germany_Myzeil_06

Frankfurt Germany_Myzeil_08

Obviously I thought this was cool…

Frankfurt Germany_Myzeil_03

Frankfurt Germany_Myzeil_02

Frankfurt Germany_Myzeil_01

Here comes a VERTICAL PANORAMA (mind blown? Sorry…):

Frankfurt Germany_Myzeil_07

Aside from a highly photogenic main space, the mall is detailed in a very interesting manner. Look at how the electric lights melt off of the ceiling plane like… like… cow udders or something…

Frankfurt Germany_Myzeil_04

WARNING: This next photo might make you dizzy. Do not operate heavy machinery while reading this portion of the blog.

Frankfurt Germany_Myzeil_09

^I’m not sure what it is about that photo, it just gives me a little vertigo.

You may now resume operating heavy machinery.

Aside from this mall, there is a museum district that is home to a Behnisch Architekten project.

Frankfurt Germany_behnisch architekten exterior

Side note: Hey guy who told me I had to pay admission to take photos inside the museum. What do you think of this photo?

Frankfurt Germany_behnisch architekten interior

HAH! Nice try telling me what to do! Who do you think you are? I do what I want!

The architecture museum was nothing special. The design museum, on the other hand, was well worth the admission.

Frankfurt Germany_design museum

There were also several art museums I did not have time to visit, but managed to snap this photo in passing:

Frankfurt Germany_Art

Aside from more contemporary architecture, there was the more stereotypical “German” scenery I had expected to see upon arrival. For example, these two pigs. I have no idea what the sign says, but they sure do look happy:

Frankfurt Germany_Happy Pigs

Like most cities, Frankfurt also boasted a Christmas Market. During the day it was nice and empty.

Frankfurt Germany_Christmas Market Day

At night, the very same space became jam-packed with people.

Frankfurt Germany_Christmas Market at Night

I had never been so close to so many strangers at once. Nor have I ever had so many strangers brush up against my butt (Perhaps searching for a wallet? Perhaps lonely pilgrims on the journey to love?) Either way, Frankfurt was a nice 24-hour pit-stop on this ridiculous voyage.

Stay tuned for more European Adventures.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to Skype with my German fiance. We met in the Christmas Market mosh pit.

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European Photographic Journal

Because I am forgetful, I made a book…

In the spring of 2011, I participated in a study abroad program for one semester. Through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS), I lived in Copenhagen, Denmark and traveled all over Europe with a sketch book and a camera. This is a book I plan on printing that contains some of my favorite photos from that experience. It was impossibly difficult to narrow down the selection of photos because all the images tell a story and remind me of the things I did and saw (which is crucial for me because I don’t remember what I had for dinner last night…).

You can see the whole book by clicking here.

Here are the first few spreads:



hungary cover

hungary 1

I’ll be sure to update once I receive a printed version of the book.

Design Work

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