Tag Archives: travel

Photomerge the Missing Years

It has been close to two years since I posted anything of recent relevance. 

Since I went on that epic trip overseas I have sort of rested on my laurels and continued to post images from a trip I took two years ago. Since then life has continued to roll on. I finished school and got a big boy job. And other important life things happened (wink wink). So what happened during those missing two years??? Well… here they are in photomerge form. 

Salt Lake City, Utah;

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Chicago, Illinois;

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Washington D.C.;

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Shoshone Falls, Idaho:

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Heber Valley, Utah;

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Houston, Texas;

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This is only showing places where I remembered to take photomerge style photos… much much more happened. But I don’t have time to talk about that now.

When one challenge is overcome, its time to face the next one… Wish me luck.

 

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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.)

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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.

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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…

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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? 

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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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Athens: The Way I Remember It…

I should start by saying at this point, all of this is just a distant memory. Immediately after braving the bitter, dark winter in Helsinki for a week, I journeyed to Athens, Greece where I met the rest of my family. The photos taken help jog specific memories of the trip, so this post will serve as a bank for memories saved for about 2 years.

I remember arriving late in the afternoon and having my first impressions of the city at sunset.

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The city is surrounded by hills or mountains or something… This isn’t a memory, it is a description of the images above.

One thing I do vividly remmeber is the Acropolis perched on a hill in what seemed to be the center of the city. The Acropolis was literally unavoidable. It seemed no matter where we went, we ended up at the base of the hill.

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This part is confusing for me, because I honestly cannot differentiate between the ruins… This city is full of remarkable sites of architectural and/or archeological significance and is a case study in historic preservation (good or bad)… 

Basically what I’m saying is everything has columns and ruins are everywhere.

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I never really understood why architects insist that young architects must see the ancient masterpieces. What can be learned by seeing these things in person that is unlearnable via looking at pictures? (That is a somewhat rhetorical question, I’m sure you can always learn something. The bigger question is, is it actually worth the trip?)

In my mind, better and more significant than these areas of historical significance is the city itself. The memories that have stuck with me still are not of architecture of civilizations past, but of the places people live today. 

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As a whole, the city is rather picturesque.

Lots of stray cats…

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But it seemed if you could get over how dirty a city can be, and how many stray animals there were, and how many restaurants had barker staff physically pulling you into their restaurants… I would go so far as to say Athens was rather Romantic.

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I’m not sure if I enjoyed the trip as much as I remember enjoying the trip. But, it is a happy memory now. 

Does that even make sense? What the hell is going on here?

Eh… whatever. It isn’t like anyone reads this far through the posts anyway. Especially not when you post three times a year…

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Helsinki Files 11: All that Aalto.

…hello…?

…does this thing still work…?

Okay, listen. I have enough backlogged content to post on this blog that it is a crime. However, a much worse offense would be to ignore the remaining Helsinki photos I have. So rapid fire, here I go. This is all the Aalto I have left:

AllThatAalto_Cover

It has been well over a year since I took these photos, so you’ll have to forgive me for having very little to say. But here is what I will say:

  1. Pay attention to the difference between exterior and interior images. These photos were taken in the dead of winter, so you’ll see a cold blue tint to all exterior images. I made no effort to correct this in photoshop because I think it shows the Finnish attitude towards architecture extremely well. Because it is cold outside, it is extra warm inside. Warm materials. Warm colors. Warm life. 
  2. More than other notable Modern architects, I think Aalto liked to have fun. I’m not talking about his personality, but more his design. He didn’t seem to let the rigidity of modernism and ideals of global appeal restrict him and his design. He seemed to genuinely try and make special places for people, something that could arguably have been overlooked by his peers.
  3. Aalto likes daylight.

 This first set of photos is from the National Pensions Institute:

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I have nothing to say… So I’ll just continue with the images:

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Oh, here is something! Look at these cool Aalto door pulls:

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Cool, right? 

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This building had a really neat cafeteria that had this crazy ceiling that somehow provided radiant heat? (The question mark is because I vaguely remember this piece of trivia, but could also be making this up…)

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This building also had a miniature Aalto Library:

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I may have said this before, but I think Aalto’s best work is his library work. I think the color of the books compliments his quiet palette to well, and his attention to daylight is an obvious match for this typology.

Next are some smaller Aalto projects, starting with this bookstore:

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Doesn’t it look so fantastic with the Christmas lights? I think they should consider leaving them up year round. 

Also, you know you’re an architectural Baller when the cafe in your project gets named after you…

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These last few images are embarrassing because I honestly cannot remember if they are even related. The interior images are of a bank, but I cannot recall if the exterior image represents the exterior of the bank?

Whatever. I’m tired. Just look at the pics and leave me alone:

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Okay. Thats it. That is all the Aalto I have left. I think one more Helsinki post and we can move on to something new. For those of you still reading, Hi. Thanks for sticking around.

For those of you who have given up on me… Come back… I miss you…

 

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Helsinki Files 10: Forever Finlandia

Finlandia_Cover

HOLY CRAP WHO EVEN CARES ANYMORE???

I know, right? Sorry, but it would kill me not to share a few more of my Finnish memories, however distant they may be. Especially this Alvar Aalto classic: Finlandia Hall.

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From the outside, this triumph of modernism appears as a jumbled composition of masses, protruding and gliding through and across one another. It is, as you would expect, white Carrara Marble from Italy.

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The fascinating patterning of the marble is not as purposeful as you may think. The way each piece bends and curves into each other is actually a side effect of the stone’s expansion and contraction and has caused pieces of the facade to “pop-off” without notice.

How do you say “HEADS UP!” in Finnish?

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At night it is illuminated with lights that may or may not change colors… I honestly don’t remember…

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The interior of the building, much like the exterior, is classic Alvar Aalto. Warm materials and quiet spaces filled with daylighting strategies and custom luminaires. It is just as lovely as it is simple.

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The auditorium seems very futuristic to me. Google it if you like, better pictures than the following exist.

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For some reason, nothing is as futuristic as the pre-show lounge. This seems to me like a set out of Bladerunner.

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RIGHT???

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And, as stated earlier, the custom Aalto luminaires:

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Interesting wayfinding details:

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And tile, in both black and white:

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Also, these interesting acoustic panels that look suspiciously like duck feet… What does it all mean?

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When paired with a curved wall, the light from the suspended cans cast through the acoustic panels creates wave patterns across the walls.

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Such a splendid building. You know you must visit it, so I won’t nag you.

GO VISIT IT.

I Lied… But if you aren’t into architecture, at least go to see these puny Christmas trees:

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Blog Book | year two

I am a little behind schedule. In fact, years behind schedule. But to give you a break from the Helsinki parade that has been happening since January, here is a post about the book OH! design blog | year two.

OH! design blog_ year two Cover

The following are a few random spreads from the publication, which is a selection of my favorite posts from the second year of the OH! design blog. It really isn’t anything too fancy, it just makes me feel fancy to say I’ve made a book (now TWO books).

8-9

10-11

54-55

96-97

108-109

114-115

186-187

194-195

238-239

246-247

See the full book on issuu by clicking here.

For those who have been following since day one, thanks for sticking around. Hope to have year three done someday soon.

For those that are just now joining, where have you been? What the heck took you so long? Geez… Some people…

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Helsinki Files 09: Architectural Anatomy

I’ve honestly never heard this song, I just searched “library” and this popped up. It seems surprisingly fitting, so enjoy it.

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I’ve been excited to post about this project since I photographed it. I think it is an excellent example of contemporary Finnish architecture. It is fresh. It is clean. It is quiet. It is fun. It is the Helsinki University Library.

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The exterior facade is actually sort of confusing and is perhaps my least favorite part of the building. It is by no means bad, but the interior is just so nice. Just wait. You’ll see.

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Once inside the building, you are confronted by this atrium composed of stacked ovals that decrease in size as you move up the building. It is the exact opposite of most building atriums, and is very cool.

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This post is called “Architectural Anatomy” because, you must agree, this atrium looks like a digestive tract or something. Right???

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These rings you see from below that make up the atrium are lined with workspace on the levels above.

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It is simultaneously cool and annoying. I suppose it is a cool place to work, but I wish I could walk up to the edge and look down.

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There are also secondary atriums that face those large curves of glazing visible from the facade.

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University of Helsinki Library_Secondary Atrium 1

Aside from all these cool spaces that have great sectional qualities, the building is very clean and modern. It is just a nice place to be.

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Apologies to all the innocent, Finnish students that were photographed and published without their permission. If you have an issue with any of these photographs, please get in touch with my secretary. She will be certain you are compensated for any trauma I may have caused. Her contact info is posted somewhere in this +3 year long blog… good luck finding it…

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Though I am not sure if this next photo is taken in an area that qualifies as part of the Helsinki University Library, it illustrates one interesting point. Notice the cold blue of the apertures and the warm glow of the interior. It is fairly common to have very warm materials and lighting in Finnish buildings as it is a reaction to the bitter cold and dark days of winter.

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Have you ever seen concrete look so warm?

Only a few more Helsinki posts. Be strong. 

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Helsinki Files 06: For those about to ROCK

If you name your church “Church of the Rock”, you should expect to have a Kiss track as your theme song while featured on this blog. Hit play and accept what I’ve done.

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Gather round children as I regale you with tails of my travels that happened so long ago that I’ve forgotten the significance of most every photo I’ve taken. This is the tail of the Church of the Rock. In the middle of this neighborhood was a giant rock. The community didn’t mind the rock, but they thought it could be something better. So, they brainstormed as to what the giant rock could be. Eventually, they decided that it should either be a church or a park. After years of arguing about the future of the rock, they decided it should be a church AND a park, so they blew up the giant rock and used the rubble to build a church with a park on its roof. 

(DISCLAIMER: I completely made up the story above. I know nothing about the Church of the Rock other than it is a nice piece of architecture)

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From the outside the building is rather understated (which seems typical of Finnish architecture), but the roof is a kinda lovely mix of rocky outcrop and urban park. Church of the Rock_Roof View

The interior is (like most admirable Finnish architecture) is amazing and filled with great daylight. (Apologies for any grainy photos, ISO was way, way to high!)

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Structural members shoot out of rubble walls and hold up a shallow, metallic dome. The only element present in this giant space is the balcony which is a sharp, angular block that hovers in the back of the church.

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The view from the balcony is rather nice…

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But, in my mind, it is hard to beat the interesting geometries born from the colliding structural systems.

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*”FAVORITE PHOTO IS NEXT” ALERT*

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I doubt that someone would visit Helsinki and not see this church. It seems to be a tourist attraction, and for good reason.

Go here. It is cool.

I’ll try and post again soon, but I’m mostly focused on finishing one last term of grad school. And finding a job. And planning out the rest of my life. And getting rich quick so I can retire ASAP. 

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Helsinki Files 05: Design in the Details

The Talking Heads have always struck me as a very “Art/Design” group. Please enjoy this musical selection (with the strange image of a child associated with it…)

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When in Helsinki, we visited both the architecture museum and the design museum. That is the end of the story. Look at all the detail photos I took:

Helsinki Architecture Museum Model Detail

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This next image is my favorite of the group:

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This is my second favorite image:

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The architecture museum is small, but had a great temporary exhibit. The design museum had an excellent permanent exhibit about Finnish design, and a rather good temporary art exhibit.

That is it.

Sorry for the lazy post, back to school.

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