My director really was not kidding when he said that this semester will be much busier than my previous one. I have not had a minute to update for the past couple of weeks. Poor me too busy working and travelling. I am the luckiest person ever.
Anyways, time for an update. Since I have posted I have had midterms, done a competition, traveled throughout Italy and did a group studio project with the students of the ENSAV school. Needless to say that my brain has been in about 20 different places at all times (more so than usual).
Below is a selection of my pictures from Florence and Rome. Two wonderful cities with such a rich character, I would easily spend a year in each and still be discovering the intricacies of the plans and the architecture. But what I was most captivated with was the use of sun and shadow that was always present. I’m not sure if it was because Paris does not believe in sunshine in the winter, and so I was discovering this phenomena all over again, or that these cities really gain an extra layer of an already rich texture that really creates a dynamic framework for living. Either way, this trip was wonderful to see how something as simple as sunlight can force an interaction between autonomous buildings that further binds the characteristics of a city.
I know I am a little behind on what I promised to show you (my last project, and all of history week) but I just couldn’t wait to show you our new project and the research that we had to do for it today. For our final project (crazy that I am already to that point) we are doing a gastronomic institute in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. I really love the concept of this project especially since I love to cook, and being able to meld these two passions is just incredible.
Today, as part of our research, we went to TECOMAH, a vocational high school outside of Paris that specializes in fields like landscaping, environmental studies and cooking. Nestled in a cozy yet refined forest on top of a rolling hill, if there was a such a thing as a magical fairy land, this would be it. Even better than the setting were the people; happy and smiling even an hour before the sun had begun to rise. It was so wonderful to observe a school day and to begin to understand the needs that go into this type of training, and I am so thankful that everyone was so willing to help us understand what it all entailed even though it was of no benefit to them. We get to return on next Tuesday for follow-up research, and lunch; I can’t wait!
Oh and those crepes you see there? Yes, we did get to eat those. And yes they were easily one of the best things I have had here.
And that says a lot.
Here is a lovely view of what I got to walk through on my way to school today! Snow in Versailles! Its beautiful and definitely made the impending doom of our project deadline more palpable. I promise to actually post this project this time, assuming the final quality meets my satisfaction (which rarely happens for a perfectionist) and next week will be much more exciting since it will be history week with the famous architectural historian William JR Curtis! I will explain more after the I get through the next 120 hours!
Like every architecture school, there really is no such thing as a “syllabus” week. Instead we usually a “let me overload you until you cry so you are broken down into not having a life again” week. Well this would accurately describe the start of my semester, especially with our new project which will only be for 2 weeks. Yikes.
The project is a pedestrian bridge that will span the canal in Pantin (a suburb that borders the inner lines of Paris) and connecting what will hypothetically be turned into a park and public center. In reality the city is in the very early stages of figuring out what to do with this space, so it is very interesting to actually have a project space that could be considered real (something that does not happen much in architectural education). However, right now it is scary, to say the least. It is a very industrialized part of the canal less than a mile away from the famous Park la Villette. walking up to it was quite a transition from, “oh nice office park” to feeling like I needed the buddy system. It is amazing how much the central part of Paris is idealized, and how greatly it contrasts the other sections that surround it. For being known as a homogenous city, each quarter really does have its own personality.
Enough rambling, check out the site of my awesome new Project. She’s a beaut.
So after a an extremely long absence thanks to final projects, finals, and then rushing home for the holidays, I am back! Tomorrow I start classes again, and so to celebrate the final day of break we went somewhere we having been planning to go for a long time: The Hamlet! Tucked away in the back of the Chateau gardens, behind Marie Antionette’s Grand Trianon is her own Hamlet, a small peasant town she constructed in order to feel like a commoner. Not making this up. But if you ever find yourself visiting the Chateau de Versailles, it is definitely worth it.