University of British Columbia (Courtney)



Aug '08 - May '09

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    Courtney Healey Aug 24 '08 0

    How to begin… well, let's first say it’s the beginning of the end… of summer… of my current job in Berlin … of my m.arch degree… but also just the beginning… of my thesis year… of my very own self inflicted and self directed (ack!) project… and the return to Vancouver… yet again…

    alexanderplatz, foto_CS

    Since, for better or worse, I spend most of my time with CS and we spend pretty much all of our time with architecture, the blog will likely contain a bit of his UBC experience as well, which is probably good for you since he’ll be up at school more than me this semester, TA-ing for the lasercutter and as of today, first-year Design Media, and I’ll be agonizing all alone… though hopefully I will be able to get a desk… more on that later… soooo…

    eiffeltower, foto_CS

    Writing now from cold, bleak, rainy Paris, small weekend away from Berlin, CS and I are staying at a friend’s place while he’s away on vacation and discussing our favourite topic… preservation… and the meeting of old and new stuff. But also noticing the amazingly dramatic lighting of French buildings, both inside and out.

    This is Andreau’s CDG airport from last December, Colmar in the French Alps last July, and some super crappy 80s metro station from yesterday, all with lighting schemes that really up the wow-factor. Spaces are dim enough to camouflage dirt, grime, chipped tile, etc. but bright enough to see and not fall down the stairs. It seems that uplighting on intricate and/or sculptural elements is the key… my unprocessed thoughts of the day link this french lighting trick to the development of sauces to disguise spoiled meat in french cuisine and the traditional obsession with perfume and cosmetics... anyway, that’s what’s up this weekend…

    check-in, foto_CS

    gates, foto_CS

    colmar, foto_CS

    bibliotheque francois mitterrand metro, foto_CS

    place d'italie metro, foto_CS

    I’m super excited to blog this year, hopefully it will help add some structure to a somewhat unstructured yet intense fall semester… as the plan stands right now it looks like I’ll be staying in Berlin for one more month after I finish up with my internship at Sauerbruch+Hutton at the end of next week. There should be a big “abschieds” (departure) party since about 7 or 8 interns are leaving and heading back to school around the globe, Copenhagen, New York, Toronto, Cambridge MA, San Sebastian, etc. It’s been a fun, if incredibly detailed, summer… probably more of CS’s feelings and mine on practice in Germany later… His abschieds from Barkow+Leibinger was this past Friday and he heads back to Vancouver next Monday.

    fire police station, SHA, berlin, foto_CS

    altesmuseum, schinkel, berlin, foto_CS

    rykestraße, berlin, foto_CS

    neue wache, schinkel, foto_CS

    Back to the plan… I’ll be doing some research and precedent visits for the first part of my thesis in Berlin during September, working on what is now called Graduation Project Part I, or GPI, formerly and still informally referred around SALA (UBC’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture) as DS or Directed Studies… I head back to Vancouver on October 4, about 1/3 of the way through the semester to continue reading, writing, making, synthesizing, meeting, discussing, and generally freaking out. I will also be registered in Architectural History II, a core class I dropped once in favor of a really great elective seminar called ImportImport, that, if you really want, you can read about in Dave Zeibin’s archived archinect blog from UBC two years ago (

    History will be taught by the phlegmatic Prof. Sherry McKay, who is also (finger’s crossed) my GPI advisor (we find out next week if we got our first pick for faculty mentors). She is also Chair of SALA’s Architecture Department.

    There’s a rather tight schedule throughout the GP process, which ends in public thesis presentations mid April, and a series of “Appendices” to be produced, essentially to be sure the project is making reasonable progress.

    Okay, that’s probably enough info for now, more on CS’s adventures in TA-ing, my pursuit of space at SALA, contemporary German architectural practice, and of course, SALA, UBC, beautiful British Columbia and GPI + GPII, random musings… aaaall sorts of good stuff!


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