Sep '06 - Dec '09
It is so nice it is to have a little time to travel and rest over the break, so far the break has taken us to:
Thanks to delays in Logan and Heathrow we had only a couple of hours to look around Berlin. Alas, it was just enough time to see the one new design I really wanted to check out while there; the Holocaust Memorial. I have to say that it is better than I thought it would be and I already thought it was really good. It is a sensible and poignant way to remember the loss of so much humanity. We approached it from Potsdamer Platz, as you approach the memorial it seems small with the first cubes only reaching your ankles. Before visiting I had not realized that the height of the cubes is pretty much consistent, it is the paths that are concaved, so that at the center of the memorial the cubes are much taller than you are.
As Kipnis pointed out in a lecture this semester, the paving on the paths is similar to that in the rest of the city's sidewalks. As the paths curve downwards Berlin is swallowed into the monument as the top of the cubes create a new field of action for the city. To move forward on a new field, the city needs to be dragged into the memory of the past.
The fortified monastery (check out its cannons below) Jasna Gora at Czestochowa is the center of the Catholic faith in Poland. Besides the Vatican, this is the largest accumulation of church buildings I have seen, not only that but its fort has even been used for the armed defense of the entire country of Poland. Shaolin style.
Check out the pleasure garden.
As one of the great capitals from ye olden Europe, Krakow has a lot of great examples of architecture and art from many periods. The most interesting elements are the Wawel Hill which includes the palace and its cathedral, the garden ring around the old city (following the old city walls) known as the Planty, and a great main market plaza. Unlike many other older cities in Europe I have been to, this one does not feel like a tourist relic, the older sections of the city are full of life (even in the bitter winter), this city feels lived in and in my book that is as important as the many beautiful architectural and urban elements it has.
More (and larger) images from these three places can be found here.
Next*, I want to more closely look at the different parts of the Polish city, such as that built in the late 19th century, the soviet blocks, and the consumerist renaissance, using the city of Lodz as a case study.
*Due to the weather (it is too cold for this Colombian) and school work (cursed be ye Building Tech) I will have to postpone my look at LODZ until my next trip. -01/05/08