The Architectural Venn Diagram

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    A.D.Morley & J.A.Wong .
    Feb 8, '12 7:13 PM EST

    JANUARY 20-21, 2012

    It is time to begin our Spring Adventure abroad in Helsinki. We go by way of Stockholm for two days, unite with two friends, and carry on to Finland.

    Both of us were working internships in New York City over our winter break, and on the evening of January 19th we flew with high anticipation on a red eye out of Newark Airport on SAS Airlines.


    After landing in Arlanda International Airport outside of Stockholm, neither of us had slept a wink on the plane; somewhere over Greenland we were lucky enough to witness the Aurora Borealis. It was greenish in color and looked at times like a ribbon with its lights streaming upwards.  This particular haze of light fluttered slowly across the sky for about 2 hours before it faded out.

    After checking into our hostel and meeting up with two of our colleagues also partaking in the semester, (Brian and Bronwyn) we were ridden with anticipation and did not want to waste a moment of our two days in Stockholm. So... tired, cold, and feeling like and architecture student, we powered through and went off into the city to soak in our first impressions of Sweden.


    Of our two-day whirlwind exploration of the city, here were just a few of our many highlights and observations:

    Vasa Museum

    Located at a former Swedish shipyard, this museum showcases the almost fully intact and only restored 17th century warship, the Vasa. Having sunk on her maiden voyage in 1628 before even exiting the harbor (due to being too top heavy), this incredible piece of craft was rescued off the sea floor in the 1960’s and underwent an extensive process of treatment with polyethylene glycol. The museum also had a large collection of very impressive scale ship models.This was also our first exposure to bent wood in the Nordic region, which will become the main focus of our furniture design seminar in Helsinki.


    Gunnar Asplund’s Stockholm Public Library
    An outstanding blend of classical and modern, this is one of the true masterpieces of late Nordic Classicism. These particular works that seem to find themselves teetering between two schools of thought are the ones we find most exciting both spatially and analytically. The circulation and symmetry was so ordered

    Swedish Cappucino + Pastry
    We know that these particular cardamom buns are called Korvapuusti in Finnish (literally meaning slap ear buns), but they are a bit larger and just as delicious in Sweden.


    Gamla Stan
    Old Town Stockholm – Buildings dating back to the 13th century. Incredibly dense, intensely maze-like, and some fantastically tight allyways. It was touristy, but not enough to keep me from coming back to explore.


    House boats
    No explaination needed, but they were at every harbor. 


    Very consistent use of regulating lines along the block facades and we were impressed with just how “neighborly” each building was to each other, the blocks had a cohesive whole with consistent roof lines.
    We also notice very minimal use of material at the sills of the windows, even those with elaborated profiles for the casings; the sills were almost always without fail a thin strip of angled metal flashing… perhaps this has to do with the anticipated snow load, it will be interesting to see relative to Helsinki.
    Overall, it was not was cold as we had anticipated.



    After two days of non-stop sight seeing, the four of use hop on the Silja Line overnight ferry to truly begin our semester in Helsinki. Orientation begins the next day and we have much to look forward for. Running nightly to and from Stockholm and Helsinki, the ferry is not so much a ferry as it is a floating skyscraper with duty free shops, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, a sauna, and a casino. It is packed with people of all ages coming and going for business, holiday, and debauchery. We learn how to say cheers in Finnish (kippis!) and Jennifer and I meet a nice Finnish couple and we are invited to have dinner at their house outside of Helsinki when we get settled in. This is going to be one fantastic semester.


    This work by A.D.Morley & J.A.Wong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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A new adventure begins as we finish one chapter; we hope to share our story with you. We are graduates of Washington University in St. Louis, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

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