Friday, December 23, 2011

A Scientific AutobiographyA Scientific Autobiography by Aldo Rossi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is less of an autobiography and more a collection of very poetic musings on architecture, written by this iconic Italian architect. I read this for my first semester studio class, but I found myself constantly reminded of why I was an English major in college: so many sentences that are beautiful not for what they describe but for what they themselves are . . . "the stasis of those timeless miracles, to tables set for eternity, drinks never consumed, things which are only themselves."

View all my reviews

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Scandinavian Odyssey, Part 6 (final)

Felt pins in a Finnish
design shop
After arriving in Helsinki and checking in at our possibly-too-luxurious Hotel Kamp, on the Esplanade, we drove our rental car over to the train station to drop it off with the agency.
This started our tour of die Jugendstil, at Eliel Saarinen's train station.  After poking around that building for a while, we slowly made our way back toward the hotel, stopping in at a few stores, then the outdoor market and the Saluhall (indoor food market), which we would frequent for the rest of the visit.
Helsinki Train Station.
            Our second day in Helsinki led us a little farther away from the center of town.  We signed up for a 3 hour "design tour" of the city, which brought us to a few spots nearby, like the Senate Square where the Helsinki Cathedral is, and some spots farther away, like the Temppeliaukio Church, which was one of my favorite stops on the tour.
copper ceiling at the Temppeliaukio Church
The church is excavated from the rock that covers the site.  It has very little ornament, mainly just a copper ceiling, which changes color some with the light.  The effect of the church is very calming, which is pretty impressive considering we were in there with a couple hundred other tourists, all taking photos at the same time.
The old Arabia Factory
            Our tour also brought us to the Arabia district, named after the dish design company, which also has a lot of new apartment complexes - each building suited toward the needs of a different demographic.  It was an incredibly hot day, but we got off the bus and walked around the apartment buildings, then into the old factory which has been converted into an indoor outlet shopping mall, for the Finnish design companies.  Mom and I finally got to buy some fun Fiskars scissors, which we had been eyeing throughout the trip.
Ice cream for dessert at the
Fazer cafe
            After the tour was over, we walked a few blocks south of our hotel to the Museum of Finnish Architecture, which had an interesting exhibit on Finnish schoolbuildings, and how their design has changed throughout the years.  If I had known then that I would be designing an elementary school for my first semester studio, I may have paid better attention!  Unfortunately, it was too hot in that building to concentrate on much of anything.  We also went to the Design Museum, which had a big exhibit on Kaj Franck, in honor of his 100th birthday.  Before making it back to our hotel, we stopped in at Stockmann's department store for a few knick-knacks and a great big salad for dinner at their cafeteria, then we had an ice cream sundae at the Fazer cafe, which was (unfortunately) right across the street from our hotel.
Uspenski Cathedral
            The next day, we checked out the Uspenski Cathedral, up on the hill on the eastern side of Helsinki.  Great views of the church and of the city.  We took a ferry out to Suomenlinna island, a fortress from the mid-18th century.  Again, the heat kept us from doing too much, but we did spend some time at the Ehrensvard Musuem, which told us the history of the fortress.
Helsinki Cathedral
Back on the mainland, we walked up the 53 steps to the Helsinki Cathedral, only to find out we were going in the side entrance, to see the very simple and calming interior.  That night, we had dinner at the Sea Horse restaurant, which was a recommendation from Mom's neighbor.  I finally had herring, and found it to be really not that bad!
the interior at the Cafe Jugend
            On our final full day in Helsinki, we had breakfast at the Cafe Jugend.  The interior of the building was designed by Lars Sonck, covered in Egyptian/Aztec-ian type moldings on the columns, etc., and great murals on the walls.  We spent quite a while checking out the whole place.
            Held up by the rain, we slowly made our way out to the flea market on the western side of the city, where we saw a lot of familiar dishware, and I got to sit in a red/blue chair, authenticity undetermined.
The National Museum of Finland,
with a watch-bear out front
             We poked around the outside of Finlandia Hall - the only guided tour that they give each week had been a day earlier, before we tried to sign up for it - then checked out the National Museum of Finland, then the Museum of Contemporary Art.  We had an early dinner of reindeer meat at the Lassipalatsi (1930's landmark glass palace), then back to the hotel to pack.
            It was a wonderful trip, one which I will continue to enjoy for quite a while, every time I wear a sweater or scarf that I bought, or look at the Dala horses I got in Sweden, etc.  I managed to keep a journal throughout the trip that I wrote in every night, without which this kind of itemized account would not have been possible.  And of course, I took many pictures, which I believe will inspire me throughout school and beyond.  What a great way to spend my last few weeks before starting my architecture program.
a view of Greenland, on our flight home

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A quick post on a school night.

Well, I've just about made it to the end of my first semester of architecture school at UIC.  Tomorrow is my final review for our semester-long project, which is culminating in the design of an elementary school for the fictional town (read: site model) of "Rossiville,"  the city my class has put together, inspired by the drawings of Aldo Rossi from his 1984 book, A Scientific Autobigraphy.
After I turn in one final paper on Tuesday, I will have some real, free time, and hopefully I will spend some of that time updating this blog here with some of the interesting things I've done or come across throughout the semester, including posting a few of my drawings etc.
In the meantime, I'm just going to post a few renderings of the school I've designed.
An exterior view of my school, which I call my Box School, in comparison with some other very non-box-ish schools I designed along the way.  Also, I liked to think of the roof as a box top being peeled up.  
Interior view - showing stairs and "bleacher" seating, as well as the undulating surfaces that we learned to build in Maya during the semester.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a good review tomorrow, and I'm very thankful that I'll be getting some sleep tonight, as most of my friends in studio will be up into the wee hours.  17 weeks has flown by!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A quick quote

"The cumulative effect of architecture during the last two centuries has been like that of a general lobotomy performed on society at large, obliterating vast areas of social experience.  It is employed more and more as a preventive measure; an agency for peace, security and segregation which, by its very nature, limits the horizon of experience - reducing noise-transmission, differentiating movement patterns, suppressing smells, stemming vandalism, cutting down the accumulation of dirt, impeding the spread of disease, veiling embarrassment, closeting indecency and abolishing the unnecessary; incidentally reducing daily life to a private shadow-play.  But on the other side of this definition, there is surely another kind of architecture that would seek to give full play to the things that have been so carefully masked by its anti-type; an architecture arising out of the deep fascination that draws people towards others; an architecture that recognizes passion, carnality and sociality.  The matrix of connected rooms might well be an integral feature of such buildings."
-Robin Evans, "Figures, Doors and Passages," 1978

I just reread this while going over stuff for my Architectural History and Theory final exam.  It's from a long but interesting article that is more or less a history of the hallway.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Scandinavian Odyssey, Part 5

waterside home in Sweden
We got a very early taxi from our hotel on Friday, July 22, to take us to the Ferry Terminal.  Our 12 hour ferry ride started at 7AM, Stockholm time, and was aboard the Silja Europa, which was just as outfitted as any cruise ship we might expect to see - with a pool, multiple restaurants, shops, etc.  The only difference is this "cruise ship" makes 2 12-hour trips back and forth from Stockholm to Turku, Finland each day.
a boat, out for a peaceful sail, as we approached Turku.
When we got to our cabin, it was still messy from the night's boarders, but once we returned from our breakfast (at the very classy Maxim's a la Carte), it was ready for us to spend the day there, sitting by the small bay window, looking out at the passing ships and coastal homes, and snoozing on the two twin beds.  We also managed a trip to the duty free shop (of course) and a walk around the lido deck.
            We arrived in Turku, hot, tired and a little grumpy (at least I was, which means mom was too because she had to deal with a grumpy travel mate).  Around 9pm, we took a short walk in the area around our hotel and realized that there was no place to get food without waiting, so we got a little sandwich for dinner at the hotel and put our grumpy selves to bed.
Saturday market, with our hotel, the Hamburger-Bohrs
in the background.
            The next day started with so much promise.  When we woke, there was a great market set up in the square outside of our hotel.  We bought some fresh berries and cardamom bread and marveled at the green beans the size of our fingers.  It was raining on and off, but it was hot so the rain felt good.  Later in the morning, we thought it was time to go pick up our rental car (which was reserved for after 10AM).  Little did we know that the custom in small town Finnish rental car agencies is to only have the car available to you for one hour after your reserved time.  Since it was Saturday, the rental agency was closed by the time we got there, after 11AM.  We walked to the train station for help, then across town to the tourist info office, and had just about given up all hope of getting our car, or ever getting out of Turku.  However, one final trip to the rental agency was fruitful, since someone else had reserved a car for the afternoon and we happened upon the office, once again open for that other guy.  Victorious, we picked up our car and drove it the few blocks back to the hotel parking lot.
Lace maker at Luostarinmaki
            That afternoon, we snuck in and out of rainstorms at the Luostarinmaki Handicrafts Museum.  This was not the traditional museum we expected to see, but rather a preserved village in the heart of Turku, each building of which has been assigned a certain craft.  We had a private English-speaking tour with a very cute guide named Elizabeth from Austria.   We got to see a few artisans making lace, printing, making pottery, etc.
Turku Cathedral
            The next morning, in our rental car, we pulled away from Turku, but not before making a stop to see the Turku Cathedral.  There was a service going on, so we didn't get to see the sanctuary up close, but we enjoyed standing in the entrance hall for a while and listening to the beautiful singing.  On the outside, the cathedral looks rather primitive (it is over 700 years old) and a little shabby from being rebuilt many times, but inside it was clean, impressive, and almost modern in its simplicity.
Alvar Aalto's Sanatorium.
            On the road for real this time, we headed out to the Paimio Hospital, completed in 1932 as a Sanatorium, designed by Alvar Aalto.  There were no tours offered on a Sunday, but we enjoyed walking around the outside of the building and we weren't alone - what seemed to be a group of architecture students were scattered about, sketching the hospital.  The secluded, wooded spot was very serene, matching the simplicity of the white architecture, with shocks of color from some orange and green awnings, and some vivid flower beds.
           We made a great stop on the highway at a place called Design Hill, which was a veritable outlet of all of the best Finnish design.  We enjoyed a rather classy lunch of paninis, and dipped into our wallets to buy some Aarika jewelry.
Rya Rug couch, at Hvittrask
            We pulled in to Hvittrask just before 3pm, which was lucky because that was the time that the last English speaking tour of the day started.  We loved seeing Eliel Saarinen (and his two partners') home and hearing all of the stories of his love and life.  Rya rugs and some great wood detailing - a really homey, yet inspiring stop for this architect-to-be.
a wonderful selection
of Marimekko mailers,
at the post office in Espoo.
             There isn't much interesting to say about our hotel or dinner that night - it was a Sunday and we were still outside of Helsinki, which means nothing of note was open.  A stay at another Scandic hotel and a Chinese dinner got us through the night, anyway.  But we did do a little shopping in Tapiola Gardens the following morning.
The Gallen-Kallela museum.
            On Monday, we were off for our final drive of the trip, toward Helsinki.  First, we stopped at the Gallen-Kallela museum, the home of Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela.  The house was nice and quiet, with a great tower that seemed to keep on going, room upon room.  I especially liked the big dining room and the paintings there, including a portrait of Gustav Mahler.
            One more stop before the hotel - in search of the store where mom got her Rya Rug pattern 35 (or so) years ago.  Her pattern has now faded so she needs a new copy, but unfortunately, the store was closed for a week's vacation that coincided with our visit.  What bad luck!
            Anyway, we had arrived in Helsinki, for the final leg of our trip.

if you would like to see more of my pictures, you can check them out here.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Scandinavian Odyssey, Part 4

the view from our hotel room at
the Radisson Blu Strand
            We drove into Stockholm on Monday, July 18, both helped and hindered by the GPS.  And thanks to our GPS, we got a little extra tour of the city, although we were too stressed (i.e. lost) to enjoy it.  We finally located our hotel and our spectacular room: the only room on the 8th floor (the bottom of a 3 floor tower, each floor only having one room).  After dropping off the car at the rental shop, we spent the rest of the day shopping and trying to avoid small rain storms.
An old house at Skansen with a great harvest
of Lilies.  
            The second day in Stockholm was a little more tourist-y; we walked over to the Djurgarden, with the intention of visiting Juribachen, the Astrid Lindgren theme park, but one quick look at the child-infested ticket line convinced us to spend our time elsewhere.  We ended up at the Nordic Museum, where we enjoyed exhibits of Nordic folk art, textiles, and the history of local interior design through the decades.  After that, we were off to Skansen, which mom had fond 35-year-old memories of, which turned out to be mostly false.  It ended up being a little too commercial for our tastes - more outdoor rock concerts than historical reenactments.
Mom, enjoying our boat ride on a perfect, sunny afternoon.
             Daunted by the prospect of having to walk all the way back to the hotel, we braved the ferry crowds and were rewarded with a very pleasant ride around the harbor.
Long hallway at the Stockholm Palace,
recognizably inspired by Versailles'
Hall of Mirrors.  
            The third day in Stockholm started on Gamlastan (the old town).  We spent a few minutes in the Stockholm Cathedral before taking a tour of the royal apartments in the Palace.  Some very impressive rooms, though nothing that made us too jealous of the royals.  We put off our lunch again and again in favor of shopping with the rest of the world, first in the Dalarna horse "museum," then some Norwegian sweater stores, then Scandinavian design stores, and on and on.
The Blue Hall at the Stadshuset.
            After our late lunch, we made our way over to the Stadshuset, and snuck in on the last tour of the day.  The impressive statehouse, built from 1911-1923, was designed by Ragnar Ostberg for the competition which took place in 1907, but some aspects of its design made it seem a lot more recent than that.  The most famous room is probably the Blue Hall (which was meant to be painted blue, but Ostberg decided he liked the color of the bricks just fine), where the annual banquet takes place after the Nobel prizes are awarded.  It was designed to emulate an Italian piazza.  Once our tour had ended, and we went through a little more afternoon shopping, we ended up having dinner outdoors in the Kingsgarden, while listening to a free concert.
We got back to the hotel early that night, and were rewarded with a great sunset view of some hot air balloons touring the city.
            Our final day in Stockholm was a little rainy, but we had kept our indoor stuff for that day, so it didn't matter too much.  We headed over to the island of Skeppsholmen, where the Modern Museum and  Architecture Museum are located.  The Architecture museum had a great exhibit on the history of living standards (apartment sizes and accommodations, etc.) for Swedish families.
Tatlin's Monument . . .
            At the Modern Museum, we enjoyed an extensive exhibit on the Swedish drawer/painter/clothing designer, Siri Derkert.  In another room I recognized Vladimir Tatlin's Monument to the Third International, which I had learned about in my Arch. History class.
Stockholm Stadbibliotek
           Later that afternoon, we braved the Stockholm bus line for a trip to Gunnar Asplund's Stockholm Stadbibliotek (public library, completed in 1931).  I suspect that Mom was a little unsure that this modern building would really be worth the bus trip, but I think that she was quickly convinced that it was.  We even enjoyed poking around in the stacks, and looked through a great picture book of the Swedish countryside.
At the Saluhall
            We made a stop at the Ostermalm's Saluhall for a small snack and a pear cider (my new favorite drink), before heading back to the hotel, where we had an early dinner and spent the rest of the night packing.  The next day we would be off to Finland!

If you would like to see more pictures from our time in Sweden, you can check out my facebook album here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Meet Brad, from AutoCAD

            So after that (mini) flurry of posts about my trip, I've been on hiatus from blogging, because I was doing what the name of this blog implies: going to architecture school.  Yes, I started this past Monday.  Although classes and the semester don't officially start until Monday, August 22, all the 3 year Master of Architecture students have to do a 2 week "boot camp" program to get going/get on the same page/get the lead out, etc.
            It's been a very busy 4 days so far, and it already feels luxurious to be leaving the studio before 8:30 pm, or get home by 9 to have a microwave dinner out of a bag before settling in to a few more hours of computer work.  The work is hard, but my classmates seem like fun people so far.  And I'm super thankful that those students who studied architecture in undergrad are very willing to help little old me figure out some of these dang computer programs (new fangled machines!).
             It will be too complex to attempt to tell you what kind of assignments we've been doing, but I will tell you that I've spent the last 2.5 days or so poring over AutoCAD.  And here is the latest fruit of my labor:  I unknowingly created a little soldier man.  I doubt he is what the professors had in mind when they gave us this assignment, but I like him, and I think he will be my new mascot.
I like to call him AutoCAD Brad.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Scandinavian Odyssey, Part 3

the main house at Starnsjunds Slott
We left Jonkoping, Sweden early on a Saturday morning to drive ~400 kilometers NNE to Falun.  We made a few unexpected but very welcome stops along the way.  The first was at Starnsjunds Slott (slott is the Swedish word for mansion/manor).  It was a beautiful estate, on a hill on a bit of a peninsula, so there were views of the water all around.  We had a lovely buffet lunch in the cafe there, then attempted to take a tour, but no English tour was leaving for another hour and we still had a lot of driving to do.
             So back on the road, we were making some more good time, until we spied an IKEA from the highway, and had to make another quick stop.  We learned that Swedish Ikeas are really exactly the same as the ones in America, with the slight exception that the signs were completely un-understandable, as opposed to only being half understandable at home.
an old building (now restaurant),
by the river in Falun
             We finally made it to Falun, which was a very cute town but surprisingly dead for a Saturday night.  We mourned the fact that there was a whole Dalarna Horse museum that we could not visit because again we would have to get on the road early-ish in the morning.
this sign taunted us from the outside of the
Dalarna Horse Museum in Falun
an idyllic scene, in the town of Sundborn
            Our big excursion for the next day was up to Sundborn, where Carl Larsson's house is.  We got there just in time for an English-speaking tour, led by one of Larsson's great-great-grandchildren.  The house was darling on the inside, decorated with all kinds of colors and patterns, very similar to my own decorating style.  Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures inside, so a few from the outside will have to suffice here.
the front of the Carl Larsson house, where it looks like Christmas all year long.
            We followed up our Carl Larsson excursion with an overnight in our final small(ish)-town in Sweden, Vasteras.  If we had thought that Falun was dead on a Saturday night, then Vasteras showed us that Sunday nights can be even deader.  We walked around the town in search of an open restaurant, and ended up back at the one in the hotel.  We did see and read a lot of things that made us want to stick around the next day to explore Vasteras while things were open, however the following morning was rainy, and we just didn't have the strength.
great sculpture in the square in front of our hotel, in Vasteras:
workers biking to their jobs.

If you would like to see the rest of my pictures from these small towns in Sweden, please click here.  On to Stockholm!  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Scandinavian Odyssey, Part 2

mom with our favorite statue in Boras, visible from our hotel room window: the man in the river.
After leaving Copenhagen, my mom and I took a quick, smooth train ride to Malmo, Sweden, to begin the Swedish leg of our trip.  Malmo looked like a great town, but unfortunately we didn't get to explore it.  Instead we picked up our rental car at the nearby Avis office, and headed north to Boras, Sweden.  Boras was an adorable town.  Cobblestone streets, a river running lazily through the middle of the town, and there was a wonderful display of sculptures everywhere over the town.  In spite of a rainy visit, we enjoyed walking around finding some of these sculptures:
stone seats in the town square - from the display a few years ago, but so loved
by the locals that they got together to buy the seats.  They double as a sundial. 
very cute statue of a little boy in his rain suit.
me and some bunny
mom, trying to get the best
picture of the model factory.

The reason for our visit to Boras was to tour the Textile Museum, which is in an old textile factory, as Boras used to be a major hub of the Swedish textile industry.  We enjoyed a practically-hands-on tour of some of the machines in the museum, including a machine that made socks (note: they are auto-sewn with 2 heels; one becomes the toe and the other remains a heel).  Our favorite part of the museum wasn't a machine at all, however, but the dollhouse-type model of the old working factory, with the entire top floor visible, and full of wooden people constructing blazers.  
factory workers, hard at it.

Another thing we liked at the textile museum was the display of the local art university's graduates' final projects.  Some great and some crazy designs including wallpaper, fashion, fabrics, rugs, and more.
an oriental inspired rug, but if you look closely, you'll see this one
has guns and boom-boxes incorporated into the pattern.
clotheslines filled with this senior's beautiful, colorful fabrics.  
Great stop, now on to Jonkoping, another very cute, pedestrian-friendly town about in the center of Sweden (east to west) and right at the lower tip of Vattern Lake.  We found out too late that it was right next to Husqvarna, which housed a sewing museum of sorts.  Unfortunately, we couldn't make last-minute plans to visit it because the opening hours did not work with our intense driving schedule for the next day, but we did get to wander around the town.  We walked out to the dock by the lake, which is mostly obscured by a huge breakwater (or something), but there are benches and makeshift steps where people can climb to sit on top of it and enjoy the massive view.  There were few people with a guitar and a harmonica up there while we were wandering around, playing Tom Petty songs in very foreign accents.  
climbing in the breakwater in Jonkoping
We enjoyed a very nice Friday evening in Jonkoping, with perfect weather and rested up for our long drive the next day . . .

Friday, August 5, 2011

Scandinavian Odyssey, part 1

Yes, I've been away from my computer for over a month, but that's not because I didn't have anything Future Architect-worthy going on.  On the contrary, I was out gathering inspiration and experience.  For months, my mom and I had been planning what we were calling a "design tour" of Scandinavia.
            As you know, I am interested in architecture, yes, but if you've spent any time reading my other blog, you also know that I am interested in crafts, sewing, etc., all of which can be inspired by things we would see over there.  I get all that craftiness from my mother.  In the past, she has done lots of projects like needlepoint (some of which she bought over in Scandinavia, when she and my father lived there for a year back in the '70's) as well as weaving a Rya Rug, which we will revisit when I get to talking about the Finnish part of the trip.  Her main interest these days is weaving.  She has a full-sized loom in her home and I have been the happy recipient of many scarves, dish towels, etc. that she has made over the past few years.

            On July 9, my mother and I flew out of Boston over to Copenhagen, making a stop-over in Reykjavik.  Over the 3 weeks following, we toured the city of Copenhagen, some small towns in southern Sweden, Stockholm, a few towns in Finland, and finally ended up in Helsinki.  I got back to Chicago about a week ago and have been very busy with preparations for my architecture program (which starts in 3 days!) but it looks like I'm finally getting around to showing off a bit of what we were up to, out there in the Nordic countries.

just one of many spires we looked up to
Our first major design theme in Copenhagen was the spires on all of the churches and public buildings around the city.  We walked around a lot, especially on the first day, when we couldn't yet get in to our hotel room, and just photographed buildings.  Everywhere we looked, there was a spire worth photographing, and by the end of the visit we got to climb one, at Our Savior's Church, about 400 steps to the top.
Our Savior's Church tower
            It was a cold and rainy day, and the last 100 or so stairs were outside, on metal steps, but we braved it anyway, and the view over the city was well worth it.  I'm not showing it to you here for 2 reasons: 1) no single picture I took satisfied me as being representative of the huge view, and 2) climb the tower your damn self!
Nyhavn, early Sunday morning, without any
of the usual hustle and bustle.
            Another thing I liked a lot about Copenhagen was the Nyhavn area.  It has flourished in spite of its sordid past (yes, it was the red light district once upon a time), and the very clean, simple, bright colors on the buildings are visually interesting, yet calming, even in an area flooded with tourists and people drinking outdoors.  We found ourselves back on this street a number of times: for a wonderful 3 course prix fixe dinner the first night, to enjoy a beer with a friend of a friend who lives in Copenhagen on the second night, then to catch a boat for a tour of the city from the water on our last day there.  Each time we were there, I took many pictures, but the one I put here is my first view of it, when nobody was around and it felt like ours alone.
Future Architect Wicky, with matching elephant.
            On display through the end of August, there is an "elephant parade" in Copenhagen.  At the end of the "parade" all of the elephants will be auctioned off for charity.  Now, I've always thought that displays like these in many different cities were a little kitschy, but I must admit that being a tourist and getting to see these guys all over the city is a lot of fun.  There was also a small store set up inside Illums Bolighus (my new favorite department store) where you could buy models of the elephants.  I really don't know how I made it home without one.
At the Design Museum: chairs designed by Hans J. Wegner,
the siblings of the dining chairs I grew up with.
            We saw a few really good museums while we were in Copenhagen.  The first one was the Dansk Design Center, which we enjoyed, but didn't get to see all of it because the whole city was semi-shut down due to water damage from some incredible rains they had had a few weeks before we arrived.  We also went to the Design Museum, which had rooms full of Danish design chairs, in particular.
a surprisingly topographical building model, at the
Danish Architecture Center.
            We also visited the Danish Architecture Center (each of the cities we toured on our trip had a museum of Architecture: amazing, but not surprising).  The two main exhibits going on at the time were about using design to improve life in Copenhagen and throughout Denmark (really, that's what the point of design is, right?).  The first room had many models of buildings that have recently been built, or are about to be built, and explanations of what they are, how they will be used, what's new/different about them, etc.  The second room had a -mostly video- exhibit about improvements in nearby areas, interviewing residents about what they like about an area, or what needs to be improved.  The whole exhibit was called "what makes a livable city."
            And with all of the bikes and primarily pedestrian streets in Copenhagen, I would definitely say that it is, indeed, a livable city.  Mom and I had a great time there, and it was a very good starting point for our Scandinavian Tour.

If you would like to see more pictures from my trip, brace yourself!  Click here to see pictures from the first half or so of our time in Copenhagen, and then click here to see the rest of Copenhagen, and some of Sweden, which will be discussed in my next post!