chr.havn canal

February 27, 2008

img_2750a.jpg

the christianshavn (abbreviated chr.havn on the boats that dock here) canal is one of the only remaining canals in copenhagen…it makes the neighborhood feel kind of amsterdam-y. the harbour tours pass through regularly to see the cute old buildings bordering the canal, as well as the boats (some houseboats, i think) moored along its edge.

ch3a.jpg

img_2768a.jpg

ch4a.jpg

img_2742a.jpg

ch2a.jpg

img_2755a.jpg

ch1a.jpg

img_2760a.jpg

Advertisements

jægersborg water tower

February 18, 2008

towerstitch.jpg

this is a really fun conversion project by my favorite danish architecture firm, dorte mandrup arkitekter. it’s out in gentofte (a northern suburb of copenhagen), a former water tower nestled among two freeways and a rail line. the firm won a competition to turn the tower into low-cost housing for vocational students. there are apartment units all around the perimeter of the tower, and the firm added the crystal-shaped bays for better views from the units, and also so that it would be easier for the residents to furnish what would have otherwise been very oddly-shaped rooms.  i would definitely live here.

img_1790.jpg

looking up at the water tower

jt1.jpg

it is right next to the train platform…

jt2.jpg

the lower levels house a youth center…and i really like the rooster topper : )

img_1800.jpg

kronborg slot

February 14, 2008

img_2688.jpg

last weekend, i went with some friends to helsingør (about 45 minutes north of copenhagen by train, and maybe better known to some as shakespeare’s “elsinore”) to see kronborg slot, the castle featured in “hamlet.” this is yet another unesco world heritage site – i feel like i’ve been to lots lately. or maybe it’s just because i’ve been researching unesco policy for thesis. anyway, i digress. let’s see more castle:

img_2707.jpg

the entrance to the castle – clearly, if we were danes, we would have had our bikes, too.

img_2550.jpg

what many people don’t know about kronborg slot is that it is fiercely guarded by swans (with nasty, sharp, pointy…beaks)

ks1.jpg

entrance to the interior ramparts/the inner courtyard of the castle, where summer performances of hamlet are staged outdoors – that would be fun to see!

ks2.jpg

some architectural details from the courtyard – kronborg slot is, according to its homepage, “both an elegant renaissance castle and a monumental military fortress surrounded by major fortifications with bastions and ravelins

img_2577.jpg

a display on the castle interior about the history of hamlet – the character of the danish prince is fictional and was created by shakespeare, but was loosely based on amled of norse legend

ks4.jpg

interior of one of the “royal compartments”/one of the king’s tapestries

img_2581.jpg

ceiling painting detail

ks3.jpg

a (plastic) meal fit for a king!/a royal-table-canopy

ks8.jpg

there was even some authentic(?) fencing going on in the ballroom…i’m sure that’s what it was used for between parties…

img_2641.jpg

definitely the highlight of the castle interior was the children’s room with its giant bin of legos. check out the scan|design fellows immersing themselves in the danish cultural tradition of lego building (yes, legos are danish!)

ks6.jpg

we also visited the castle’s chapel

ks7.jpg

beautiful carved chapel details

img_2678.jpg

ok, back to the exterior. the castle has an impressive moat and some beefy battlements. click here for a pdf map of the grounds with some cool info about the site.

ks5.jpg

view of the castle from the helsingør side/view from the beach side

img_2562.jpg

view across the castle wall and the øresund to helsingborg, in sweden, on the other side. helsingør is the closest point in denmark to sweden (see ferry in the distance), but i think there’s no bridge here because it’s a really busy shipping lane. anyway, that’s all for our lovely day in helsingør! vi ses!!

germany in january: lübeck

February 10, 2008

img_2360.jpg

the holstentor, lübeck’s trademark structure and one of the two remaining main gates to the medieval city

the last stop on my germany trip was lübeck, a small town in northern germany that i learned about when i was a ta for brian mclaren’s renaissance, gothic and romanesque architectural history class. the city was for several hundred years the head of the hanseatic league of cities and is now a unesco world heritage site, celebrated for its historical importance for european trade and its fine examples of brick gothic architecture. it’s also supposedly the european birthplace of marzipan (not sure what that means, because i think it’s originally from asia) – so there are lots of marzipan shops, yum. i also learned while i was there that three nobel prize winners are from lübeck – thomas mann, willy brandt, and günter grass, so it’s steeped in history, significance, and confection. lübeck is really close to the danish border, so i thought that this would be a good chance to visit. it was really fun, and i think that the three cities i chose made a really good assortment of travel/architectural/urban interest destinations. the train ride back from lübeck to copenhagen was excellent, as the train i was on actually boarded a ferry (yep, tracks right onto the boat…it was a short train) to cross the sound between puttgarden and rødby. awesome. i put a couple of photos at the end of the post in which i tried to capture the ferry-boarding experience.

lb4.jpg

another view of the holstentor, the main southern gate (there used to be four gates; two remain today). this is how i entered the medieval city coming from the train station. also a detail shot of the gate.

img_2352.jpg

some of that fine brick gothic architecture

img_2294.jpg

the medieval city is surrounded by a moat and a lovely ring of moatside park area

img_2284.jpg

looking from the medieval city toward lübeck’s port facilities

img_2288.jpg

here is the other remaining (north) gate, the burgtor. both of the gates were built in the 1400s – the model in the foreground shows how it used to look with its portcullis…!

img_2326.jpg

the main city square, with the town hall in the background; the large circular holes in the upper facades allow for improved wind resistance, so that the buildings won’t be blown over.

lb3.jpg

i believe (if i remember correctly from architectural history) that the gold emblems on the rathaus facade represented different merchant guilds, and show the importance of trade to the city. the photo on the right is a view of the “back” side of the rathaus.

lb5.jpg

thursday market in the main square/a small bronze model of the medieval city

lb2.jpg

the niederegger marzipan shop – a treasure trove of delicious almond-flavored desserts. there was an impressive marzipan recreation of lübeck’s architectural icons in the front window.

img_2306.jpg

the side stairs leading up to lübecker dom, the city’s main catherdral

img_2312.jpg

twin spires of lübecker dom

lb8.jpg

a wet lübeck cityscape (left)/and one more view of the cathedral (right)

lb6.jpg

some fun details – arches over the tiny streets, and the ‘kaak,’ a small pavilion in the main square

img_2274.jpg

the st. jacobi church and square

lb7.jpg

some examples of the red brick gothic architecture

img_2364.jpg

i liked how the scaffolding followed the shape of the facade on this building : ) (a tectonic-tourist moment)

lb1.jpg

ok, here are the train photos that i promised. it was a little difficult to capture, but in the photo on the left, you can see the train approaching the ferry through the window, and then on the right is when i had to get off the train once it was on the ferry for the duration of the crossing. kind of like bringing your car on the bainbridge ferry…but not quite.

germany in january: hamburg

February 7, 2008

img_2043.jpg

the speicherstadt warehouse district in hamburg

all right, i’m slowly catching up. so after berlin, i took the train to hamburg. i didn’t really know what to expect, but i was very pleasantly surprised – i could have spent days taking photos! : ) i’ve seen conflicting reports saying that hamburg is the second-largest port in europe (antwerp also claims the title, the largest being rotterdam). in any case, it was definitely a city on the water, with the incredible speicherstadt (the old brick shipping warehouse district), the new hafencity residential development along the elbe, and a series of canals in the medieval quarter that connect to the inner alster, a pretty lake in the middle of the city. i wish i could have spent a little more time here, but i’m definitely glad that i at least had a chance to stop. i would definitely recommend hamburg as a northern european destination!

h5.jpg

the speicherstadt district is the largest warehouse complex in the world – the buildings are so tall and narrow that they almost look like ships in the water

h6.jpg

they were really beautifully detailed, and all of the warehouse “islands” were connected with ornate bridges; the german tourist bureau tells me that these buildings are excellent examples wilhelminian brick gothic architecture, which i don’t know that i’ve seen before…? maybe i just didn’t know that the classification existed…

img_2092.jpg

hamburg is supposed to have more bridges over water than does venice…after crossing (and photographing) what felt like most of them, i’d have to agree : )

img_2113.jpg

one of the more modern “warehouses”(/parking garages) on the right…

h91.jpg

new construction and infrastructural improvements in the speicherstadt to connect it to the new hafencity area

img_2176.jpg

okay, moving on to something slightly more modern. this is the new herzog & demeuron-designed opera house in progress (is every european waterfront city putting up a new opera? copenhagen, oslo, hamburg…) they’re actually in the process of gutting an old warehouse building, upon the top of which the new opera will be built. very cool project.

img_2130.jpg

here’s the street that separates the old district (speicherstadt – left) from the new development (hafencity – right). hafencity is HUGE (155 ha.) and is supposed to increase the size of the city center by 40%, plus house around 10,000 residents and provide amenities like the opera, new metro stations, a maritime museum, and a science center/aquarium. whew!

h10.jpg

some of the new modern “cube-y” buildings of the hafencity development. that’s china steel on the left.

h8.jpg

i really like that the hafencity lampposts mimic the shapes of cranes! there are certainly lots of cranes and other construction paraphernalia in this area, and probably will be for many years…

h1.jpg

here’s “the viewpoint,” which allows one to climb up and see all of the hafencity construction from on high! it’s kind of a fun, funky little orange tower. ; )

img_2197.jpg

the view from the viewpoint…that’s the elbe in the background…

h7.jpg

okay, moving into the center city…here is some of the canal cityscape (left) and a lovely, angelic building detail (right)

h11.jpg

the town hall (or rathaus, in german) is an incredibly beautiful sandstone building, and the main square in front steps down to a canal (right), which in turn opens into the inner alster lake

h2.jpg

the ruins of st. nikolai church in central hamburg (bombed during wwii and nicely preserved as a memorial)

h3.jpg

more of st. nikolai: the carillon/partial view of the ruins from the “interior” of the church

h4.jpg

another view of the st. nikolai tower; the angel statue in front of the church that i really liked

img_2245.jpg

a view of a slightly more modern central hamburg and canal

img_2261.jpg

hamburgers (hehe! i’ve been waiting to say that…i should have taken more photos with people in them) enjoying dusk on the edge of the inner alster. if i ever go back to hamburg for longer, i’m going to rent a bike and ride around the city’s lakes…

fastelavn!

February 3, 2008

img_2507.jpg

fastelavn is the danish version of carnival/mardi gras, and is appropriately a very family-oriented holiday (just as the danes seem to be a very family-oriented people). it’s actually kind of like halloween – children dress up in costumes, decorate festive bouquets of beech twigs and beat the crap out of a barrel that historically contained a black cat (cover your ears, lester!!), but in modern times contains candy, a less cruel and controversial alternative. it was fun to see the danish version of this holiday, and i got to see a few different fastelavn activities (including the barrel-beating above):

img_2442.jpg

the national museum in copenhagen hosted a ‘fastelavnsfest’ (note the image on the poster)

f2.jpg

first, there was lots of gathering of children in the atrium and decorating of the beech twig bundles

f3.jpg

there were some pretty cute costumes, and parents were very involved (and some costumed themselves)

f4.jpg

more cute costumes…and my favorite, a pirate! arrrr…

img_2429.jpg

evidently it was very important to fasten lots of brightly colored feathers and scraps of tissue paper to one’s bundle of twigs, as well as a carnival mask and a cutout of a paper cat

img_2488.jpg

then everyone marched upstairs with their festive implements to the barrel-beating room! there was one barrel for each age group, and the kids lined up behind them and took turns whacking them with sticks…

f1.jpg

kids waiting their turn at the barrel/one child takes a running approach

img_2483.jpg

more barrel-beating

img_2513.jpg

and finally, the candy! the barrel-beating doesn’t have the fun or danger of the blindfold (as with piñatas), but those barrels are pretty tough, and it took a long time for the kids to beat them apart. the kid who breaks the barrel open is supposed to become the ‘kattedronning,’ or queen of cats, and whoever breaks apart the last piece hanging from the rope becomes ‘kattekonge,’ or king of cats. that all goes back to the black cat thing i mentioned earlier…

_______________________________________________________________

also, yesterday, i was having coffee with friends in christianshavn, and this group stopped outside our cafe:

img_2394.jpg

i’m pretty sure this was associated with fastelavn (a very nice old man tried to explain it to me, and he mentioned the children/costumes/barrels, also). anyway, it was a group on horseback from the riding school hopping from cafe to cafe…

f5.jpg

the parade of horses drew some costumed children (love the toothpaste costume!!)…and they – the riders – did some singing…

img_2409.jpg

after which it is traditional for the owner of the cafe to serve fastelavn buns (which i tried at the bakery, and, like all danish pastry, they are delicious) and mulled wine to the riders…

f6.jpg

the proprietor serving wine/horses all gussied up
img_2413.jpg

i think they had been to a fair number of cafes at this point…and they seemed to be having an awesome time. luckily, there was no falling off of the horses. ; ) happy fastelavn, all!! may you have many feathers in your branch bouquet, and may your wine be mulled!

germany in january: berlin

February 1, 2008

img_2010.jpg

the berlin central station (hauptbahnhof)

i decided to go on one more travel before classes start in copenhagen next week…so i took a short trip south to germany, flying into berlin and taking trains (and a train on a ferry!! you’ll have to wait for the post to hear more about that one) back to copenhagen via hamburg and lübeck. it was a really fun trip, and i got to see an amazing amount of stuff (and taking an equally amazing number of photos) in just a few days. so here’s the first installment:

ss.jpg

the new berlin hauptbahnhof was definitely the architectural highlight of the city. it opened in may of 2006, so it’s new since the last time i visited berlin…and i even got to use it when i took the train from berlin to hamburg! since it’s such a cool building, it gets extra photos on this post (above is a view from the north)…

b1.jpg

the south entrance/interior shot

b2.jpg

another interior shot of one of the main facades/facade detail

img_2003.jpg

another view from the south, looking across the spree

img_1879.jpg

walking along unter der linden, berlin’s central boulevard

img_1915.jpg

looking north along the spree to museum island

img_1912.jpg

this scene reminded me a bit of china…

img_1861.jpg

colorful grafitti and street food

img_1924.jpg

this guy was wondering what the heck i was taking a photo of – that’s what i get for being a tectonic tourist. heheh. i just liked the way that the remains of the facade keep the street wall while hiding the surface parking from the street – i see this a lot in europe, and i think it’s a nice way to deal with having a parking lot on the street.

img_1926.jpg

cool outdoor mirror installation at the german architectural center (daz)

img_1934.jpg

the engelbecken, a really beautiful sunken pond and boulevard park that i happened upon – the ruins of michaelkirch are in the background

b5.jpg

i didn’t know that berlin and l.a. were sister cities…cool.

b7.jpg

a foggy, foggy tv tower at alexanderplatz/a break in the wall

b10.jpg

the obligatory shot of the sony center roof/sony center interior at potsdamer platz

b4.jpg

checkpoint charlie

b8.jpg

old architecture in the mitte/new architecture in the kreuzberg

b6.jpg

ferris wheel and some new construction – i really like ferris wheels for some reason..

b3.jpg 

the holocaust memorial – a very beautiful and powerful space

b9.jpg

and two final photos that i just liked: the view between the reichstag and the paul löbehaus/restoration on an unter der linden bridge