Sunday, May 31, 2009
"always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry" - Bill Cosby (I Am In Italy!!)
Friday, May 29, 2009
(these last posts are going to be quick. It is 12:30 and I need to go to bed. Tomorrow I leave for Vincenza and then Venice.)
I loved this. The interior was fascinating. The islamic design was again geometric, repeating patterns, and elegant and relaxing space. The Catholic church in the 'center' felt as though you were in a completely different building. The original exterior walls were open, and the columns inside the mosque lined up with the trees trunks in the courtyard. But the catholic church filled in the walls and created a ring of chapels around the mosque.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
" A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart." - Frank Lloyd Wright
How beautiful it is! As I walked up the small street leading to the Alhambra the weather was nice, a bit cool. The entrance takes you through a forest that winds around the Alhambra's walls. At 10am the sprinklers were running and with the shade it was so cool on that walk that I could see my breath when I exhaled. But within 10-15 minutes I was in the sun, warming up, and within the walls of the Alhambra it was hot.
The most striking thing about the Alhambra is how modern it seems. I was aware of this at the time but did not have the words for it. But as I visited the Mesquita in Còrdoba, and later the Cathedral & Alcàzar in Sevilla, it finally hit me. The Islamic architecture is all based on geometric forms and (mathmatical?) patterns which seem as contemprary as any today, just more intricate. The forms and plans for the rooms are often a circle within a square, which hold religious significance. The multitude of patterns - on the floors, on the lower wall in tiles and carved into the upper walls and ceilings were always different, yet seems to mesh togther well. Not an easy task. ( Whereas in Barcelona, at the Palau de Musica Catalunya, I felt seasick from all the various ornamentation.) And the attention to detail.... I still cannot fathom how they carved the details in the material. I look at it and think - lasercutter!
The Generalife was georgeous also. The plants were not as lush as I anticipated and it felt crowded. But there was a simplicity to certain details that were wonderful. The most notable element in both the Alhambra and Generalife started when I crossed through the gate at the edge of town into the forest. The sound of water....Everywhere..... all the time! And it was so refeshing. As big as the entire complex is, there was only one time I did not hear water, or for that matter, see the birds that were always flying about. And that was is in Charles the IV Palace. A square brute building placed within the Alhambra walls with a large circular court in the center. Very traditional and it just happened to be the last space I entered that day. I found it very unpleasant and left after 10 minutes. The Alhambra is scaled to people. Charles Palace was not. I found this an interesting contrast. I wonder if anyone else noticed.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
In April 2008 in my final year of graduate school I was awarded the prestigious Kohn Pedersen Fox Traveling Architecture Fellowship with an award of $10,000. The goal of the award is to allow students to broaden their education through a summer of travel.
I was one of three recipients nationally from 19 invited universities with prominent Schools of Architecture. In addition to North Carolina State University, they included Architectural Association/London, Columbia University, Cooper Union, Cornell Univ., Harvard Univ., M.I.T., Cambridge Univ. /UK, University of Michigan, City College of New York, University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Technical University Delft/Netherlands, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Pratt Institute, Rice University, Princeton Univ. and Yale University. The application is made by the student, but the Dean of each school can nominate only three student portfolios from the school each year.
The winners were chosen anonomously by a jury. Each juror represented a city where Kohn Pedersen Fox (www.kpf.com) has a studio: Paul Finch from the Architectural Review represented London; Quingyun Ma, dean of USC's design school, travelled from Shanghai, and James Garner, critic for the New York Sun, was the local juror. Also on the jury were Rob Whitlock & Doug Hocking, KPF Design Principals.
In addition to myself, the other winners were Kyung Jae Kim from Columbia University & Hoi Lung Chan from MIT. Jury Chairman Paul Finch was quoted as saying, "It is always refreshing to find in student work a combination of ideas, investigation and thoughtful presentation, the travel plans of the winning students are as varied & interesting as their work."
A pfd file of my portfolio was posted on their webpage and may still be there ( http://www.kpf.com/files/Kristin_Hawk_KPF_Fellowship.pdf ). The note about my submitted portfolio was this: "Kristin produced an exemplary exploded drawing, and projects for theaters and an architecture centre. (my note: and a health complex) The judges admired 'an impressive and elegant investigation of form in determining the most important design elements', producing work of 'clarity and serenity'. "
I had hoped to attend a 6 week summer studio in Italy last year this time but was unable due to health reasons. The studio was titled 'hybrids and collisions' and would look at the relationship of new to old buildings in historic settings. This summer I am traveling on my own for a longer period of time, visiting more of the architecture I studied in schoool while also looking at urban design and relationships between old & new between and within buildings. I will spend time in Spain, Italy and Turkey.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Well, we shall see how helpful all of my late nights finding hostals & pensions will be. And how much I will actually get to see and do while in Europe. It all seems so easy on paper, but as everthing else, I'm sure it will be more difficult than I anticipate. My general plans are to go to Spain first, Italy then Turkey. That will not change. While in Spain I will be spending time in Barcelona, Granada, Cordoba and Sevilla. Italy is less planned but I have given myself 5 weeks and should be able to see Rome, Vicenza, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre and hopefully a visit to the Amalfi coast. I also want to get to Bagnaia and Fiesole to view some landscape architecture that I admired while taking a L.Arch class at NCSU. I fly into Milan from Barcelona on May 28. On July 1 I fly to Istanbul, Turkey for the last 2 weeks of my trip. I have a side trip planned to Cappadoccia and Ephesus with one of my nights reserved with a stay in a ¨fairy chimney¨in Cappadoccia.
My ¨reason for travel¨ has gotten fuzzier since not being able to do the studio in Italy last summer but I am excited to see so much of what I studied while in school. While in school my most captivating ideas for studio projects always came from some systhesis of experiences that I had, not simply an architectural precedent. So I am hoping that this trip sows seeds for further inspiration - not only in precedent, but in an intuitive and experiential way. I experienced so little architecture phyiscally while in school that I think it will feel wonderful to actually be in the variety of spaces and environments I have planned.
My plans are to visit well-know architecture and landscape architecture, and to look at the spaces between buildings. The public space between private buildings interests me and I want to see how it is used and when and why it works.