One of my favorite things about the DIS program is the integration of study tours–basically field trips–throughout the semester. Sure, the trips are tied to a class so they are academically focused, but it means I (a) get to go cool places instead of sitting in a classroom, (b) get to see things I probably wouldn’t have known about on my own, and (c) don’t have to pay for it (or at least, I paid for it all up front). So I think it’s a pretty sweet deal.
Most of these are day trips, but last weekend I went on the first of two longer tours with my Urban Design program. The tour through Jutland (the main peninsula of Denmark), included visits to Aalborg, Århus, and Kolding.
Although a lot of time was spent looking at talking about buildings and sketching (because apparently that’s what architecture students do), we got to see some pretty interesting stuff. I’ll refrain from sharing any of my sketches, as my photos are much better. Enjoy (and click on the images if you want to see them larger)!
Our first stop was Enghøj Kirke, a very interesting church in a small town on the way to Aalborg. While the outside of the church wasn't my favorite, it was certainly something different. The inside, however, was stunning and incredibly peaceful.
Our next stop was the Kunsten Museum of Modern Art. I actually really didn't like the interior of the museum, and the exhibit was strange to say the least, but the sculpture garden was lovely and it was a beautiful day. The fountain in the picture would stop every once in a while to allow people to walk into the center of it, before starting up again around you. Pretty cool installation!
Our final stop for the day was the Utzon Center in Aalborg. The center was designed by the same guy who did the Sydney Opera House and he was inspired by the boats his father built when he was a child.
The next day we got to spend a lovely morning walking around the grounds of Aarhus Universitet. Aarhus is one of the few campus based universities in Denmark, and they really did it right. Their campus was stunning, with a duck pond in the center, rolling hills, and ivy all over the buildings. The only problem was, we were there on a Saturday morning so there were no students around and there was trash everywhere from parties the night before. Come on, people, take care of your beautiful campus!
Next we visited Aarhus Rådhus, the townhall of Arhus and one of the ugliest buildings I have seen in Denmark (center picture). It's only saving grace was the spectacular views of Aarhus from the top of the tower. We even got the catch an aerial view of our next stop, the Aros Museum (picture on the right).
The big-ticket item at the Aros Museum is the rainbow panorama on top, by Danish-Icelandic installation artist Olafur Eliasson. The piece was certainly unlike anything I'd seen before, and it was interesting to look at the city through the different color filters. My favorite piece, however, was another work he did in the museum. I couldn't take any pictures, but basically, it was a room full of smoke that completely obscured your vision beyond a foot or so. Using lights, he made it so your entire field of vision was taken over by color. It was one of the most bizarre feelings I've ever experienced: my vision was restricted like it would be in a pitch-black room but I was seeing vibrant colors instead.
There were some other fun things to see in the museum too! From left to right: a view through the rainbow panorama (because I love taking pictures of people in love in Europe), my bizarre Danish shout-out to Egypt, and the discovery of Nasty Jack's cheeky cousin from down under (or up north). Note: for those of you who don't know, Nasty Jack is the Jackalope head that hangs in my apartment in DC. Long story, just don't ask questions.
The next day we got to visit Koldinghus in Kolding, which is an old castle that they have done some very interesting restoration work on. If you look carefully in the left picture, you can kind of see how the new architecture (the wood and metal bridges and railings) interacts with the old building structure. It was fun walking around the castle (see the library in the center), but of course my favorite part was getting to take pictures of the impromptu tango lessons going on in one of the main halls (on the right).
Finally, we stopped at the Traphold Museum of Art. It was a beautiful museum and there was an interesting exhibit going on about Danish furniture design. Tell me those chairs on the left don't look like they would be incredibly fun to sit in...
The trip was a great preview for my weeklong study tour to Germany and the Netherlands coming up in only two weeks! It’s hard to believe how fast the time is going by here (I’m already a fourth of the way done), but I’m excited for everything that’s happening in the coming months!