February 29, 2012 § 4 Comments

Hello again from Copenhagen!

See that skinny glowing building?  THAT does not really exist!

Actually this is a painting from my most recent architecture project here at DIS.  The project prompt was an infill building (designing a building between two existing buildings) designed to showcase contemporary Danish furniture.  The project site is located on Europe’s longest (1.1 km) pedestrian shopping street, Strøget, close to Copenhagen’s Rådhuspladsen.

My concept was to show modern Danish furniture in a distinctive Danish (and hyggelit) environment.  Taking note from Scandinavian architectural critic, Christian Norberg-Schultz: “The word home, as we have suggested is a key to the Nordic.  In the North, life does not ensure on the piazza but in the home and its grandeur,” I designed a Danish domestic interior to connect the traditional Danish to the contemporary.  Using the three H’s: home, hearth and hygge a domestic Danish atmosphere is created.

Who knows, maybe Strøget will really look like this one day but for now, enjoy Strøget at night!


That calls for a Carlsberg

February 28, 2012 § 5 Comments

It can be said that Carlsberg is Copenhagen.

In 1847 J.C. Jacobsen established Carlsburg Brewery in Copenhagen and since then the company has been a cornerstone of Copenhagen history.   In the past 150+ years Carlsberg has become an extremely influential in the areas of beer, art, sports and other cultural aspects within Copenhagen and abroad.  Carlsberg is currently the #4 brewing company in the world.

You can’t walk down the street in Central Copenhagen without seeing the Carlsberg logo.

At the end of 2008 beer production ceased at the Carlsberg headquarters in Copenhagen.  Since production ceased, an entire district of beautifully historic factory buildings wait empty and ready for a new function.  Over the next 20 years, the Carlsberg Group has plans to repurpose the existing campus into a dynamic sustainable district for arts, sports and culture to benefit the city of Copenhagen.

So why the history lesson?

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit the New Carlsberg Brewhouseand learn about the top 5 projects for the ‘Carlsberg Brand & Experience Center’ (working title…it needs work).  Teams of architects, planners and advertisers presented their ideas such as a real life videogame experience, the world’s longest bar and a daily circus within Copenhagen.

Here is a glimpse of the competition and the existing brewhouse in all its beauty!

Interior of the original New Carlsberg Brewhouse.

Section model from the competition

Visitors were given a ‘like it’ card to place by our favorite designs.  How democratic!

Presentation by BIG architects

Competition presentations

The existing brewhouse is so beautiful in itself, I don’t think that a repurposing is even necessary!  I hope the idea that is chosen preserves the current historic building and all its memory.  We shall see!

That calls for a Carlsberg.


February 22, 2012 § 7 Comments

Hello from Copenhagen!

Its time I painted something from Copenhagen again.  Here is a snapshot I took while walking to class from Skindergade looking toward’s one of Copenhagen landmarks, the Round Tower.

And now for your history lesson of the day…Christian IV built the Round Tower (Rundetaarn) in Central Copenhagen from 1637 to 1642.  The tower was built as an observatory.  Skindergade is a historic street (like most in Copenhagen) that was once a venue for leather craftsmen such as skinners, glovers, pursemakers, saddlemakers and shoemakers.  The name Skindergade dates back to the 15th century and is derived from Danish “skind” meaning skin.

For all you new followers, watercolorWEDNESDAY is a long time tradition on the blog (by long time, I mean 6 months long).  Every week I paint a watercolor from my travels or life in Copenhagen and post it on Wednesdays (so we can get that whole “Watercolor Wednesday” alliteration going on).

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15


February 16, 2012 § 5 Comments

This weekend I had the opportunity to join twenty other classmates in the exploration of Berlin, Germany.  As part of our curriculum, DIS (the international school I attend) takes students on study tours across Northern Europe.  Accompanied by cameras, sketchbooks and our deteriorating historical knowledge, we dug our architectural minds through this capital city for three chilly days.

The city is weaved together by layers of history that create its fabric.  No where in the city can one escape the past.  Berlin is a capital city– it first claimed it capital seat in 1701 as the Prussia Empire Capital, then the Germany Empire, onto the Weimar Republic and then Hitler’s Third Reich.  After German defeat in 1945, the city was divided in two– East and West.  The East controlled by the Soviets and the West by well, the west.  To further divide the city, the Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 around Western Berlin that split the city into two.  As the USSR collapsed in ’89 so did the wall.  Berlin is now reunified and again holds the capital seat within the reunited Germany.

So how does this city identify itself?  As a victim? As the perpetrator? Erase the memory of the war?

Depending on the generation, all of these answers are true.

Berlin serves as a landscape for the memory.  The city is a museum itself.  Due to the great devastation and destruction of Berlin during the war and the more recent fall of the Wall, Berlin is collage of architecture– new, old, ruins and everything in between.  The gaping holes within the city have been filled with new architecture, yet much of the damage has been restored.  We visited several sites that were remodeled to exhibit the damage from the war.  Even in the new Berlin still shows the scars of its history.

As an American college student born the year after the fall of the Wall, I have always been so distant from the turmoil in Germany.  However by wandering through the streets of Berlin, the reality of World War II, the Cold War and fall of the Wall have become so apparent to me.

No longer was this history flattened into the page of my history book.  It now stood before me.

A memorial to the Wall that once divided East from West.  Coreten steel rods line the path where the wall once stood.  Throughout the city the Wall and its ghost are still visible.

Norman Foster’s addition to the Reichstag is a glass dome providing a 360 view of Berlin.  We were just lucky enough to eat a delicious lunch at the top!

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a powerful 5 acres of undulated concrete blocks.  The disorientation experienced while wandering through the sea of stelae is to evoke the journey of the Jews within Europe.

The Neues Museum is beautiful remodel of what once was the original Neues Museum. Bullet holes still sprinkle the walls and crumbling columns frame the ancient artifacts and art that are displayed within.

World renown architect, Daniel Libeskind’s most famous project, The Jewish Museum Berlin is an experience in itself.  The architecture takes visitors through the history of Jews in Europe through exhibitions and the voids within.

Ending on a happier note, the food!

The weekend was filled with delicious food from Germany and abroad.  Schnitzel, German beer and the first burrito I have eaten in six months were some highlights of the weekend.

What a experience in Berlin.

Danke Berlin, auf Wiedersehen


February 15, 2012 § 4 Comments

A little something different this week.  Here is a piece from my sketchbook while at the Neues Museum in Berlin.

I spent this past weekend learning from the scars of one of the world’s greatest cities, Berlin.

The Neues Museum is an excellent example of the scars that Berlin carries.  The museum was originally opened in 1855 and designed by  Friedrich August Stüler, a student of Germany’s famous Karl Friedrich Schinkel.  Throughout World War II the building was heavily bombed and damaged.  It was left in ruins for a number of decades but recently reopened in 2009.  The remodel of the museum repairs the damage yet leaves much of the damage untouched to preserve the memory of the war.

Crumbling columns, bullet sprinkled walls and cracked paint tell the story of this magnificent city.


February 10, 2012 § 110 Comments

As February rolled around I began to get cocky and thought I had escaped the extreme Scandinavian winter.


Mother Nature must have heard my boasting because since the start of February, she has smacked Copenhagen with below-freezing temperatures, extreme winds and snow.

Since arriving in Denmark, whenever I myself to a Dane (jeg hedder kirsten, jeg kommer fra California) and tell them I am from California I always get the same response– a chuckle and a “good luck this winter.”

Compared to past years, this winter has been exceptionally mild (until February that is).   Before February, we experienced mild temperatures, little rain and no snow (see why I was getting cocky?).

Thanks to my amazing super-jacket, multiple scarves and an extensive collection of earwarmers, this California girl has been keeping warm.  Oddly enough, I am enjoying this weather.  We will see how long the honeymoon lasts but for now I am enjoying bundling up and watching the city disappear under a coat of white snow.

Take that Mother Nature.

the frozen Lakes that separate central Copenhagen to the '-bros'

I wish I had some skates...

good morning! your bike is covered in snow. (of course I still biked in the snow)

snowing in Gråbrødretorv

hope the ducks are staying warm.

everyone crowded to the park Sunday for some sledding


February 8, 2012 § 4 Comments

The doors of Italy.

The doors of Europe are fantastic.  So many are handcrafted, ages old and found in more colors than in the rainbow.  I don’t know what is more interesting, the doors or what lies behind them?

I found this rich blue door while wandering around Rome last month.

This painting just so happens to be the birthday card for my dear friend, Jessica who is 22 today!  Happy Birthday Jess!

…and I have yet to send the card, hopefully you will get it before your next birthday!

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