Grundtvig’s Kirke

March 31, 2012 § 8 Comments

On a sunny day last week, I took a bike ride north of Copenhagen to visit the historic Grundtvig’s Kirke (Grundtvig’s Church).  After listening professor after professor reference the church, I felt like it was time I finally make a trip up to Grundtvig’s and experience the church myself.

Danish architect, P.V. Jensen Klint, won the church design competition for a church named after Danish philosopher and hymn writer Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig in 1913.  Most construction took place mostly from 1921-1926, with the final completion date in 1940.

N. F. S. Grundtvig is one of the Denmark’s most influential historical figures and is largely responsible for the modern Danish national consciousness.  Just some of his job titles include pastor, author, poet, philosopher, historian, teacher and politician.  Clearly, he was a busy man!

The church was commissioned to be a memorial for the man that has such a large impact on Danish society.

With influences from traditional Danish village churches, Gothic proportions and Brick Expressionism, this church creates in own architectural expression.

The church is an extraordinary example of the Danish Craft. During the main years of construction 5 master-brick layers worked  tirelessly laying the some 6 million traditional Danish yellow bricks.  Job well done!

With father, P.V. Jensen Klint as grand architect of Grundtvig’s and sons Kaare and Essen Klint as influential furniture and lighting designers respectively, the Klint family is extremely influential part of Denmark’s famous design tradition.

By far my favorite aspect of the church is the yellow brick.  Yellow brick is extremely common in Denmark, especially at the time of the church’s construction.  The building’s simplified gothic proportions of a tall and narrow nave with high ceilings allow light to stream within.  The yellow bricks provide a pure canvas for the majestic Scandinavian light to dance within the space.

Ahhh! Got to love that Scandinavian light!

Upon the death of his father in 1930, Kaare Klint assumed the role as head designer of Grundtvig’s.  Kaare Klint is best known for his work as a furniture designer and founder of the Furniture Department at the Royal Academy for Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1924.  Kaare Klint’s influence on Danish Design cannot be overestimated.  Almost all prolific furniture designer’s from Denmark’s Golden Age of the ’50 and ’60s are directly influenced by the so called ‘Klint School.’ including Børge Mogensen, Poul Kjærholm and Hans J. Wegner.

Kaare Klint designed these chairs, known as the Church Chair, specifically for Grundtvig’s Church.  Klint used furniture precedents from the American Shakers and English Arts and Craft Movement to design this high craft and functional chair.

See mom! I am paying attention in my Danish Design class!

Regardless of Grundtvig’s massive size, the church still feels intimate and personal.  The warmth, glow, and hygge chairs within provided a peaceful setting to praise Our Creator.



March 28, 2012 § 4 Comments

Today we visit the Elephant Gate at Carlsberg Brewery (for the history of Carlsberg, check out one of my older posts That Calls for a Carlsberg).  The Elephant Gate marks the official entrance to the Carlsberg Brewery District in Valby in the outskirts of Copenhagen.

The Elephant Gate was part of the Ny Carlsberg Brewery founded by J.C. Jacobsen’s son, Carl Jacobsen (the two breweries have since been combined). The elephants are an idea from Carl Jacobsen inspired by Bernini’s elephant-obelisk in Piazza della Minera in Rome (I will have to check it when I head back to Rome next week!).  Completed in 1901 in granite, the elephants are the work of 19th century Danish sculptor, Hans Peder Pederson-Dan.

With sunny spring skies the lighting was great for a shot on the day I visited the brewery!

This has got to be the good life.

March 27, 2012 § 4 Comments

To quote ‘David After the Dentist

“Is this real life?!?”

Here is my view as I biked home from bible study this evening at 8:15pm!  Yes 8:15 in the evening!

Europe ‘sprang’ forward this Sunday extending the evenings and providing us with more of this glorious daylight we have been deprived of for so long. Joggers going for late runs, lovers on evening strolls and friends enjoying a hyggelit time over drinks were some of the sights I witnessed on my gorgeous bike ride home.

Today’s weather was phenomenal (for Scandinavian standards) with a comfortable high of 16°C (60°F for you American folks) and blue skies.  Indeed, Scandinavia is coming out of her winter shell.

Oh yes, and my ipod just happened to shuffle to ‘Good Life’ by OneRepublic as I biked across the Lakes.

This has got to be the good life.


March 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Hi fra Amsterdam!

Two weeks ago I had to pleasure of exploring the winding canals of Amsterdam and opportunity to snap this lovely shot.  Who needs a museum when there are so many canals to discover?

Photos from Friends

March 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of entertaining my good friend, Kaylyn from Cal Poly in Copenhagen.  For the past nine months Kaylyn has been studying (“studying”) in Ahmedabad, India and was taking a detour through Europe on her way back to the States.  Equipped with our cameras and artistic eyes we explored this wonderful place I call home.

To check out Kaylyn’s continued adventure click here

photo credit to Kaylyn Berry

photo credit to Kaylyn Berry

photo credit to Kaylyn Berry

photo credit to Kaylyn Berry

photo credit to Kaylyn Berry

Photos from Gråbrødretorv, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Christiana


March 14, 2012 § 4 Comments

Since I just returned from another set of travels, I thought I would give you a sneak peak of my sketchbook from the week.  As mentioned in my previous post Another Corner Explored, I spent the past week traveling through The Netherlands and Northern Germany.

Here are some sketches of interest (the rest were more analysis based and therefore not that pretty to look at). Check back next week for a painting from Amsterdam!

Our first stop was the Lloyd Hotel outside central Amsterdam.

In order to stay awake during the guitar show at Concertgebouw I had to sketch.  No one was looking!

View from Melly’s Coffee & Cookie Shop in downtown Amsterdam with a map of central Amsterdam in the corner.

We got to visit the famous Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht, The Netherlands.  The home is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an influential work from the Dutch De Stijl movement from 1917-1931.

Another Corner Explored

March 12, 2012 § 7 Comments

This past week I joined thirty of my peers from DIS on an academic travel tour to explore another corner of Europe, the Netherlands and Northern Germany.  Our travels started in Amsterdam with a day trip to Utrecht.  From there we bused back across Northern Germany with stops in Essen, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Hamberg and back to Denmark.  It was a full week indeed!

Each city we visited were very distinct from one another.  In The Netherlands I strolled along the picturesque canals that knit the city together.  In Germany I explored many previous industrial sites that have been repurposed into new culture centers.  And on the bus…I slept.

The trip was very diverse which is why I am struggling so much to knit the story and pictures together.  Well sorry folks, I give up.  I can’t find a focus. These might not be your typical tourist photos, but these are the pieces of the trip I want to remember best.

Enjoy the pictures and descriptions!

Canals of Amsterdam.  The right is the traditional homes located in the city center.  The left Borneo Housing, a new development with flair on the outskirts of Amsterdam.  Which do you prefer, the old or new?

Yes, Amsterdam might be known for things other than their cheese.  However I stumbled upon this fabulous cheese shop with samples galore.  I felt like I was in Costco.  Yes, I went twice in two days.  Free lunch!

Concertgebouw is one of the world’s most renowned concert venues known for its excellent acoustics.  Although I know nothing about acoustics and can’t carry a tune, there was something special about the sounds within the concert hall.  Our group was treated with a Spanish Guitar Concert at the Concertgebouw.

I found a quaint little coffee shop (yes…a real coffee shop, not an Amsterdam ‘coffee shop’) in Amsterdam city center that reminded me so much of the coffee shops in San Luis Obispo.  I got to sit down, sketch and chat with the barista, a fellow West-Coaster (Washington State) studying in Amsterdam.  These are the memories I love.

I love this city!  Dusk in Amsterdam.

Hop over to Germany now. We spent a day in Essen wandering through the historic Ruhr District. The Ruhr District was once full of industrial cities characterized for its coal mining and associated heavy industry.  During WWII the district served as Germany’s primary weapon factory and was bombed heavily by the allies.  Much of the production has been moved elsewhere and the factories lay abandon.

Recent developments have repurposed many of the former industrial sites into cultural centers and museums.  The factories have been kept in tact with exhibits artfully placed between the remnants and machinery of the old building.

More of the factories that are planned to be repurposed.  Who needs an exhibit? I think these buildings are cool enough without being repurposed into a museum.

One last stop in Hamburg, Germany.  Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany behind Berlin and is Europe second largest port.   We visited several sites that were once industrial harbor centers and are being transformed into sustainable living and commercial environments.

So as you can see the trip was quite diverse, in a good way!  I got the opportunity to see and experience another corner of Europe and I can’t wait to return!

I am so thankful.

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