Weekend Travel: Munich | DE Part 2

One other stadium and two museums. Another three hours and four subway stations.

Yes, I'm not done yet with Munich. Let's revisit what the capital of Bavaria has to offer, and this time I will not only talk about buildings. I went under the shades, slipped between buildings, and lurked underground to discover interesting spaces! 

There are three different arches typology in this photo.

There are three different arches typology in this photo.

There is one mundane door with interesting German pattern

There is one mundane door with interesting German pattern

Sometimes I  feel that I focus too much to check the popular places and did not realize that there are actually a lot of other interesting stuff to examine. And that other stuff are just all around.  With this perception shift in mind, I found all these underground gem throughout the city ready to be admired!

 

1 Stadium

Allianz Arena by Herzog and de Meuron

Okay, I admit that I did not put any hassle on finding this one. However, they only put up this wonderful color only when Bayern Munchen win the match. So, come at the right time!

On the note of the building facade, It was one of the early projects of HdM's stadium that uses ETFE pillow as facade and also roof enclosure. The pillow facade features integrated lighting system that will illuminate each pillow and can be programmed to tune different color accordingly. Therefore the face of the building is always changing, informing out what's happening on the match inside. Allianz Arena was built in 2005, three years before the firm's Bird Nest and Water Cube. The use of rhomboid pattern is pretty clever moves to minimize the amount of module variation needed due to the stadium overall geometry. Along with that, notice the circulation stairs are neatly placed together in parallel to the angle of ETFE pillows. The glow inside the stairs tube adds another layer of depth of view. Brilliant!

 

2 Museums

Brandhorst Museum by Sauerbruch Hutton

Look at that meticulously curated facade!

The building embodies very simple massing strategy and focus more on the curation of color composition of the facade element. Interesting, to see all those color combination of each facade elements in a distance creates a different perception of color.

Reminds me of Van Gogh.

Pinakothek der Moderne Museum

This museum is more like a temple of modern art collection because of its massive scale of the building. Apart from its size, it also features one of the unique displays in museums, the giant teaser wall. It performs as a preview before getting into the actual gallery space. A pretty interesting approach as they architecture scale display then begin to create dialogue with the adjacent spaces. 

The height of the ceiling is utilized to hang large-scale sculpture and to occupy the void as people can observe the sculpture from different levels.

Diagonal axis to break the regularity of gallery organization and provide public space around the irregularity its causing.

Diagonal axis to break the regularity of gallery organization and provide public space around the irregularity its causing.

 

3 Hours and 4 Subway Stations

And it can be done for less than 3 Euros!

xx

U-bahnhof Station  Westfriedhof:  Quirky and night club-like feeling, a bit Phillipe Stark-ish.

U-bahnhof Station Westfriedhof: Quirky and night club-like feeling, a bit Phillipe Stark-ish.

U-bahnhof Station  Sankt Quirin Platz:  Feeling to carve down and through the ground.

U-bahnhof Station Sankt Quirin Platz: Feeling to carve down and through the ground.

U-bahnhof Station  Candidplatz

U-bahnhof Station Candidplatz

Eye candy and colorful space. Feel the gradient color change as you pass through the station by the subway.

Eye candy and colorful space. Feel the gradient color change as you pass through the station by the subway.

U-bahnhof Station  Marienplatz

U-bahnhof Station Marienplatz

Tunnel as if you are getting into the matrix.

Tunnel as if you are getting into the matrix.

 

And for 5...

Equipped with five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.
— Edwin Powell Hubble
 

Keep it going and, onto the next one. Ciao!

Architecture and the Christmas Aftermath

Hangover, dizzy, and nauseous is what happen after all those heavy head banging bass thumping new year party. Similar aftermath, what happen with buildings past all those festive celebration?

I traveled from the most east side of Western Europe heading west to the most west point, the end of Europe continent during last Christmas holiday. It was around the Christmas season and I noticed that it's interesting to see all these architecture projects sort of being dressed for this event that most of West European looking forward to the entire year.

 And here is the showdown!

Eclectic decorative element of Palacio de Pena. Such an aftermath

Eclectic decorative element of Palacio de Pena. Such an aftermath


 

Introducing the scoring system. What? Beauty can't be measured. Yes I agree with that. However, this time we need it to measure the success rate of integrating a new parameter in regards to the existing one.

*This is to rate the integration of Christmas tree to the architecture design. NOT to rate the architecture itself.

Concept:       ★★★☆

Aesthetic:      ★☆☆

Composition: ★★★☆☆

 

Berlin

 

Unite d' Habitation

Unite d Habitation by Le Corbusier

Unite d Habitation by Le Corbusier

 
Modularity and composition

Modularity and composition

 

Modular Interplay

The presence of the tree complete the balance of the overall composition that is trying to break away from blatant symmetry. The notion of perfectly mirrored geometrical balance was instilled from the classic architecture. Modernism onwards, is trying to negate the previous statement of architecture which means static stable object. Unite d' Habitation is one of the greatest prototype of modern living, new expression of architecture as a machine for living. A building is no longer to be seen as static but a dynamic physical infrastructure. Even though I see minimum effort to dress the building, the Christmas tree is strategically position to blend. Thus, the gesture really carries out the spirit of its era. 

 

Concept:         ★★☆☆

Aesthetic:        ★★☆☆

Composition: ★★★★★

 

Dutch Embassy - OMA

OMA's classic, Dutch Embassy

OMA's classic, Dutch Embassy

 
Negative model of void

Negative model of void

 

Carved Out Mass

The Dutch Embassy building is such a bold statement of Koolhaas on criticizing modern architecture. The building's unusual circulation path indicates his disagreement on a rigid and efficient form follow function approach.  The christmas decoration here is rather unusual as well, instead of focusing to one, it has three trees, the bigger one in the orange washed lobby, two in outdoor terrace above the parking on the left hand side. Seems like this gesture is to question the idea of having single christmas tree as a glorified object but rather to have some placed in the same level as it merges to the same skyline with existing trees along the promenade in front of the building.

 

Concept:        ★★★★

Aesthetic:        ★☆☆☆☆

Composition: ★★★☆☆

 

Marie Elisabeth Luders - Stephan Braunfels

Marie Elisabeth Luders - Stephan Braunfels

Marie Elisabeth Luders - Stephan Braunfels

 
The continuity of linear building is divided by the river.

The continuity of linear building is divided by the river.

 

On Axis

This building is essentially one very long indoor avenue with 7 stories building blocks on both sides. Very strong definition of central circulation in with organized sub node arranged in linear fashion . Pretty strict and systematic sub-system which can be propagated to create a larger whole. However, the system is interrupted by the crossing of the river that creates public plaza and public program adjacent to it. The Christmas tree is placed in the middle of the avenue along with the axis as a focal point. Its presence then provide resting point for the eyes to focus and breaks the endless continuity of the linear system. Therefore, the Christmas tree without putting much effort, perform as an object to complete the design.

 

Concept:        ☆☆

Aesthetic:        ★★★★

Composition: ★★★

 

Bundestag and Reichstag - Foster Partners

Bundestag, and Foster's Reichstag

Bundestag, and Foster's Reichstag

 
 

Off Axis

Bundestag, the parliament building used to be a medieval architecture piece design with strict symmetry in mind. The Reichstag, the transparent dome addition by British architect Norman Foster extent the idea of governmental transparency by letting people access the dome and witness the court process underneath. The addition follows the concurrent symmetrical rigor throughout the building.  Seems like they take a chance in Christmas time to break the symmetry, a single giant Christmas tree is placed on the left side of the front façade.

Concept:         ☆☆

Aesthetic:        ★★★★

Composition: ★★☆☆


Porto

Huge christmas tree in front of the city hall of Porto.

Huge christmas tree in front of the city hall of Porto.

There was not many Christmas tree around the city, it's pretty strange considering Porto is known as a very religious city, I was expecting to see more Christmas tree placed here rather than in Berlin actually. However, there is this very big one in front of the city hall. It was pretty cool until I found out it is a standardized Christmas tree that is propagated to all over the cities in Portugal. Booring..

Museu Serralves - Alvaro Siza Viera

Alvaro Siza, Museu Serralves

Alvaro Siza, Museu Serralves

 
 

Central Heart

Museu Serralves doesn't have a proper Christmas tree around. However, the idea of having a reserved space for a huge tree is very beautiful! Siza has played it out to make the tree as part of the essence of design. At a glance, it performs as an entry courtyard to the main museum building and theatre. Other than that, Siza has constructed a sequence of spatial experience to entering the museum. At first, you arrived at a large lawn, and as you follow the straight and narrow path, you walk besides a rather humble building mass which is the museum's theatre, reaching the back and revealing a small inner court where the tree sits. This is the tipping point between void and solid as you enter the museum building and the whole experience becomes indoor with specific view relation towards the outside.

Concept:         ★★

Aesthetic:        ★★★★

Composition:  ★★★★

Installation in Central Room

Installation in Central Room

 

Casa de Musica - OMA

Casa de Musica, another architectural jewel by OMA.

Casa de Musica, another architectural jewel by OMA.

 
 

Object in an Object

Not impressed! 

The winning concept of Casa de Musica is an object that embodied another object inside. However, the Christmas tree in here is yet another object laying around in the in between object space. Cluttered.  In the other hand, it is really hard to complement such a bold conceptual design developed by OMA. The space and the interweave between programs are super interesting, this building is definitely one of my favorite of all time!

Concept:        ★☆☆

Aesthetic:        ★☆☆☆

Composition:  ★☆☆☆

 

Lisbon

 

Paula Rego Gallery - Souto de Moura

The two pyramids becomes the background of huge trees that welcome visitors and lead towards the building entrance.

The two pyramids becomes the background of huge trees that welcome visitors and lead towards the building entrance.

 
 

Grand Entrance

This is one of the latest project by Souto de Moura, the Pritzker winner 2011. Again, this is another project without an actual Christmas tree around. Of course the two pyramids are the most noticeable feature of this building, it also signifies the entry to the building, and this is when it gets really interesting. The architect preserve the existing landscape and trees, and integrate it into the design of the building. The same design strategy of integrating landscape to the building design and yet, the result is almost totally the opposite of Museu Serralves in Porto. Paula Rego Gallaery has one of the most ceremonial entry, Museu Serralves has very humble yet offer different spatial experience.

Concept:        

Aesthetic:        ★★★★

Composition:  ★★★

 
This is not a Christmas tree but it does help to build up the festive mood. The Portuguese blue tile is well represented as a giant snow man. 

This is not a Christmas tree but it does help to build up the festive mood. The Portuguese blue tile is well represented as a giant snow man. 

Gare do Oriente - Santiago Calatrava

Calatrava's Garo do Oriente Station

Calatrava's Garo do Oriente Station

 
Calatrava is one of the modern architects who is using watercolor as a medium for inspiration. ie: Steven Holl

Calatrava is one of the modern architects who is using watercolor as a medium for inspiration. ie: Steven Holl

 

Underwhelming, The Christmas tree is tucked in the lowest  level of the station below all the circulation pathways that criss crosses above it.  I guess the station is already too busy to receive another attention-grabbing object. 

Concept:         ☆☆☆

Aesthetic:        ★★☆☆☆

Composition:  ★☆☆

 

Aftermath After All

Sunrise in Lisbon

Sunrise in Lisbon

At last, having gone through those amazing architecture projects, I will sum up my journey this time with the following conclusion.

As architecture evolve throughout time to define what we call civilization; still, we always look back and mesmerized about the beauty of the old, the ancient. And we look up, it's the nature what provides the ultimate beauty, the form-follow function, the system.

The ultimate beauty, sunset in Cabo da Roca

The ultimate beauty, sunset in Cabo da Roca

Weekend Travel: Dusseldorf | DE

This is the story of how I ended up unexpectedly in Dusseldorf, Germany this weekend.

Prologue

Friday night, me and my travel buddy were biking harder than ever to catch my bus to Paris. We made it right on time. Exhausted and out of breath with shaky limbs, I forced myself to sleep and hoping to wake up ready to check all the awesome stuff the city has.  I was really excited to visit one of the most prominent cities for architecture in the history. But.. 

I couldn't sleep. The guy sitting next to me kept asking me if I have internet on my phone and if I can access the latest news. I told him I put my phone in flight mode so I don't get charged extra when I pass the border.  However, I noticed the bus has been not moving for more than an hour. People were talking anxiously and I overheard about the attack in Paris and the official was closing the border. The bus was going to attempt to go through anyway, as the majority of passenger on board hold French passport. That means no luck for me. Luckily, the bus was parked in front of Utrecht central station. We got off the bus and tried to catch the last train. It was 12.38 midnight, we got on the last train to Amsterdam departing at 12.40. We stayed over at a friend's place that night, I decided to quickly come up with a plan to go to Dusseldorf, Germany. And here is how the weekend goes..

Ordered repetitive windows.

Ordered repetitive windows.

Organized chaos of instagram pictures with #dusseldorf.

Organized chaos of instagram pictures with #dusseldorf.

Scattered posters and writings.

Scattered posters and writings.

 

Hafen Dock

The dock is a prominent area of the city where Rhine river bends and creates delta. This is also where the city established new development, where contemporary architecture has its place and proliferates. Dusseldorf's Aldsadt (old city) is just right up north of the delta and substantially small, that's why I will not expose much about it and instead put my interest towards the new development.

The Old Town has an area of half a square kilometer (which is less than a quarter of a percent of the whole city) and has 2297 inhabitants (2000), less than half a percent of the population of Düsseldorf.
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altstadt_(D%C3%BCsseldorf)
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The Düssel is a small right tributary of the River Rhine in North Rhine Westphalia, Germany. Its source is between Wülfrath and Velbert. It flows westward through the Neander Valley where the fossils of the first Neanderthal man were found in 1856. At Düsseldorf it forms a river delta by splitting into four streams (Nördliche Düssel, Südliche Düssel, Kittelbach, Brückerbach), which all join the Rhine after a few kilometers.

Düsseldorf takes its name from the Düssel: Düsseldorf means “the village of Düssel”. The name Düssel itself probably dates back to the Germanic thusila and means “roar” (Old High German doson).
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%BCssel
Architecture playground

Architecture playground

 

In Orbit by Tomas Saraceno

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K21 Museum was the first destination we checked once arrived in Dusseldorf. We went directly to see this awesome installation which was supposed to end a year before but got extended until the end of 2015.  The Argentinian artist's installation features layers of net stuffed with giant balloons suspended 40 meters above the ground. It offers a  totally immersive unconventional spatial experience, beyond belief, beyond expectation! 

Looking up from the lobby of K21

Looking up from the lobby of K21

Study model, notice the sphere as key element to generate the space in between layers of net.

Study model, notice the sphere as key element to generate the space in between layers of net.

This model reminds me of typical Maya generated project with fluid continuous surfaces.

The layers of net allows a unique creation of space. Difference between levels are gradual and indistinctive, allowing people to fluidly move from one level to another. Floor, or the surface you step on becomes more of a field of landscape that goes up and down

Once I stepped in, it feels unusual to step on an unstable surface. We are used to step on the firm stable ground, here, you have to constantly balance yourself as other people moves, the momentum would transfer through the nets and you would need to react to counter balance. 

When you try to balance yourself, you look down, you realize you're 40 meters up in the air.

When you try to balance yourself, you look down, you realize you're 40 meters up in the air.

 

K21 has a great Tomas Saraceno collection, here is another one, this one involves spider webs. This time he explores the notion of controlled nature, where human put certain boundaries and condition the spiders to populate the space organically but in accordance to a certain parameter established before. 

Curated growth of spider webs.

Curated growth of spider webs.

 

A Long Day by Chiharu Shiota 

I must admit this is yet another amazing installation that blows me away here in the same museum. Shiota's work is spatially interesting as it involves manipulation of everyday objects in such a delicate way. My first impression is somehow reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. Why? Because it looks like it comes from the Wonderland, magically surreal. 

A set of desk and chair with sheets of paper sort of blown up and floats away and spread out inside the room, Shiota used black thread to capture the moment, the dynamic, the sense of movement of objects. Even though the thread looks random, it does add another level of depth of space and directionality, it shows relationship between objects, it informs where each object is going to move or from, and it creates a field of vector traces that forms so-called pseudo space. The installation ultimately offers the experience of understanding the presence of defined space without defining the space. Beyond, it explore the possibility to freeze a dynamic moment and a notion to defy the nature of gravitational force. 

Glorified object inside the field of thread. It is actually hanging on the space through the crisscrossing thread. No additional support.

Glorified object inside the field of thread. It is actually hanging on the space through the crisscrossing thread. No additional support.

Similar approach is being studied in capturing an object in the air. Stunning work!

 

The Stadttor by Overdiek, Petzinka & Partner

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I discovered this building by chance when I was roaming around the south dock. At a glance, it looks humongous, however, the technical aspect of the facade is amazing. First of all, its approximately 60 meter-tall spider fitted glass facade. Second of all, of course spider fitted means no mullion on each window frames. Worth to notify is the gigantic truss structure behind the facade to support mainly the building but also the glass facade. Glass panels are laminated and fitted with silicone sealant to each other and leveled by the spider fitting. Sure enough you can tell the amount of  effort to engineer the detail and to assembly within certain range of precision tolerance.  

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What the facade actually does is to have double skin assembly which the outer layer performs as weather / water barrier while the inside provides temperature insulation. This strategy allows the building to reduce the amount of energy needed to operate since it only conditions air within the insulated inner facade, reducing the need to condition significant amount of air in the atrium. 

 

Roggendorf Haus by Rosalie, Norbert Winkels with Flossis, artwork by Rosalie, Stuttgart

Bright colored plastic sculptures climb the facade.

Bright colored plastic sculptures climb the facade.

Climber Toy  Available in Amazon

Climber Toy Available in Amazon

That reminds me of the climber toy I used to got from McDonald when I was 7 years old. Not sure how I feel on having it oversized and climbing 5 stories building. It's pretty interesting to see this strategy of integrating art installation on the facade as an architecture decision in order to leave the existing facade as is. In terms of its response to the context, it sets apart its architecture approach from the other building around. I guess it does its job.

Wil Alsop's not-so secret architecture sauce, massive cantilever!

Wil Alsop's not-so secret architecture sauce, massive cantilever!

Inspiration of Zaha's Port House? Or inspired by?

Inspiration of Zaha's Port House? Or inspired by?

Colorium by WIll Alsop

Colorium by WIll Alsop

Super Miesian building with a twist. Interesting double skin facade with external shade (between outer layer and inner layer).

Super Miesian building with a twist. Interesting double skin facade with external shade (between outer layer and inner layer).

 

Der Neue Zolhoff, Frank Gehry

The starchitect's project might be not as famous as it should be, however, it does embody Gehry's mastery on material use and fabrication method. The three buildings are office towers featuring different facade materials. The north building is finished with white plaster, taking advantage of the material finishes, the building shape is more curvilinear, with soft swooping angle with less pointy edges. The center building is clad with Gehry's signature metal panel, the building shape features soft fold as in fabric or paper. The third, south building, has brick facades, the building shape is more choppy and with more aggressive angular edges. Gehry produces the building's shapes based on the pre-determined material and its limitation. 

Windows dance on plaster

Windows dance on plaster

Windows dance on metal panel

Windows dance on metal panel

Windows dance on brick

Windows dance on brick

The building seems to distance itself from its surrounding context, typical Gehry building. However, I feel it is necessary to acknowledge his determination on pushing forward the potential of different material. His genius also appears on the use of typical window system throughout the three buildings. The system allows the window to be placed in whichever angle possible relative to the facade as it has several elements with adjustable properties to allow such flexibility. 

Similar window system on all building. 

Similar window system on all building. 

Notice the 'fin' on one side of the window to allow flexibility to slide in and out relative to its facade surface.

Notice the 'fin' on one side of the window to allow flexibility to slide in and out relative to its facade surface.

 

Ko-Bogen by Daniel Liebeskind

Yes this is another Liebeskind building with criss-crossing lines that slices the building. I was not quite impressed with this building. However, it is necessary to notice that this is a commercial project where every square footage need to be sell-able. Still, the pattern shift on the facade is quite weak to justify; and the deeper slice with fancy planter box? I hope it could serve at least as circulation or balcony. Oh well, it is hard to justify every architecture gesture especially in commercial project. I have to admit that Daniel Liebeskind is really good at conceptual thinking and his approach is best applied towards cultural projects or project that requires deeper thoughtful interpretation. 

Liebeskind's building and its context.

Liebeskind's building and its context.

 

NRW Forum

To end our trip, we went to NRW Forum right up north the Aldstadt. They really have awesome contemporary art collection there. In addition, do check the glass collection! Unfortunately I don't have much documentation on that as both my phone and camera battery ran out. 

Void and grand stairs on NRW Forum.

Void and grand stairs on NRW Forum.

 

Note:

We accidentally extended our Dusseldorf trip for another night. We missed our train back to Amsterdam by 5 minutes after waiting for 2 hours in the train station. We were initially trying to catch the earlier train back. However, the earlier train got delayed for 2 hours, which makes it not so different from our initial train schedule. We spent the time in a bookstore reading almost all English magazines available. We were aware of the schedule of our train back, we went to the platform to found out that our train back was delayed for 10 minutes. As the weather was a bit windy, we went back down to wait. As we chatted, time went by. We missed the train by a mere 5 minutes.

Oh dear...