Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter. I know I did. Which says a great deal, because I usually feast at the Clark's house. Nichole makes some kind of great lamb or pork dish that we have discussed, in detail, for at least a month prior. Even though I really was not  a part of the cooking process, the Danes did not let me down. The list of attendees went as follows-
Greta (my roommate)
Ripley and Beth (Greta's parents from St. Louis. As a side note, her dad designed the new Indy airport)
Inger (Jesper's mom)
Nina and Jesper (my host parents)
Karin and Alex (the much loved neighbors)
Caroline and Casper (Jesper's kids from a previous marriage)
Sophia (Nina's daughter from a previous marriage)
Henrick (Jesper's little brother)
and of course, Asta (Jesper and Nina's daughter)

Easter started a couple of weeks ago when a "secret" friend dropped off this adorable card for me with a poem inside. Each of the little circles represents a letter of the giver's name. I only have so many friends in Denmark so it was simple to narrow down. I could not have been more happy opening this card. All hand-made I might add.

I attempted to Google translate the poem from Karin's, let's just say 'script-like' handwriting. I ended up getting something about adultery and death. Figuring this wasn't the proper translation, I took it to Nina whom struggled as well. It turned out to be a poem about spring and gratitude. Much better.
So if you guess the giver of the card you get a lovely Easter present. Mine was an amazing box of chocolate.

On to dinner.
Sophia helping Asta with her present from Inger.
Asta being cute in her new sweatshirt.
Inger attempting to prep the deviled eggs with Asta around. Not easy.
The Danish flag is sticking out of the glutenfri (gluten free) liverpaste with mushrooms; there is also the deviled eggs with fresh sprouts, pickled beets, and ginger-candied pumpkin. All delicious.
Henrick and Casper's stylish socks. I didn't tell them how excited I was about all the great men's socks in this town. Thought it might make me sound funny. I still think it might.

Karin keeping Ripley entertained.
Asta eating curried herring.
Another round? Why, don't mind if I do! I was on my third little cup of Schnapps when I thought it best to pace myself. I asked Karin, in an effort to judge how I was doing, how many she had had. She responded with 6 or 8, who knows! Skål!
This is the Danish version of Happy Birthday. So much cooler than ours. I love the harmony they reach about half way through. They were singing it for Greta, as she turned 21 on the 3rd. I have to admit that the Danes do a great job at making events special.
Casper, Caroline, Asta, Karin, and Alex (he finally got a chance to talk).

So the full dinner menu included: curried herring, white herring, herring filets, deviled eggs, pork roast, pork loin in a mushroom sauce, bread, liverpaste, more bread, cheese board, more bread. We also had three bottles of Schnapps. If you ask me nicely, I will sing you a Schnapps song when I get home;)

After dinner Sophia took us out for a spin in the convertible Volvo. She has been house-sitting for a friend's parents and has had a Volvo and a penthouse for two weeks. We talked many times about how hard it was going to be going back to her bike and small apartment.
(we are at a red light) Sophia was an incredibly safe driver. Especially considering how fast this car could really go.
Arne Jacobsen gas station along the coast highway.
Keep an eye on those Swedes. Always up to something.
We went by the penthouse to check on the little dogs! Oh how I love little dogs. These two were extremely entertaining as they chased squeeky balls around.
A little treat after their walk. I need two dogs.
We dropped by the gas station on the way back to the house. I have been meaning to get a good picture of this sign for a while. Easily entertained.
Sophia's giant Gucci sunglasses.
Caroline, Sophia, and Greta

It was a really nice holiday. We decided while drinking coffee after dinner that we needed to have game night. So next Sunday the kids are coming back over for a cross-cultural game night. I think I am going to teach them spoons and gin rummy. No Scrabble though.


8tallet Ørestad Denmark

This site visit was for my Urban Design Journal class (I will be spending a good deal of my two week break finishing homework from this class. Like the site plan, section, elevation for this site, etc.).
This is 8tallet in Ørestad. Ørestad is just south of the city in between town and the airport. Clearly from the picture, this site is largely undeveloped for now. That will be short lived.
Like Portland, Copenhagen has started the practice of planned development; you throw a light rail line in, start establishing some infrastructure, and then develop around it. This form of development has some pluses and minuses.
On the up side, development is planned and not just haphazard. This makes it easy to protect wildlife areas, control zoning, create efficient mass transit, bring employment to an area, and make sure there is space for living, working, and playing. A good master plan will establish boundaries and help architects and developers to be respectful of the site and the people/buildings that interact with that space.
One the down side, there are usually many developers and starcitects that like to showcase what they can do. This creates a glammy kind of area that is usually way out of scale with its inhabitants. The master plan is usually not thorough enough and doesn't always do the job that it was supposed to do. Then, of course, there is the sometimes unfounded belief that if you build it they will come. Lastly, as Jan Gehl points out in an article about Ørestad for the N.Y.Times, places like this lack history and don't really fit in with the scheme of the city.
Enough talk. Let's look at pictures.
This is a nursing home they are putting in between the train stop and 8tallet. Here you can see the side walk, nice sized bike lane, and the street. This photo has more contrast between the greys than I remember. I think this is another example of the unsafeness of Copenhagen.

This would be that kind of glam-like architecture I was speaking of. Very Doctor Suess.

Ample bike parking. My professor often pontificates on the subject of the "4 second facade". I believe he picked this up from working for Jan Gehl. The idea is that as people are walking they want to see something new about every four seconds. The medieval city facade are a good example as is the interior of a mall. The exterior of 8tallet is not a great example of this.

The layout of the building.

Covered entry into the more private space of the 8tallet courtyard.

Smaller of the two main courtyards.
I don't know if the Danes are so fascinated with mounds because their country is pretty flat, but they are in EVERY new urban space. I am reserving judgement for the time being.

Second and larger courtyard.

This is one flaw of ground floor living. Great for voyeurs!

Sara offers some scale for the site.

Green roof. Far more interesting than asphalt.

Off in the distance are some farm lands. In the foreground is red workout equipment. Of course, I went and played on it, and I only got hurt once!

A view back at the building from the outdoor workout area.

The outside, top edge of the building has a staircase with side entry points to certain units. Too many steps for this gal. It should be noted that most of these units were empty.

Nice semi-private courtyard.

Yet another mound with new apartments in the background.
The wide streets are great, but there is little relief from the blasting wind.

8tallet did have a nice cafe and grocery.

Blurry but bright mailboxes.

That is all I have for 8tallet. You can also read the article in the N.Y. Times if you search Ørestad.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

BO01 in Malmo Sweden

I didn't think I had much to write about until I started looking through my photos. I then realized how far behind I was in the telling of my experience here. 

This is my experience of BO01. A community built in Malmo, Sweden which lies just across the way from Copenhagen. Side note, the Danes and Swedes have a funny relationship. They like to make fun of each other, playfully of course, and talk about how the Swedes stole Danish land some 400 years ago. And people say I have a hard time letting things go.
This is the half-above ground, half-below the sea bridge.
Swedish Spring.
This the Turning Torso building by the Spanish "star-chitect" Santiago Calatrava. It has become the trend to create a landmark in a soon-to-be developed place in order to put said place on people's mental map. The Turning Torso office building was put up, and then the residential development followed.

Of course the friendly cats of BO01 put this place on me and Loren's mental maps.

About 20 different architects were given the opportunity to build here. This creates a diverse array of housing; some more successful than others.

This photo highlights a few things. First, notice the edging on the path. It is dark in color and high contrast. The dark paved edge is also a different texture and is absent in front of entry ways. This is very helpful for people with disabilities, as well as people like myself that tend to be looking at everything else besides where I am going.
This path also leads to a courtyard, with a small path at the far end leading to another portion of the neighborhood. BO01 was not built on a grid. They instead used a medieval style street structure. This allows for lots of courtyard spaces, visual interest, and it stops the 40 mph winds from whipping through the streets.
I think the flaw in this space is that there are a lot of hard edges, and little transition from public to private space.

Again, lots of things to point out in this photo. First off, the path narrows as you get closer to the end- that is not just perspective. There is tons of storm water management on site. These swales also have small bubblers in them which make for a great sound effect as you pass. Also notice the building height differences. Most are in a very human scale while others help to meet the density requirements.

This space, while dark and narrow, is very cool. You wind through these paths and see this bright light at the end with a fantastic view of the ocean. Well framed.

The boardwalk is wide with mixed use offering cafes, shops, and housing.

Green house and cafe space. We all agreed we would like a cup of coffee in there.

There was also a small pub on site. Smart cookies!

Diverse nature scaping and respect for sunny edges makes this place pretty great as well.

A little infrastructure for good measure. I think the low, round metal thing is actually an air vent for the underground parking which runs under most of the complex, and keeps it quite pedestrian and bike friendly.

This is one of the few streets that allows for cars. Because there is little separation between pedestrian and automobile, drivers tend to slow way down. This idea is used on a few streets in Copenhagen. A couple of streets are for cars, bikes, and pedestrians, and there are no real lines for any one mode of transport. It works though. Cars slow down and pedestrians look around. Just for the record, I am standing on the pedestrian side.

This is a fine example of two different edges. Both serve to create a transition from public to private, but do it in two distinct ways.

The southern edge of BO01. It was a pretty cold day and people were still soaking up the vitamin D. Again, notice the wide boardwalk, stairs for water/people watching, and cafe space. Good work Sweden.

Private courtyard on the way out of BO01. If the bus hadn't have been leaving, I would have snuck in for sure!

I am not sure where this photo fits into the whole thing but I really dig it.

The general consensus among students was that BO01 was pretty great. After talking with a few residents, I think they agreed. Lots to learn from it.