Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Since Sunday

Since Sunday I have been given a studio project, cooked Alfredo Pasta for 4, heard stories about how Mies was fired as Dean of IIT, and gotten stuck in an elevator for an hour or so.

Studio Project for the Semester:
The Les Halles project is going to be my full semester project. Using the programme that was issued and used by the 4 firms that competed in the closed design competition last year. The Project wont be totally comprehensive, but as resolved as time will allow, but including landscaping.
At issue is the current dilapidated state and homeless element that is indicative of the park/metro/shopping Les Halles area, in particular the pavilion and below-ground mall. It has once again become the belly of Paris. Another concern is that maybe the site no longer counts as an arrival hub for Paris.

Sunday night all the students went over to Prof. Roesch's apartment for dinner, salad Nicoise. We Got to hear stories about What Mies was like as a teacher and a boss as Prof. Roesch had the honor of working under him in both capacities. Nice diggs for IIT Professors here. I want to graduate and take over the IIT in Paris Program.

I have been cooking dinner for myself and three other student and in exchange they pay for the groceries. I actually am enjoying cooking again and am considering dropping out of architecture school to find a job on a french kitchen brigade. YEAH RIGHT! So Monday night I cooked Alfredo pasta for everyone and it turned out good. We all decided to go for a walk up to the big church (sacré coeur) on the hill you can see from our kitchen. Along the way we bought a bottle of pear wine and just walked and sipped from tthebottle. I'm not sure if this is o.k., but we've seen several people doing it. Hell I almost got hit with a golf by the three knuckleheads that were playing golf. Anyways on the way back home we stopped in the studio to use the bathroom. Myself and another we in the elevator will the other two took the stair. As the elevator (which says it hold 4 people and is only 2'x3') starts to go down I was shifting my self and bumped up against the wall. Guess what! Don't move in Otis Elevators in Paris. . . They stop between floors. And there is no trap door in the ceiling. And, there is no latch on the inside to open the outside door. 1 hour latter a smiling repair man shows-up to UNLOCK the door and pulls us up and out.

We have started to book trips. A day drink in Munich for Oktoberfest over night train to Leipzig Where Prof. Roesch was born and lived until the Russians occupied it at the end of the war, spend a night there, morning train to Hamburg and a nigh there then morning train to Copenhagen and hopefully meet some guys formerly know as PLOT. That's it for now.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Only one observation

I never really considered the importance of sound in defining a space, indoor or out. This morning I had an experience that made me think about it. When you close your eyes, there is a process that takes place in your brain of calculating the micro-seconds of reverberation you hear and using that calculation to imagine the size of a space. That calculation also takes into account what direction that sound comes from, and as finite as it is, your brain does distinguish between the same sound reverbing back from a wall 10' away, 100' away, a flat surface or a curved surface. How we see space vs. hear space can be very telling in how we precieve our surroundings. When space creates an emotional reaction, part of the reaction is how we precieve the enormity or shallowness of that space. The astonishing thing is when you are in a space and what you hear and what you see are two different things. I understand now why certain places have a power to envoke emotion that you cant understand or comprehend until you are there.

This morning I got up and went to mass, for the first time in many years, at Notre Dame.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

3 observations a day

Well it's Saturday morning. Slept in a bit today, got up at 7am instead of 6. Starting to get a feel for things finally. Gotten over my fear of trying to converse with all 7 of the French words I can use skillfully. Three new things: 1. If you've never heard the sound of pigeons walking on a tin roof...you should, it's kind of funny. 2. Last night I went back to studioto print out some book pages scan relevent to our weekend charrette (More on that latter), as I was returning I hear some yelling "QUATRE!" and hear a tink-tink-tink, looking up just in time to see a golf ball go bouncing past me. Three guys with pitching wedges and each with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Apparently they were practicing their chip shots on their blocked-off street which was being repaired and nothing but sand. 3. I love the street sweepers brooms. They are made of green platci bristles that are molded to look like hay.
So, yesterday we went down to the Les Halles area and went to the old market site, which is now an underground mall and above ground park for tourists and the homeless. Apparently last year four firms presented designs for possible redevelopment and Rem Koolhaas was the winner and some say it was strictly political. Prof Roesch dislikes, and we all agree I think, the proposal, and thinks something better can be done. So over the weekend he wants us to spend time in the neighborhood, critic the four proposals and each of us come up with a new design for better use of the site. AND WE'RE OFF!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

First day of class. woke up at 7am and went for walk around. Saw Pompidou, Notre Dame, and had Croq Msr. for lunch at one of thousands of brasserie. We kept seeing people walking around with cut wood in various dimensions. Dont knoow if it was "National Walk With Wood Day" or that's just what people do. I am going to start documenting all of the dog shit I see. Maybe the Parisiens will be embarresed and start picking it up. Some lady was on the metro train playing the accodian, it was a cool ambiance, but I didnt give her any change when she walked around with her cup.

We went out for a bit and found the 5th bar over on rue de Mouffetard at the suggestion of a friend (Bill if you are reading this) and gave the bartender a white sox baseball hat. He gave us free shots and a beer. Then we got panini's from a little shop and made our way back home. I have some pictures of the surrounding area of our apartment. Does anyone have an answer as to why all I can get on google is .fr, I cant get any english search engines over here.

Those of you that have emailed me to wish me a safe journey...THANK YOU! If any of you wish to send care packages, mixed-tape C.D.'s or just a note saying 'Hi!' let me know and I will get you the proper mailing address where such things will reach me. Also Mr. Clark you have an option on the posting page to select to post as anonymous. If I am incorrect about this please let me know.
Tomorrow is the first day of studio, and I am almost ccertain we will be doing something along the lines of city research, planning and design.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I have arrived in Paris safly. The apartment we are in is great, I will post pictures later tonight or tomorrow. We are on teh 7th floor and can her hear faint bablings from the surrounding apt's, this feels like a people city. Walking from the Nord train station to the apt was major hassel due to construction everywhere. Now I'm off with the group to go walk around and get some food and a beer.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

T -10 days

I leave for Paris in 10 days. I think it is starting to sink in. A semester in Europe studying architecture.