home tomorrow.

My semester is quickly coming to a close and I'm heading home tomorrow!  It's a tiny bit bittersweet, but mostly I'm stoked to be able to see my family and spend time with friends.

Here's the day's schedule, in case you're interested:

6:00am - wake up!
7:15am - leave for Charles DeGaulle airport via RER B
10:20am - depart Paris
1:00pm - depart Dublin
... sleep :)
3:30pm (CST) - land in CHICAGO!
6:30pm (CST) - depart ORD
8:18pm (EST) - land in good old Grand Rapids!

If only it really took just 2 hours to fly across the Atlantic!

I'd appreciate prayers for clear skies, timely departures, smooth transitions and energy.  It's going to be a really long day, but the reward is great and I couldn't be more excited.


post finals.

My reviews are done and all things considered, I think they went pretty well.  I had to pull some pretty late nights, but looking back over the semester, regardless of the "grades" I will receive, everything has been worth it.  I feel like I've learned more than ever before, and I'm loving it.

Above is a photo of my final model.  It turned out pretty cool and actually had the effect I was going for!

I have lots more to post, but I'll worry about that when I get back to the states next week.


lyon & la tourette

This week has been intense.  My final review for studio is on Monday, and we've only been working on this project for 4 weeks.  For those of you that know architecture, you know it's not a lot of time.  Especially when you have other classes, and you're in Europe.  So unfortunately instead of finalizing my project in studio today (yep, still had class, even though it's Thanksgiving break!) I was told to rebuild it and redesign.  And although this makes me extremely unhappy - 5 days until the review and I haven't even drawn a full plan or section - I'm extremely excited that I'm going home in 20 days.  And in 10 days I'll be done with school work.  Hopefully then I'll be able to enjoy Paris for my last few days, instead of being stuck in studio.

Anyway, on a happier note, I took an awesome short weekend trip!  My roommate and I took the train down to Lyon, France.  Our main objective was to visit Le Corbusier's La Tourette, a monastery from the 1960's.  So we spent one night in Lyon, visiting the building and exploring the city.  It was really fun and so nice just to have a couple of days to relax and sleep a little bit - and gear up for impending doom, aka finals.

There was some sort of social movement or strike happening in Lyon so (of course) the train we wanted wasn't running.  So we had a couple of hours to kill before heading out to La Tourette.  We took the funicular  up to the Roman Theaters.  So cool.

There's also a beautiful basilica up on the hill over looking the city.

Finally, we made it out to La Tourette.  And were able to jump in on the tour, 30 minutes in.  It was in French and I was feeling lazy, so I mostly just took photos.  But, I've been waiting the last 3 1/2 years to see this right here, and it was amazing.

The next day we slept in then explored Lyon.  It's a really cute city and even though it's France's third largest city (after Paris and Marsaille) it seems like such a small town.  Everyone we met was so nice and extremely helpful and caring.  It was wonderful.   

Our train didn't leave until 7:00pm so we were able to enjoy the city at night.  Some people say that Lyon is the true "City of Lights" not Paris.  It was definitely a beautiful sight!


utrecht, amsterdam & rotterdam.

Bonjour!  It's a brisk 2 degrees Celsius here in Paris this morning.  I'm in studio, enjoying a cafe creme, ready to build a site model.  I'm going home in exactly 28 days, but right now, I wanted to share a bit about my trip this past weekend.

I was really excited because I got to go to Holland this weekend!  The real Holland, not the city in Michigan :)  I visited a lot of great Dutch Architecture and my friend Sandra.  Sandra and I worked together on Support Staff at Geneva in the Summer of 2010.  It was such a fun weekend and I'm sooo glad I got to go.

My first stop was Utrecht.  I took a tour of this house: Rietveld's Schroder House.  It's one that we've always talked about in school and I was so excited to see it.  And I wasn't disappointed.  The house is beautiful and pretty ingenious.  The only thing that would have made it better was if I could have sat on the furniture.  A real Red and Blue chair right before my eyes!  Oh and I couldn't take photos indside either :(

I stayed with Sandra and her family in Wilnis, a 30 minute drive from the center of Amsterdam.  On Saturday night Sandra asked me where I wanted to go the next day.  She said we could go anywhere.  So of course, I chose Rotterdam!

I got to see this building, the Kunsthal.  Designed my Rem Koolhaas in 1992, it's awesome.  I learned so much and had a great time exploring with Sandra!

Near by is the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) which we checked out next.  It was a really cool place with a ton of great exhibits on Dutch architecture.  So cool!

It was crazy foggy all day Sunday, which was a bummer because Rotterdam has the largest ports in the world!  But despite the cold and the fog, we enjoyed a nice lunch inside and saw this beautiful bridge.

Monday, I explored Amsterdam.  I went on a free walking tour and learned a lot about the city and got to see a ton too.  It was great.  Especially because I didn't have a ton of time to explore on my own, or a really good map.  And due to my lack of navigational skills, that held me back a bit.

The city was beautiful and definitely somewhere I'd like to visit again.  It was a little overwhelming at first, but the it's such a unique city and I really loved it.


catching up.

I've been back in Paris for a week now since Spain.  Honestly, it's been a bit rough.  Rainy weather and getting colder.  The hardest part is there's not as much fun stuff to look forward to.  All of our big trips are done and all I can see in the near future is a bunch of school work.  Especially as Thanksgiving is approaching I really wish I could spend it with my family!

But there have been some really great things this past week!  On Saturday we went to Le Corbusier's studio and apartment in Paris.  It was an awesome space and was definitely cool to see.

On Saturday night, I skyped with my friends from back home.  Fortunately for me, they were all hanging out, "doing homework."  So of course I bothered them.  It was really fun and made me even more excited to be back in Chicago next semester.

My friend Peter also came to visit this past weekend!  He's going to grad school in Germany and had never visited Paris.  So I got to show him around.  It was really fun and despite the cold air and wind, it finally feels like fall in Paris! Walking through leaves makes me so happy!

This morning we headed out to Raincy, a Paris suburb, to check out a really amazing church by architect August Perret.  It was pretty amazing and one of my favorite churches I've been to here in Paris I think.  And although I didn't bring my camera, I was lucky enough to have one of my classmates lend me his :)

Oh, and I got a package from my grandma - candy corn and pumpkin cookies!  Plus, new socks from my mom.  So good!




Oh my goodness, what a crazy couple of days.  We arrived in Segovia (about a 30 minute high-speed train ride from Madrid) to a train station surrounded my cows in the pasture.  We made it to the IE University, an old Monastery transformed into college campus, for a design charette.  One of the professors who used to teach at IIT is now the head of the architecture department at IE so he organized a whole workshop for us.

It started off pretty cool, with demonstrations of esgrafiado, a spanish facade technique from lime.  Then we were sent off into the city of Segovia to find examples.  Would have been fun, except once again it was raining.

Yesterday we spent the entire day working on our projects.  Trying to get a ton of work done in a very limited amount of time.   Very limited.  It was frustrating to be stuck inside a (freezing cold) studio the whole day instead of exploring Segovia.

Finally, early this afternoon, we finished the charette.  We were free.  So I went exploring.  I was going to see Segovia or die trying.  It was a beautiful day and actually pretty warm!  I just wandered, making sure I hit up all the big sights, and enjoyed the city.  It was so nice to just sit on a bench in the park and relax.

Segovia is a crazy beautiful and fun little town and I would love to go back someday.  But for now, it's back to Paris, and then back to The States in 6 1/2 short weeks!