Saturday, September 14, 2013

Build the Building Twice

Bregenz is a stunningly beautiful town. It's very small (as made evident by the fact that we rented another bus today to get around to the buildings, instead of taking public transit) and sits right at the feet of the Alps. Our day started out borderline miserable and rainy, but by noon the clouds broke and sun began to shine. Hooray!

Our first stops on Friday were both by Baumschlager & Eberle, whose firm we visited on Thursday. They were also both on the same site, a grassy area next to a small sailboat marina. The first building was a concrete cantilever structure with a single office inside of it. The building was tailored to the woman who works there- for example, the windows inside were set lower to be at her eye level when she sits at her desk.

And it's a beautiful wood office, to boot

But we had an interesting time trying to figure out how the building was made. Typically, a cantilever is only a third of the length of the span. So 2/3 are anchored, and 1/3 can be suspended. But this building seems to defy gravity, as most of it hangs unsupported. We deduced that the foundation underground acts as a counterbalance, keeping the building up.


Our guide from Thursday met us at the small office (with croissants for everyone!) and walked us across the grass to a party building in the harbor. For legal reasons, the building is classified as a boat house, but it's totally a party building. It's made of a glass exterior with a sponge-looking concrete structure behind. It was a wild building, and very cool to inspect and visit. I may include it in my research paper, I enjoyed very much how it met the ground and how it sat in the harbor alongside all the boats.

Patterned glass facade

and inner squiggly layer of concrete!

We all realized today that European Architects absolutely LOVE buffered facades. That is when you have a building, say made of steel or glass or wood, and you have a glass facade all around it. So like a glass box popped over your building like the lid of a cake stand. It's good for thermal reasons- the air space between the glass and the building can heat up very quickly, which can be used for heating in the winter. In the summer though, you usually have to vent all the hot air out.

A nice cozy glass building for your building!

But anyway, we visited like 5 million buildings with buffered facades today. We spent the afternoon bopping around on the bus, visiting hotels and schools and apartment buildings and more schools and an Islamic cemetery and really anywhere our giant bus would fit (which was, surprisingly, everywhere).

The B&E Hotel- the structure is visible through the windows, which was interesting.

Courtyard at a school for disabled children

An apartment building with sliding glass shutters and a community center that looked neat

Round buildings and screen printed buildings!

We pipped back to the Baumschlager & Eberle building for some better photos

Sky and Alps.

I thought the cemetery was beautiful. Burial in the Islamic faith seems to be different than in Christianity/Western Culture. Here, we place our dead in a box and bury them in the ground, placing a permanent marker atop the grave to mark where they lay. Forever. In the Islamic faith, they clean their deceased and wrap them in a white cotton shroud, and then bury them in the ground. No coffin, just the body. It's then covered with sand and dirt and marked with a simple marker, which will decay with time. It seems like the focus is on quickly rejoining the earth, becoming a part of the world again, instead of being stored in a box in the dark. I kind of like that better, rejoining the earth. It just seems nicer to me.

It's a new cemetery, so it's nearly empty. I've never been in an empty cemetery before.

After dinner, Lindsey, Rebecca, Hanna and I walked over to the shores of Lake Constance, where we found John and Ryan. We spent the evening watching the sky darken and skipping stones across the water. We talked about our trip, which location on the trip we'd like to get married (since both Lindsey and Rebecca are getting married soon), and other shenanigans. It was a nice calm way to end the day.

I started my day on Saturday bright and early, leaving with John, Gene, and Ryan at 6:30 to go climb
Pfänder mountain. The mountain is in the backyard of the city and has GREAT views of Bregenz and Lake Constance, and even back to Switzerland and Germany. It was a great hike- the lady at the desk of our hostel said it would take between 1-1.5 hours to do, but I got up in less than an hour. I actually ended up hiking most of it by myself, the boys were much faster than my poor knees could keep up with. But it was nice and relaxing and cool (the rain was misting, which kept me at a nice temperature), and I really enjoyed the quiet way my morning began.


I'm pretty sure the green hills are on the German side.

We caught back up at the top of the mountain by the gondola, and I took the gondola down while they ran down the mountain. Having bad knees means I sometime have to pay the 6,70 euros to save myself a trip down a mountain. But it wasn't too bad, I shared the cab with some very fit, very chatty old German men who had hiked up with me/behind me/passed me while hiking.

Taking the gondola down.

I ate enough to feed two Kittys at breakfast, and left around 10:15 with Hanna, Rebecca, and Ryan to walk over to the Kunsthaus, where the group was meeting at 11. We sketched by the lake for a while, then met up.

The ceiling was incredible- it curved AND was made of board formed concrete. You gotta wonder how builders were able to make the roof move like that

The building was designed by Peter Zumthor, who has done most of the projects we learn about in History of Architecture as baby second year Architecture students. We first took a gander at the cafe/library he designed for the museum, studying the structure. We established that the building was supported by T-shaped walls instead of columns. Then we moved on to the museum.

You can see the "T"s really well on the upper two floors.

The museum is a FANTASTIC building. Zumthor designed it in such a way that all three gallery floors (and the main floor) get abundant amounts of diffused natural light. The building has a buffered facade (NO WAY, RIGHT!?) of opaque glass laid out like shingles, which hides the main structure of the building. Three concrete support walls start in the basement and travel up through all the floors of the building, supporting the floor slabs and the rest of the building. It meant that every single floor plan looked the same though, which I didn't quite realize until I'd already drawn three of the five floors. Oh well.

Main floor. LOVE the reflections on the floor.

Killer stairs. Look at how the ceiling plane mimics the slope of the stairs

It's a really ethereal gallery space. The reflections are so killer, and the light from above makes the space feel so magical

We were able to get in between the two walls- the outer wall made of glass, and the inner wall. The outer wall here in this photo is concrete, but that's because we are in the basement.

Ryan made an incredible sketch, where he drew four views of the building on one page of his sketchbook. They overlapped beautifully and it just made me hate my sketchbook even more. UGH. I'm going to have to go book shopping. My big one is too big, my small one is too fat/not landscape/has thin paper/is the worst sketchbook ever for me.

The four of us grabbed lunch at the grocery store (cheese and bread and salami!) and were swiftly joined by a small family of bees. So we ate quickly, and went back to the museum to see an exhibit of Peter Zumthor's architectural models. It was so cool to see models for buildings I'm familiar with. I think I recognized five of the 40 models there, which just goes to show how much architecture is out there in the world!

Meat, bread, and cheese, and beer and cookies. NO PARENTS WOO.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds amazing! I agree with you about the cemetery thing- that sounds much nicer. Your hike photos are so gorgeous! And how funny about all the buffered facades. Sounds like a terrible idea to this desert dweller- keep the heat in?? WHAT? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! O.O ;)