Monday, September 23, 2013

Grand ol' Paris

Troyes truly was a pit stop on our way to Paris. We packed up the bus on Saturday and piled inside, with our wheels pointed to Poissey and the most famous building that modern architecture has seen.

Villa Savoye!

Villa Savoye was designed by Le Corbusier as a single family house. He used the "5 points of modern architecture" while designing this house. And while the house might not be the best, it is the greatest example of those tenants of architecture. It starts with the "pilotis" (#1), or columns, that the building is supported on. Because they carry the load of the structure, it paves the way for the other tenants of architecture. Without need for load bearing walls, all of the walls can be arranged in any way, creating a very free floor plan (#2). Also because there were no load bearing walls, you could have long ribbon windows (#3) and a very free, unencumbered facade (#4). #5 is the addition of a roof garden, to give back to the land the green space you took away by building.


It's a great idea and all, but man have they let this house go into disrepair. It's kind of dirty and cramped. I can completely understand why the Savoye family only lived here for 5 years, it's not a very family oriented house. But this is ARCHTIECTURE, people! Who cares about the people as long as the building is perfect?!

Steep ramps and a rather grimy master bath. They clean up the building for the professional photos we see in class, but it's pretty dingey in person

The view from the rooftop garden!

We spent nearly four hours there, with trips to the grocery store for lunch. I bought a baguette for 35 cents. Gotta love France.

At 3,we hopped in the bus and drove to Paris! Our hotel room is very small and there isn't much room. It's making me feel a little claustrophobic. But Hanna, Rebecca and I hit the streets and walked around. We had dinner at a very nice Italian place, and the owner gave us a lesson in rudimentary French. We then hit the pyramids of the Lourve right at sunset, which was absolutely glorious. No Eiffel tower that night, but there will be many more nights for that.


Then we hit up a bar where you order your drink by drawing a picture on a white board and they serve you your drinks in baby bottles. Good times in Paris!


What I need to remember about Sundays in Europe is that everything essentially stops. Stores aren't open (especially grocery stores), people don't come out until the afternoons, and usually the weather is grey. At least, it has been in my experience. So on this Sunday, we left the hotel at 10 to walk around Paris and eventually get to the New National Library.

Notre Dame!

I really don't enjoy the days when we walk around. I prefer to have a purpose with our outings- we're going to THIS building at THIS time and we're spending two hours there and go draw EVERYTHING. I hate days when we just get from point A to point B in the longest way possible, stopping to point at apartment buildings along the way. Also my knees appreciate not walking. I think, if I am not mistaken, we walked around 11 miles on Sunday.

But we did visit a few interesting projects. Our first pit stop was at the Arab Institute, designed by Jean Nouvelle. The street side of the building was normal glass construction, but the southern facade was made entirely of different sized apertures (as in camera apertures). They open and close depending on the amount of light that is hitting the facade, regulating the sun that gets into the building. And it was beautiful, to boot. Arabic culture (and the Islamic religion) don't depict man or animal in their art, so their pieces are full of beautiful geometric patterns. The southern facade of the building really speaks to that part of their culture.

Zaha Hadid did a very white and curvy pavillion in the plaza of the Institute. None of us could really figure out why.


We made our way ALL DOWN THE RIVER to the New National Library. It's a very large plaza with four high rise towers in the corners, with the books on underground levels. It was an interesting take on the idea that book should sleep in the dark- literally, the books are below the earth. I didn't like the project very much, it seemed like a lot of open space that people may not necessarily be using. But it was grey outside, so maybe on a sunny day more people would be there.

Big towers, lots of stairs

There was a really cool tree garden in the middle of the plaza

And a really cool bridge

We then took a train to the complete opposite side of Paris to the Grand Arch. Heiner left us there for the day with plans to meet up for a group dinner, and we bipped and bopped around there. There was "the world's most beautiful McDonald's" and a nice mall, so we did some shopping and looking. No one bought anything though.

The Grand Arch is on axis with the Arc du' Triomphe. The tent structure is to reduce the wind tunnel effect and protect from falling icicles.

I'm hoping to visit the Eiffel tower and the Lourve here soon! But don't hate on me if the Lourve doesn't happen, tickets are 12 euro each and I could by 36 baguettes with that kind of money.

1 comment:

  1. Two things - there's a free day to visit the louvre; and the catacombs are freakishly interesting (and cheap). Enjoy! Oh the pastries ...