Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dessau or Depressau

I have now been living in Germany for a little over a month. First impressions of Germany, well my initial thoughts were really about what I could expect from the German people. I think we had all anticipated something, maybe that Germans were extremely focused and quick to make decisions, and really serious. Well, it really didn't take long to realize that this perception was pretty far from the truth. Quite a few of the Germans we met and have come to know are really a lot like us. They are very indecisive at times and are really laid back most of the time. This came as quite a shock to me since I had these other ideas in my head already. I think the biggest surprise of all would have to be that even though the wall fell 20 years ago, there still exists some invisible wall between what used to be East and West Germany. This is reflected in their architecture, their culture and the way they look at foreigners. I had assumed that the West, today, would be more tolerant towards immigrants and outsiders. Just because of the fact that it was not under the control of socialism. Come to find out after meeting some amazing people, it's quite the opposite. Though some of the people here are quite stern looking and might fit that "typical" German image, the majority are really caring, giving and open minded.

What can I say thus far.... Ich Liebe Deutschland

Monday, April 13, 2009


Our next stop was the small town of Vna. A town of roughly 70 people high in the Alps. Who would have thought such beautiful architecture could exist in such a remote place. The Swiss architect Christoph Lrosch designed a home/art gallery for an artist from Zurich. The all-concrete structure was inspiring. The detail work and craftsmanship was out of this world. I had never before been so excited. If this was just the first of what was to come, I knew I was in store for a trip of a lifetime and something that would stay with me forever.
After nearly a 5 hour drive through the Alps we had finally made it to our home for the next 9 days. The small town of Vigniogn was quite and just that, small. Located at the top of the town was a small Catholic Prepatory school. Due to the lack of students in attendance, we were able to use this school, which had rooms, beds, showers and a kitchen for all of us. It was quite perfect because of its central location to what we were to see in the upcoming days.

[During our stay in Switzerland there were quite a few issues regarding the students and faculty from RISD. Differences in culture, opinion, professionalism and focus seemed to cause a rift most of the time. Let’s just say, I am extremely happy to be attending Kansas State and know that I will be prepared to do what I have to do when I graduate.] I’ll leave it at that.


Elevation: 6200 ft

Davos is truly a ski town. Tourists everywhere. It was probably an average of around 20-25 Franks per meal. While in Davos we were able to visit Schatzalp, which was a Sanitarium that people would stay at in order to receive treatment for tuberculosis. The thin air and sun treatments would greatly improve their health. The sanitariums have been converted into luxury hotels visited by skiers and vacationers. In Davos is where 7 students from DIA, Dessau Institute of Architecture, met with us to join along for the remainder of the trip. During our first visits with the students, we obviously had a lot of questions about the program and about Dessau. They were happy to lend us some insight into what could be expected, most of which we probably did not want to hear. [More on that to

come soon]


The four of us took the train from Zurich to the city of Chur. There we finally met professor Daniel Wasser. A native Swiss architect and professor at the HTW. [A Swiss architecture school] Daniel was going to be our “tour guide” for the trip and would eventually become a great friend.

While in Chur we were able to visit the Roman Ruins by Peter Zumthor, which really is quite an amazing structure. Students from RISD, Rhode Island School of Design met us in Chur and we then began our trip to Davos, Switzerland.

Off to Europe. The flight to London was probably the best flight I have ever had in my life, and I have flown quite a bit. Now, most of my overseas flights have been military charter which may have had some influence, but nonetheless I was extremely happy.

Switzerland. After arriving in London we Cameron and I met up with Savannah and Josh in Luton to fly to Zurich, Switzerland. Once we were on the ground, we were slapped in the face by the impending language barrier after it took us nearly 15 minutes to explain to a taxi driver where our Hostel was located. Switzerland rapidly became one of, if not the most expensive place I have ever been. After spending 80 Swiss Franks on the cab ride which was equivalent to nearly 60 Dollars, we finally arrived at the Youth Hostel Zurich. The Hostel was extremely clean and the people were very nice. To make a long story short we were supposed to have transportation in the form of a rental car for us to se while in Switzerland but on the night of our arrival we were notified that the plans had changed and that we were to leave Zurich the very next day to head to the city of Chur to meet Prof. Daniel Wasser. During this “disaster” we were cheated out of 50 Swiss Franks for reserving an extra night. Really not a great start to our Swiss experience.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Switzerland - Germany

Finally .... there will be more to come... soon

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Time Goes By...

I've been on break from school now for almost 2 months now, and I sure am getting anxious to finally begin this journey abroad.  I haven't been too much into the whole "blog" thing but I guess it seems to be the easiest way for family and friends to keep up to date on what I'm doing while in Europe.  The five of us that are traveling to Dessau, Germany to study for 4 months are really looking forward to it.  It has been quite a confusing journey thus far, considering that no Kstate student has ever attended the program we are bound for.  This makes us the guinea pigs I guess.  Thats another reason for the blog, we hope to share, with other prospective students looking to study abroad, a chance to see what Dessau and the program are like.  

In the meantime, to keep myself sane, I have been working with a few classmates and professors on a Design + Build at Prof. Norheims residence here in Manhattan.  The project began during last summer [08] and is nearing completion.  It really is quite a feat considering the workforce consists of either newly graduated architecture students or current architecture students.  The whole process has really been a learning experience in building construction, design, materiality, client relations and "neighbor relation".  I think we may have pissed off the neighbors for, oh, about the last 3 months.  I really am proud to have been a part of this build.  It's good architecture.

Well I thought I would go ahead and get the first post outta the way and try to lend some insight as to what I have been doing recently.  I will try my best to keep the blog updated with photos from travels and projects, as well as weekly posts.  Anyone reading this, feel free to pass along the link to anyone whom you feel might be interested.  Thanks and hope you enjoy.