Sunday, October 23, 2011

project 3 : : visual ecologies : reframing the city

This is the project we presented on Wednesday. An analysis of our site through the medium of film. Our site is located at the exit of the Uffizi and the back of the Palazzo Vecchio. We were interested in how the site exists as a collection of "backsides" (the lack of frontality makes it very hard to give the site an identity). And we were also interested in analyzing the textures and rhythms of facades and thresholds within the site, which being extremely disjointed, further complicates the search for an identity.

Our analysis revolves around one main question : : Where is the "postcard moment" ???

Subjectively, we answer this question-- there isn't one. However, by using stop motion in a comparative analysis of our site to three commonly agreed upon "postcard moments" in Florence, we hope to arrive at the same answer objectively.

project 2 : : container + contained

(I decided to split up our 3 projects so far into different posts, that way it's not just one long one)
: : Project 2 : : container - contained
This next project proposed the theme of the contemporary exhibition space within the historic city. Essentially, in our same groups we were asked to analyze a chosen architectural object that contains itself objects. My partner and I were given the Prada store in Tokyo. Here's what it looks like : :

: : Here are some pages of our analysis : :

Architecture Update : : project 1 : city as museum

New post WOOT WOOT.

Unfortunately, this will not yet be about Barcelona. I promise I'll get to it soon! THIS POST is meant to show all my wonderful fans why the betsy I haven't had time to post pictures and upload my blog. So you all know I've been studying in Florence, and usually when students travel/study abroad, they take classes that are relatively easy or completely unrelated to their major. Welp, our architecture programmed followed us here so we're pretty much doing the same thing that we do back in Syracuse. But in Florence.

My bedtime is usually between 2:00-3:00 in the morning (I thought it'd be better over here but not thus far). Annnd I've pulled maybe 3 all-nighters in the past few weeks....

So far we've done 3 projects, the third of which (our mid-term) was due and presented today!

: : Project 1 : : urban analysis: city as museum
This first project was a 1 week charette where we were asked to analyze Florence as a city that contains many museums but also a city that, in many ways, performs as a museum in itself. Fascinating, no? Museums are not only used to help us understand historical terms but can be used as a tool to help us imagine ideas of and relationships between things that do not yet exist in material or social ways.

**WARNING** I will be writing this post in "architecture" linguo so I'm sorry if you haven't a clue what I'm saying

Anyways, my group decided to look at the city of Florence through the lens of it's market culture. Markets inundate the city and it's fascinating how not only do they take up space but they create new space within the urban fabric. Basically we looked at Florentine markets and how they operate as a) space makers, and b) space fillers. We then put together a presentation that was given to Madrid's CEU architecture students and faculty when we visited Spain a few weeks ago.

: : Here are some pages from our presentation : :

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The strength of my heart

I'm loooong overdue for a new post. To all my readers out there, I apologize for being the worst blogger in the world. Good news- I can only get better! :p It's just been so hard with all the traveling on weekends and late night/all-nighters (yes, all-nighters) during the weekdays.

I want to share a little on my recent experiences with the Lord. It's definitely been a struggle here spiritually, away from the church, away from my companions and family. When I say "struggle" I don't mean a rebelliousness or anything against the Lord, it's just been really hard to carve out time to spend with Him. 

I have traveled so much in this short month that I've been here, and every single day there is something new that moves me and awes me. I get so excited about every new thing that we see or discover, and it's been so eye-opening and, to a large extent, quite fulfilling....

But...what I'm realizing is how misleading that fulfillment can be. Traveling has brought me so much joy and I already feel so changed. I feel so blessed to have been provided this experience, and I feel so covered by the Lord and by prayers from back home. I think what the Lord has been bringing me through is that, as wonderful an experience as He wants me to have here in Europe, all the joys and excitements and gratifications I experience here (as healthy as they all may be) can still distract me from the REAL enjoyment, the REAL satisfaction, the REAL life supply: my Lord Jesus Christ. 

I've had days where experience upon experience has been so satisfying, and I feel like it will never get old standing under the towering Duomo, or sitting atop Piazza Michelangelo looking out over the city of Florence with the mountains softly fading into the distance, or walking along the Ponte Vecchio, observing all the little jewelry boxes of little gold shops opening up their gates to reveal the hidden treasures beyond their thresholds... But at the end of the day, the satisfaction starts to wean a little, and the surge of fulfillment and vitality that I had felt throughout the day begins to fade. Upon recognizing that growing emptiness within,  I repent, realizing that not once had turned to the Lord for my supply that day.

Well, this past week and a half, I've been trying something "new": morning revival. (Or a morning devotional).  Growing up in the church life that I did, I always knew it was something I should do, that it'd make a difference in my day and my spiritual life. was never quite implemented into daily life, as hard as I'd try---just not a morning person.

Anyways, I've been making a point to have morning revival (usually while I eat breakfast), and I've been spending a lot of time in the Psalms. This will probably sound horrible, but I've never been a huge fan of the Psalms. I always thought they were beautifully written and poetic, but in terms of a "supply", I always thought they were "too emotional" for me. And especially in times when I'm super emotional, I don't want to feed the flames even more. I tend to gravitate more towards Paul's epistles, especially those of high truths. Well anyway... for whatever reason, I've been in the Psalms, and let's just say they've been exactly what I've needed. The Lord has definitely been working on my heart in this aspect. So here are some verses that I read this morning that fit exactly what I've been feeling.

Psalm 73:21-26, 28
   21 When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
22 I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.

23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

28 But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cinque Terre

Just got back from Cinque Terre....Let's just say one of the best weekends yet.
Spectacular place. Spectacular food. Spectacular people. I couldn't have asked for a better trip.

Here's the group who went from left to right:
Me, Barbara, Jeff (grad student), Elvira (grad), Irini (grad), Hilary, Sally, and Mike.

We had SO much fun!!! We took a train early Friday morning to La Spezia, which was about a 3-hour ride. We all mostly passed out (from pulling an all-nighter the day before on a studio charette deadline). We bought our trail passes and hopped on a train to Riomaggiore (where we'd be staying in our hostel). We checked in and were taken up (and up and up) to our hostel which was at the top of an apartment cluster in the cliffs. Awesome view and the hostel room was really cute.

Crazy amounts of stairs going up
(this is just the last 3rd maybe)
Photo credit: Barbara Burke
View out of our hostel!
Photo Credit: Barbara Burke
We were only going to be in Cinque Terre for two days, so we planned our first day for the incredible hike along the coast from town to town until we reached the fifth and final one. AMAZING. It took us all day, but we made it without anyone getting hurt or fainting from heat exhaustion or falling off a cliff in the water below! We also did some gelato-hopping rewarding ourselves with incredible homemade gelato after completing particularly difficult parts of the trek. 

The VIEWS along the hike were PHENOMENAL. I couldn't believe I was actually seeing these in real life. Here are some shots during our hike. The towns were beautiful and so colorful! I loved it!

Me! with Riomaggiore in the background :)
View from Town #2, Manarola down the coastal line
View of Corniglia after passing through
View of Corniglia (Town #3)
Beach at town #4 - Vernazza
We made it to the fifth town, Monteroso, around 7, right as the sun was setting over the mountains in the distance. We found a place to eat with incredible homemade pasta and pesto (apparently pesto and foccacia bread originated in Cinque Terre), and than hopped on the train back to Riomaggiore. As soon as we entered our hostel room, Barbara and I fell into our beds and PASSED OUT. Let me tell you I had the best sleep yet since being in Europe, not to mention the longest (11 hours!!!).

Sunset from Monteroso. Note the trees lining the tips of the mountains in a single-file line.

Day Two consisted of BEACH. Oh, it was wonderful! After hiking our legs off the day before, it was the perfect solution to lie out on a beach all day, taking periodic dips into the blue, crystalline Mediterranean. Around 2 the rest of the group went snorkeling while Barbara and I remained at the beach. Snorkeling was a little too pricey, and it gave Barbara and I some rare time with just each other (so far we've done everything in groups from 3-10ish people and rarely have time with just the two of us).  Also, it was probably 85 degrees out, perfectly sunny, and OCTOBER 1st. When have I ever laid out on a beach in October?

Photo Credit: Barbara Burke
For lunch, we had some foccacia bread with pesto sauce and an ice cold Italian beer for lunch. AMAZING. 

Afterwards we met up with the group as they finished their snorkeling and finished the afternoon with a tasty seafood dinner. As we waiting for the train, we headed down to the Marina and sat on marble rocks digesting with a breathtaking view of the town of Riomaggiore and the coast.

None of us were ready to leave.

But alas, we had to return back to good ol' Firenze. We have some incredible adventures in store for us in these coming weeks (i.e. Como & Mantova, Barcelona, Venice and than Fall break in Greece and Istabul).

Time for bed now. Buonanotte! Ciao ciao!