This week was jam packed with expanding my mind and experiences! We had a study tour of four sites in Denmark.
First stop – A community center/library in an up and coming neighborhood – just outside of the Copenhagen city center (Biblioteket Rentemestervej). I observed how adding onto an existing building rather than tearing it down – can enhance the richness of the population it serves through a sense of sensitivity.
Second stop – An old village church (Grundtvigskirken) constructed mainly out of bricks (5 million to be exact!). The most striking feature of this building is the craftsmanship that pays attention to the detail of how it was put together. In comparison, the basilica’s of Rome have a heavy artisan touch of adornments, embellishments, and decoration. The simplicity in a lack of art and murals allows the space to transform into a place where the focus is the environment and not the visuals occupying it.
Third stop – A question first – How do you celebrate the rich story of Denmark’s maritime history??? (Answer) You drain a historical dry dock where merchant ships operated and build the M/S Maritime Museum. In case you are wondering, yes, you can walk under the museum in an open air area at the bottom!
Final stop – Modern museums like the Guggenheim are more about the architecture that houses the art than the art itself. When you’re in a museum or gallery – you know it… However, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art feels more like a country club & public park – I mean, have you ever been to a museum that has a 2 story outdoor slide that leads to a path overlooking a pond? Or have you ever been to a museum where families would set up a picnic on the grass amongst the sculptures and eat overlooking the coast? I haven’t until I experienced this museum. It lacks the feel of a formal museum space and is more akin to an environment allowing the viewer to discover the art rather than it being presented to you.
Outside the classroom I learned how summers arrival does not go unnoticed by the Danes. Historically they celebrated it by burning a witch in remembrance of the of the Danish church’s witch burnings from 1540 to 1693. This burning was believed to send the witch away to the Brocken mountain in Gremany where wican gathering were thought to be held on June 24th. Luckily today the witches are fake and are the kindle for a very short lived bonfire along the water (it burns down in minutes and is not kept going). Afterwards, drinks and socializing are shared by many.
Tomorrow morning I leave for my regional study tour of Sweden and Norway. I shall return with a deeper understanding of how design was utilized or used as an intervention. And of course – Pictures!
(Due to the travel arrangements my Week Three/Uge Tre post may be a bit late – I apologize in advance)