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Take a trip to Barcelona cuz this city’s a drag.

Barcelona is the cultural and industrial center of northern Spain. As an extra treat to my travels Barcelona made the itinerary. In 1888 an international exposition was held in Parc de Ciutadela. The area is a quaint layout that still has three of the original exposition buildings. The parliament building, a schoolhouse, and a beautiful fountain remain as permanent fixtures in the well used park. The Spanish arc de triumph stands at the entrance to the park. The botanic themed event had a huge influence on Barcelona. As 12 years after to commemorate the expo the Christopher Columbus monument was built.

I also took the opportunity to look at the Gaudi collection. The Sangrada Familia is probably the most popular site in the city. The cathedral built by Antonio Gaudi although incomplete is a unesco site offering visitors an opportunity of beauty that not event the designer experienced. As it is still under construction it is unfortunate for picture taking, but when it is finished I’m sure it will be worth the time it took to build it.

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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Zaragoza from 2008 to today…

The waterside location, home to the 2008 exposition focused on sustainability and water conservation and education. The three main water themes of the exhibition are “A scare resource,”  “Water for life,” and “Water landscapes.” These themes intergraded themselves in to the entire layout of the event. What I find most fascinating about these themes is the venues in which they were housed. “A scarce Resource” was in the bridge pavilion by Zaha Hadid, the “Water for Life” in the aqua tower, and “Water Landscapes” in the river aquarium. All three of the pavilions from opening day still remain standing however the curtain has closed and the audience left. The condition of the park seems promising but the number of pavilions that has been put to an after expo purpose is two. The bridge pavilion is open on the weekends for residents to enjoy. Also the river aquarium is still in use as an aquatic life educational tool and family fun. The third themed pavilion that was the icon of the event, the water tower, is fenced off and sadly at a great distance from where a visitor might take a good look inside.

Don’t despair I was devastated to see the 76 meter tall building lonely and without use, but I do have hope. Further along the site many of the national pavilions are fenced off for construction. The construction equipment and hard hatted fellows on the sight brought a smile to my face. I could guess that after the hype of the expo things have taken a significantly slower pace of preparations but maybe one day the site will be a booming, influential place one again.  Wait and see I guess.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

New News… Read All About It !

New blog posts coming to a computer near you!!!

After little to no working Internet in Spain, transitioning back to the states, and continuing my research, I am ready to continue my blog. I plan to finish my experiences of travel and provide updates of my thoughts from my research.

All excuses aside I have put it off long enough and will be enthusiastically catching up and proving new images, insights, and commentary on Europe, architectural hangovers, and anything else that I find worth while to question.

I have also reviewed, spell checked, and reflected upon the many previous posts that I have posted during my travels. Each post has an “in reflection” addition after each original posting. This means if you are interested you may have to go back and reread some posts.

Enjoy and I will be posting new material soon.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Great and Mysterious Granada.

Today consisted of several miles of walking uphill quite a ways. But it was well worth the distance as the views were unbelievable! Just when I think Granada cannot get any better I turn a corner and am left breathless (not just because of the uphill hikes.) the beauty is never ending here. From back alley bazaars to hill top monuments I am in love with it all.

Today was a stroll, if you can consider a vertical climb up uneven rocky paving a stroll. The area of Albatzin provides a great view of the Alhambra from across the river. It also provides a great opportunity for window-shopping. The streets are lined with outdoor eateries and mini shops displaying cultural items as well as tourist souvenirs. The long walk was beautiful and the twisting and turning around the residential areas gave me a real feel for the city. It was unique as there were no fences, pavement, driveways, streets, or signs. It is as though you are lost in a labyrinth of little alleyways.
The way of life here is simple. I like it.
This afternoon we ventures up the hills further to find the abandoned caves of the gypsies. This exciting yet unnerving hike was well worth the climb. The caves were surprisingly homelike. The secrets of the gypsies and the way of the flamingo excited me. There were small exhibits explaining the daily chores of the little cast away community. From pottery, weaving, metalworking, herbology, and anything else you can imagine a community would need. Especially the romantic fiery dance of the flamingo.
The caves also have a history of cave dwellings from pre history and around the world. This secret find was wonderful. It was very insightful of what life was like for the gypsies. It was not very glamorous but it still remains mysterious, maybe I just have an over active imagination.

In reflection

Cave dwelling would be a good sabbatical. With little to no distractions from completing the chores of daily life the experience could eventually get a bit tiresome. However if just for a break from the world, imagine no Internet, television, telephones, or troublesome electronics of any type. I could entertain myself for a bit with that kind of lifestyle.

It is hard to separate myself from the romantic ideas of gypsies and fiery dancing. When im approached by a persistent woman trying to hand me a tree branch I remember that the caves have been abandoned for better luck on the streets. To think that the mysteries of flamingo dancing have come from the heritage of the women scurrying around on the streets of the city offering twigs in exchange for Euros confuses me.

I wonder if there is a common ancestor between the gypsies in Spain to the gypsies in France and for that matter all over Europe.

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Posted by on June 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Alhambra and Generalife

Today was a long sunny day of city exploration and historical education in Granada. The area is beautiful and filled with bazaars and street side vendors. The charm of this small city contrast greatly with the vast never ending urban areas I have been studying.

Granada is filled with historical monuments honoring Columbus, Queen Isabella, and Charles the III or IV depending on which empire you are from, Washington Irving and the Moorish Empire.
I am fascinated by the details of this exotic place. It has a flare of things I have never experienced before. The visual details, smells, and atmosphere are amazing and I cannot help but fall in love with it. Granada is a wonderful place to experience the changes throughout the history of Espana.
The Alhambra is the place to go when in Granada, not only is it the historical icon of the city but it is breathtakingly beautiful with gardens and courtyards as the main focus. The buildings especially doors and windows are detailed so carefully that you can only truly enjoy them by looking through or around them in person. The architecture from the Moorish Empire is different from anything I have seen and it is exciting to see such different influences on the buildings.
There are also differences in culture, politics, and economics that separates Spain from the several other countries I have visited. I am excited to see what I can learn tomorrow but I am sure it will be beautiful or at least sunny.

In reflection

The Alhambra is the most beautiful place I have experienced on my journey. If given the chance to use it as a case study for my architectural studio, I would with out hesitation. It is very interesting to watch the progression of history from one reign to the next. What surprised me most is that new leaders come in and take over, they refused to knock down such amazing structures. Instead they incorporate them into their new rule.

If I were a ruler of a new land I would probably do similar. I bet it would be great to show off what an advanced society and culture inhabits the land that you now own. It would probably boost the value of the conquer showing the strengths of the opponent and proving that it was not an easy victory with such innovative adversaries.

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Posted by on June 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Extra Credit Expo 29

Jackpot. Strolling around Seville we came to a lovely park. Just off the university in the heart of the city there. It is a large green space. The more time I spent in the park walking around it felt more familiar.

A quick look in the book and to my excitement we are in the center of the expo from 1929. The site is beautiful with fountains and paved walkways laid with tiles and colorful railings. It feels like a toned down utopia or a Disney scene.
The contrast between the expos was dramatic in layout and in condition of the remains. In 1992 the industrial park is blocky and concrete. In 1929 the park is sloping and organic leaving the structures in excellent condition with little vandalism.
It was great that I can compare the two expos held in Seville. I am curious why the more recent fair is in more disrepair and is worse off than the fair from so long ago.
Maybe Expo 92 will clean up a bit and become a beautiful park like Expo 29. I guess we will see.

In reflection

Maybe the location has a great deal to do with the afterlife of the expo. The 1929 expo took place in the center of the city and is surrounded by college buildings, small cafes, and student bookshops. The 1992 expo is on the far end of town where is it no surprise that it can easily be forgotten. Fences and cheap bodegas surround the more recent expo. It seems to be in a significantly rougher portion of the city.

If you were to tell me that both events here held for more or less the same reason, I would not believe it. The outcome of two similar temporary events troubles me, as they are so different. Other than the location I still wonder how this dichotomy occurred.

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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Sevilla Expo 1992. In 2011

Beautiful Seville. Well almost, the site of the expo is sadly not what I expected. As the record-breaking expo in sustainability, attendance, and international participation at the time, the expo was quite the event.

Today the expo is partially used as an industrial park, part of it is a theme park, and the rest abandoned and vandalized. Part of the expo seemed left behind as though frozen in time left empty and lonely.
There are giant fences all around the site, making walking around more difficult than just fighting off fatigue from the sun and heat. I was able to find an unofficial entrance into the vacated area of the site only to find boarded up pavilions and fenced in open spaces.
It astonished me to see the state of the park. I met a residential couple who were enjoying their day out. I was told that they like the park because nobody goes to it. They like the empty place and they don’t know about any expo or celebrations of the past but they enjoy few people to bother them in the area. This is paraphrased from my rough Spanish translation.
The half of the site used as a theme park seems to be well used. The empty parking lots hopefully only mean that it is not yet in season but I wish the theme park the best for the use of the expo leftovers.

In reflection

The park still bothers me. It is probably the worst promising site so far. It has been almost twenty years since the event. So little has been done to make use of the structurs still standing since closing day. The park is divided up in to two areas. A small part of the site houses a scientific complex that fulfills the master planning for after expo. However the rest of the park simply sits there to be used and abused by a questionable group of people.

The main fountain of the event that is found as on the main axis of the fair is now used as a bathing facility for the homeless. There is a small shack being used to play loud techno music, but I found that many of the people surrounding it were not of right mind and had no interest in the exposition that once took place. Several of the scantly clothed visitors looked at me and made me nervous. This is not a place I would visit for good, clean, fun.

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Posted by on June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized