Hej! I’m writing this in the middle of my super intensive Interior Architecture Studio. With just a few weeks to go for the end of this amazing Summer Session, it’s full throttle ahead!
The key objective of the studio is to build an understanding of Danish and Scandinavian Architecture and design tradition – historic as well as contemporary, through case studies, Field Studies, and the knowledge gained from the Study Tour. Along with my six credit studio project, I also have a one credit Visual Journal course. It is an independent study and analytical tool to explore and understand the physical environment and design techniques through sketching. We had two dedicated Visual Journal tours in and around the city in the past weeks. All three interior architecture studios were merged, and we had a chance to visit the very famous Maritime Museum, as well as the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. We also visited two other churches, both exceptional pieces of architecture. It’s incredible to see such diverse architecture in and around the city, and a great honor to learn from the best in the business. Simply walking and observing spaces and structures slowly helps to ingrain so many ideas which can be used in studio and design! It is an opportunity that will never come again.
My faculty for the studio is Heinrich Hermann, a visiting faculty from the Rhode Island School of Design – my home university. He has an amazing persona. His enthusiasm for design, architecture, society and culture is refreshing and definitely infectious. I’m not only learning about design and its elements, but also an interesting amount of tidbits on social and cultural life around the world. On the second Field Study, we visited the Langebro Harbor and explored the habitability of urban spaces. On bright summer days, the Danes definitely know how to have a good time! The harbor is interspersed with lots of activities for kids and adults alike, lots of green space to sunbathe, and a super quirky bicycling track. The ferry bus took us a long way all along the harbor front, passing the Architecture Center, the Opera House, and all the way up to Christianshavn. It’s amazing to see the varying harbor front as one journeys alongside it.
You can’t come to Copenhagen and not know about BIG Architects. One-of-a-kind design and pushing the boundaries is what defines them. On a bright Friday morning, our class headed out for a field trip to see some of BIG’s iconic work, such as the Figure 8 building and the Mountain Dwellings. With splendid views to the landscape and rich urban density inside, it is a must visit for any design student.
Although I’m not used to working in a studio with only 12 people, it does help to have a lot more of one-to-one time with Heinrich. We’re a varied lot from different parts of the world, which makes it exciting to share and learn from each other. Our studio project is focusing on the adaptive reuse of a portion of the harbor front and on increasing the usability and “fun element” of the space beside it. After my amazing sauna experience in Finland, it was kind of obvious that adding a sauna would be a critical part of my urban invention. Along with it, I have a food court, a restaurant, a children’s play area, and a skating arena.
It is certainly daunting to put myself into a Dane’s shoe and think about what would be the best fit for the city, its culture, and people. As I come from tropical India, Heinrich has to also keep reminding me of the fact that Copenhagen has harsh winters, so the design must be suited for all seasons. That’s the key to learn about designing across countries and cultures, one has to be a sensitive designer. I’m definitely going to give it my best shot, and it’s a quest for success!