Through Simran’s Eyes: An Architectural Exploration of Scandinavia 

Architecture student Simran from The Rhode Island School of Design is passionate about human-centric design and spaces. Having spent most of her life in the former retirement town of Pune, India, the association of nostalgia and spaces comes naturally to Simran. Read about her experiences studying abroad with DIS in the summer and finding her favorite spaces in Scandinavia.

A Paradise for Designers and Students Alike

Copenhagen is the Mecca of art, design, and architecture. A paradise for designers and students alike with its seams brimming with inspiration and creativity. The city acts as an enabler providing impetus to all its residents and visitors with creative inspiration. There is always something new to see and to discover; be it in the form of design and architecture, or food and culture.

Right from the castles and churches to extraordinary examples of contemporary and modern architecture to pop-up food stalls and gourmet restaurants, this city is always pushing the envelope with new technology and the latest ideas.

My Summer With DIS

I came to DIS Copenhagen for the Architecture & Design Summer Session as a part of my Master’s Program in Adaptive Reuse in Interior Architecture at The Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, USA. 

I arrived in Copenhagen in June and the drive from the airport to my housing left me mesmerized. It is easy to understand why the use of public transport is so popular in this city. The infrastructure that the city provides, in terms of bicycle lanes, bus lanes, and wide pedestrian pavements truly encourages citizens to make use of it all.

Exploring Architecture

My time in Copenhagen has been an amalgamation and exploration of architecture that I have documented through photographs and sketches. I have made new connections with students from all over the world and had many new experiences ranging from enjoying daylight for 18 hours every day to jumping into the freezing cold waters at Dragør.

The Bagsværd Church

Out of the numerous buildings that I visited throughout the summer, the Bagsværd church struck a chord with me.

The church was designed by Jørn Utzon in 1968 and completed in 1976. It is flooded with natural light achieved by means of lateral windows across the nave and daylight pouring in from the courtyards. Besides the symbolic character of the vault, it provides excellent acoustic quality in the church (said to be among the best in the world). I was very lucky to experience these acoustics.

My sketch of the interior of the church

My Tour to Sweden and Finland

Our summer program also included a Study Tour to Sweden and Finland which was designed to broaden our knowledge and understanding of Nordic architecture.

We began our tour in Stockholm by visiting the Stockholm City Hall, followed by exploring the historical part of the Stockholm, Gamla Stan. The following day we visited the Moderna Museet (Museum), the archipelago, and the Woodland Cemetery. The cemetery spans over hundreds of acres of land and is the largest in Sweden. Visiting a cemetery is not only architecturally enriching but also a humbling experience.

Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm

During our Study Tour, we visited Hammarby Sjöstad, a new urban development around a lake in southern Stockholm.

 What I truly enjoyed about Stockholm is the diversity in the scale and type of architecture that we got to experience; right from the historical town, to modern museums, to vast and seemingly endless cemeteries to new and urban developments.

An Architectural Genius in Finland

We continued our Study Tour to Turku, Finland, by ferry and this was one of the most memorable experiences I have had so far. We began by visiting Villa Mairea designed by Finnish modernist architect, Alvar Aalto. The following day we visited the Aalto University and what struck me was the architectural genius that Aalto was! With his characteristic design style of creating asymmetrical spaces, he completely mesmerizes the inhabitant.

After we returned from our trip to Sweden and Finland, we spent the next four weeks in design studio, soaking up our learnings from the tour and incorporating our learnings in our designs.

Moving on to the Next Adventure

Just as the city of Copenhagen started to feel like home, it is time to leave and move on to the next adventure. This city is an example of a beautiful mix of the old and new, with a large number of park and public spaces. I am truly going to miss sitting by the water on a late summer evening watching the sky as it changes its colors! All in all, studying in Copenhagen has been a divine experience. 

Learn more about DIS in Copenhagen:

>> Learn more about the Architecture & Design Session

>> Learn more about Copenhagen City & Culture

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