Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hooray for Architecture in Helsinki!

After much sweat, blood and tears, Jessie and her team of student designers in the Wood [Design-Build] Program have completed building Jessie's winning pavilion design! There is going to be a big gallery showing in Turku this Thursday with all kinds of architecture hipsters drooling over the new wood design. The whole team involved in its planning and design will be shining in their moment of fame. Check out Jess's Blog for more pics/stories etc. Hooray for J!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Oh my, Dubai!

Hey everyone. Paddy hooked me up with this really crazy site about Dubai. I still can't believe my eyes. Have a look and see what you think. We're in trouble...

'Dubai is ####ing Nuts!!!'

Monday, May 21, 2007

Week One with the Folks

The investigation squad has arrived in full regalia - white dust-sample gloves and all. Leading up to the parents' visit, Palais Terenure was upside down in a vast orchestrated effort to normalize the seven months' worth of biological grime and various infestations. Brooms and mops were ablaze, babies crying in the streets, an old woman was even reported to have successfully executed a standing back-flip in her excitement.

So, of course the arrival and greeting was soppy and emotional as you can imagine yeah yeah. We booted out of the airport and did a type of crash course in driving on the opposite side of the road with a standard transmission rental car. Dad was a bit on edge and we all collaborated to remember to stay on the LEFT. So we arrived in one generally collective piece and checked in to St. Aiden's Guesthouse (link for anyone wanting to visit me soon heeee!), a really nice B&B within a stone's throw to my flat - just about.

For the first bit of the weekend, we puttered around Dublin for the most part, checking out the familiar Temple Bar area of town (city centre) and taking the Dublin City Tour Bus which brought us to all the hotspots like Trinity College (where the Book of Kells is exhibited), Merrion Square and St. Steven's Green (posh part of town with nice gardens), Phoenix Park (as described a couple times before), and St. Patrick's Cathedral (home to the holiest of holies, Paddy Smith). We stole our first Irish pub experience at O'Neill's, dipping in to some good Irish stout and ale. Kudos to Mum for shotgunning a cider and beating the locals in a number of drinking bouts.

The following day we drove the car out into the countryside south of Dublin and explored the Wicklow Mountains as well as a long walk around Bray, a coastal village. We drove further to see Glendalough, an old monastic site located at the base of a glacier-formed valley. On our trip back we drove through entirely barren lands - not the famous Burren, but through the Sally Gap where Braveheart was filmed. At this time of the year, farmers are burning the yellow flowered Gorse so the it gave the hills a continuous blackened appearance for miles. It felt as empty as you could possibly imagine - maybe comparable to the Outback, from what I hear.

The Monday was a bank holiday so we headed up north this time to Newgrange. This is one of two World Heritage Sites in Ireland, and I was stunned by this primitive but incredibly sophisticated building, considering it was built in 3500BC. Newgrange is an earth mound which predates the Great Pyramids by 500-1000 years. It is built as a sun-worshiping temple and is perfectly aligned with the winter solstice. The mound has a single tiny cruciform corridor which is kept pitch-black until the winter solstice, when the inner domed space completely illuminates for only 17 mins. The idea of Newgrange is incredible because today we essentially continue to repeat this idea. I couldn't help but give tremendous credit to the Neolithic people who actually had the ability to calculate and plan out such a construction project like this 5500 years ago. My perception of time had been compressed by 5 millenia, where we use not only the same building form/typology but the very same concept in new buildings today like the chapel space in the Canadian War Museum (on Nov 11, light beam lines up with the tomb.....). You have to wonder for how long we've really had this same mental capacity, or what pattern humans make in their periods of enlightenment, or how much mental development we've really made since 3500BC or earlier.

Feeling refreshed, we made some small stops along the way back to Dublin where Mum and Dad and I parted ways the next day, as they started their three week journey around the Emerald Isle.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I've posted pics from the Amsterdam trip which you can flip through in the photo album (link to the right), or check out Jessie's blog to get all the details (Freeloader!). After coming back from the Netherlands, I met up with Will and Erin (mega friends from Ottawa) who were on their way back from the Master's DSA (Directed Studies Abroad). Before arriving in Dublin they were actually traveling through Morocco which from the sounds of it, was a huge eye-opener (no images to share unfortunately, but more importantly using this parenthesis to gratuitously highlight the unusual abundance of parentheses to this point). Anyhow, we also met up with Halen and Asher from Boulder Colorado who I met at Will and Erin's wedding and are good friends of W&E since their exchange program last year. This might be turning in to a friends network myriad, but I'll cut to the chase now.

Halen and Asher stayed at a hostel downtown while Erin and Will crashed chez moi. We all met up in the morning downtown and on the first day out, we puttered around Phoenix Park with picnic material on hand. It was great weather and in our wayward navigating we found a herd of wild Fallow Deer.

After we hunted and skinned the last of the deer, Will, Erin and I marched down to the Guinness Factory for the afternoon. T'was a rare and glorious sight seeing these two tackle the pint of plain. At night we all met up and checked out a comedy show at the International Bar which was a great time (albeit a little nerve-racking at first considering we had to sit on-stage to watch the show).

The next day we shopped allllll day. I think we may have all set personal records. We shopped from sunrise till sunset. I've never done anything like it in my life.

Sadly the crew was off the day after and I sobbed endlessly in their absence for 16 days straight.