Posts Tagged ‘europe’

No, I’m not the one flying… I would like to see or sit in a cockpit on day though.

brussels, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, europe, architecture


Above is a negative of a sketch I did in Bruges, Belgium during my Eurotrip in 2005.

Abstract Architecture of the day:

abstract architecture, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, jacob bronowski

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Strasbourg, France, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, architecture, sketchblog,

Building in Strasbourg, France

This is a sketch of a building in Strasbourg, France. The city is chiefly known for its sandstone Gothic Cathedral with its famous astronomical clock, and for its medieval cityscape of Rhineland black and white timber-framed buildings, particularly in the Petite-France district alongside the Ill and in the streets and squares surrounding the cathedral. Strasbourg is the seat of the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights and it hosts a seat of the European Parliament

Abstract Architecture for the day:abstract architecture, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, what if, architecture, sketch

3.5″ x 5″ Strathmore Sketchbook, ink pens and Sharpies

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uno city, church, vienna, austria, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, architecture

Donau City Church in Vienna

This is a sketch of the church of Christus Hoffnung der Welt (Christ the Hope of the World) by Heinz Tesar in Donau City, Vienna, Austria. I sketched this while on my EuroTrip on May 30th, 2005. From the exterior, this “black box” building appears dense, heavy, guarded, untouchable, with “little circles” on it. Walk inside, and it’s an entirely different story. It is light, warm, breath-taking, grounded, calming, open, and thoughtful. The walls, ceilings and furniture is done in a light birch wood. The “little circles” and cubes of glass projecting into the space let light in, creating this airy world. Personally, I love architecture “tricks” and techniques like these. You would never guess the interior from the interior…”never judge a book by its cover…” not that the cover of this wonderful book is unappealing, by no means…it simply tells a different story.

Click for more photos >>>

donau church 6

In certain lights, its dark chromium (stainless) steel seems to make the building an almost black cuboid. But with even a little bit of sunshine, it changes as you walk round from deep purple to shimmering silver. A repetitive grid of bolts made of ordinary stainless steel shows how the dark steel plates are fixed, pays homage to Wagner’s famous aluminum bolt heads at the Postsparkasse in the proper city over the river, and sets up a small-scale detailed pattern that mediates between that of the plates and the circular piercings that bring daylight to the interior. The skin is taut and smooth. Each corner of the square plan is eroded into a reverse angle, intended to make the block less formidable from outside, and permitting more light to enter. Inside, the atmosphere is almost totally different from the severe external presence. Pale birch panelling on walls and ceiling is echoed in the pews, giving the whole place a gentle, luminous warmth, which changes in intensity and emphasis with the weather and time of day. The portholes, large and small, might be expected to generate glare, but rarely do because they are so numerous and have deep reveals, funneled and sometimes inclined, so surrounding each circular source of light with diffused luminance. Behind the almost black syenite altar, rough-hewn in contrast to the smooth birch, is a gently emphasized circle in the paneling, pierced in only one place, at the crux of the quietly incised cross to mark the axis from congregation to altar to priest to the emblem of Christ.

In the Wilderness: A Very Small Building Brings a Sense of Place, Humanity and Gentleness to the Harsh and Absurd Urban Landscapes of Vienna’s Business Satellite by Peter Davey

Thought for the day:

thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, hard work

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UFA Cinema, Dresden, Germany, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

UFA Cinema in Dresden, Germany

Above is a negative of my sketch of the UFA Cinema in Dresden, Germany by Coop-Himmelblau. My friends and I left Hannover on Sunday 5th June 2005 at 1644hrs, bound for Dresden. It felt calm and relaxed, like Sunday evenings usually do. Great project!

Link to previous post on UFA Cinema >>>

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
Helen Keller

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thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, sketchblog, sketch, architect, venice, italy

Venice, Italy

5” x 8.25” ink pens, in Moleskine sketchbook

 This is a sketch of the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. I arrived here at 0815 hrs on June 15th in 2005 with my friends. Javier and I had breakfast (as my journal reminds me), and the hot chocolate was “silky!” We were all ooh-ing and aah-ing at the sights, we could not believe we were there. After looking at photos online and in magazines, we were actually here! It was early and vendors were still setting up their stalls of beautiful produce. I love water and I love boats, this makes Venice one of my FAVORITE cities in the world. I took many photos of dogs there as I did for my entire Euro Trip, in fact my professor often remarked, “What is it with you and the dogs?!!” I would just laugh. As the city, its tourists and its people began to wake, the city bustled… Boats, vendors, people… busy busy busy! The Piazza San Marco (with a size equivalent to two football fields laid back-to-back), St Mark’s Campanile and the Basilica, all tied together to knit this marvelous public space with breadth, height, focal point, facades, and people… The heart of Venice is the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), the entrance to which is marked by a pair of granite columns brought from Constantinople. Topping one is a winged lion, the symbol of St. Mark; the city’s original patron saint, Theodore, crowns the other.

Rialto Bridge, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, venice, italy, arhcitecture, sketchblog

The Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy

BUILT on water more than 1,000 years ago by men who defied the sea, Venice has been called “the most beautiful city in the world.” Italians call it “La Serenissima,” which means “the most serene.” With its intriguing maze of narrow winding streets (calli), canals (rios) and squares (campi) – and its majestic palaces (palazzos), churches (basilicas) and museums (museos) reminiscent of Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance styles- “Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go,” Truman Capote once said. Explorer Marco Polo, musician Antonio Vivaldi and adventurer Giangiacomo Casanova wandered this city, which is built on 118 islands four kilometers from the Italian mainland. Modern Venice is crisscrossed by more than 150 canals and 400 bridges. Some 20 million people converge on the city each year to experience its myriad sights and sounds.

thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, venice, italy

Random people randomly pointing

Buses and cars enter Venice’s city center, Piazzale Roma, at the head of the famous Grand Canal (Canalazzo), the city’s main thoroughfare. It’s here that the richest families in Venice built magnificent palaces, and the panorama from the 2-mile-long ribbon of water that winds through the city in an inverted “S” is breathtaking. The Rialto Bridge, where the canal narrows and boat traffic increases, marks the commercial hub of the city, with shops and open-air markets. Venice’s number-one product is Murano glass.

Reference: Venice: City of Canals by Heike Hasenauer

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sagrada familia, barcelona, spain, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain

Above is the negative of my sketch of the Sagrada Familia by Antonio Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain. Part of my journal entry for that day on the 22nd May 2005 says:

We arrived at 7:10am in Barcelona. GM got pick-pocketed. JG hurriedly woke John and I up (for fear that Chase would leave us) and we were up and out in a sec. Going to the Sagrada Familia by Gaudi. Dove coves where they collect the droppings of doves and use as fertilizers. The first pics are the east end/ the apse end. Gaudi building still under construction. Nice pond across the street in front of it. For Gaudi God was in gravity. Revenue from tourists are a huge part of money for completion, esp. the Japanese. It is Art Nouveau in the craft tradition. Artists are outside on the pavements selling their artwork. They are old artists. The fruits on top of the pinnacles represent seasonal fruits. The grapes represent the blood of Jesus. East sunrise and the Navity represent birth of Christ, on the west, the death of Christ. Splayed corner by Certa. Cars parked in middle of street like the median w/ one side for bicycles an the other, one-way traffic. Axis to connect Sagrada Familia and the Hospital de Pau by Montana on Avinguda de Gaudi. Almost all the city’s corners are chamfered. Apts face the ‘rotunda’ that is created by the chamfered corners. They employ people to keep the streets and the city clean. It is cheaper to keep people employed than maintain them in prisons. In the prisons you cannot vote.

From my Eurotrip 2005 journal

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today”

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arc de triomphe, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, paris, france

Arc de Triomphe (2005) - Paris, France

In the summer months of 2005 the Arc de Triomphe was undergoing a facelift. This is a sketch of that restoration in progress with the scaffolding, staircases, construction barriers, etc. erected to perform the works. I found the juxtaposition noteworthy, memorable, timely, beautiful, and complimentary… the historic and the modern; the old and the new, concrete and steel, heavy and light, opaque and translucent.

My friends and I left the US on the 16th of May and arrived in France (Europe) on the 17th... My diary entry for this day says:

“Left for Paris at 7pm. Arrived in Paris at 1:30am Pacific Time which was 7:30am Paris time. We went to our hotel Movenpick Dream Castle. Then headed out to Paris. We went to the new Arch of Paris. Then walked to Building by Portzamparc, housing, Naterre Park. Saw Eiffel Tower and Arch de Triomphe and Publicis by Saee. Feeling tired. No sleep since Sunday night. Today is Tuesday, technically 1:10pm right now. We are amazed that it has only been one day and not only have we seen so much, but we are tired and it has been only one day. Erlie looks like, “Just kill me!” We are all sleeping like drunkards on the train.”

I remember when we arrived at our hotel, we thought we would have the opportunity to shower, have a rest, eat something, put our luggage in our rooms and head back out, but NO. We checked in, left our luggage at the front desk and headed right out to the great Paris…our professor was sure to use every minute we had to see all we could. We were sooo tired…my eyes were seeing double for a moment. That day was looooooong, and many times I would break out laughing because we looked so sleepy, so tired. You can tell from my continued repetition of how tired we were above. We slept like logs that night.. oh yes! we got in late that night… I think around 9:30/ 10pm…to leave at 6am the following morning.

Read more about the Arc de Triomphe below:

Arc de Triomphe Paris
The Arc de Triomphe Paris, the most monumental of all triumphal arches, was built between 1806 and 1836. Even though there were many modifications from the original plans, reflecting political changes and power struggles, the Arch still retains the essence of the original concept which was a powerful, unified ensemble.
The Arc de Triomphe stands at the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, also known as the “Place de l’Étoile”. It’s located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. The arches whole decorative style is entirely of the tradition of sculpture from the first half of the nineteenth century.

The triumphal arch is in honor of those who fought for France, in particular, those who fought during the Napoleonic Wars. Engraved on the inside and at the top of the arch are all of the names of the generals and wars fought. There are inscriptions in the ground underneath the vault of the arch which include the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I where  the Memorial Flame burns and have made the Arc de Triomphe Paris a revered patriotic site.

The monument is considered the linchpin of the historic axis (L’Axe historique) — a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route which stretches from the courtyard of the Louvre Palace to the outskirts of Paris.


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Stonborough House, Paul Engelmann, Ludwig Wittgenstein, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

Stonborough House by the Austrian architect Paul Engelmann and the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

I did this sketch of the Wittgenstein House on Wednesday 1st June 2005 in Vienna, Austria; as noted in my diary from my Europe trip. My diary entry for this day says:

“I got up at 0730 hrs and John and I went for breakfast together. We ran back to be here at 0900 hrs. Laugh!! Left hotel at 1030 hrs. Cantilevered roof of elevator on Albertina. Took photos of storefronts. Ate lunch @ Nordsee. Met a nice old lady at the restaurant. Christian byzantine building w/ bricks and gold arches. It is a greek orthodox church. Wagner’s Saving Bank. First Architect to use rivets as structure. Instead of just using the stones as the façade, he used the rivetting of the stones as the decoration to the facades. He was one of the first modern architects to design an entire block. Law office by Coop Himmelblau on corner of BiberstraBe and FalkestraBe. Hundertwasserhaus – colorful with vegetation. Vienna and Salzburg share Mozart. Water falling from the columns on bar in Hunderwasser.  Then went to building by Wittgenstein (the artist and philosopher). Chase complimented me saying that l have a unique talent when he looked at my drawing. I told him thanks and it meant a lot. We then went into the house and took pictures outside where in one picture we held our chins like Chase.”

I guess a lot happened on that day huh… See below for more information on the Wittengenstein House.

Haus Wittgenstein, also known as the Stonborough House and the Wittgenstein House is a house in the modernist style designed and built on the Kundmanngasse, Vienna, by the Austrian architect Paul Engelmann and the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. In November 1925, Wittgenstein’s sister Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein commissioned Engelmann to design and build a large town house. Wittgenstein showed a great interest in the project and in Engelmann’s plans, and spent at least two years designing various aspects of the house, including the doors, door knobs, windows, and radiators. Describing the work, Ludwig’s eldest sister, Hermine, wrote: “Even though I admired the house very much, I always knew that I neither wanted to, nor could, live in it myself. It seemed indeed to be much more a dwelling for the gods than for a small mortal like me” – Reference Wikipedia.

Wittgenstein House, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

My photo of the Wittgenstein House in Vienna, Austria

Years later, in Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein wrote that “the human body is the best picture of the human soul.” As an architect, he believed that a house is, in a way, a picture of the human body that is to use it. His tacit philosophy of domestic architecture has been described by architectural historian Bernhard Leitner, who has studied the Wittgenstein House for more than thirty years, as “the house in motion,” which gives an immediate sense of the affinity between Wittgenstein, at least as an architect, and a philosophy of architecture grounded in Merleau-Ponty’s thought. The house in motion is the house in use. “Use,” Leitner explains, “is action such as opening a door, interlocking window-doors, or raising metal curtains.” That explains Wittgenstein’s obsessive attention to window locks, radiators, and the like. He is said to have spent a year designing the door handles.

Source: House in Use: Arthur C. Danto on Steven Holl’s New York University Department of Philosophy – Magazine article by Arthur C. Danto; Artforum International, Vol. 46, April 2008

Sketch something today!!

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St. Peters Basilica in Rome, Italy, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

St. Peters Basilica in Rome, Italy

This is a negative of my sketch of St. Peters Basilica in Rome, Italy. You can go here to read the previous post on the Basilica here >>>.

Have a great week!!!

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