28 August 2006

OMA in The Hague (Den Haag)

Yesterday I saw a very nice exhibition of all the work done by Office for Metropolitan Architecture done in the city of Den Haag.

Besides the usual Models, Drawings and PowerPoint explain all the projects the exhibition had a very interesting way of interacting with the viewers through idea ‘Make your own OMA building’. Printouts of a fold out model of one of there new projects for the city were kept for people to try there hand at. These were to be made as per the drawing or according to ones fancy and could be taken home or kept on display there itself. I have always found such attempts of OMA to take architecture beyond architects and there self centred worlds a very important and interesting contribution.

16 August 2006

WAAA - Maastricht

Check out some images of the Studio where I’m doing my two month summer internship.

The building itself is shared by Wiel Arets’ house and studio and was designed by him. Have a look at our website (www.wielarets.nl) to see what sort of work we do.

(ps. WAAA stands for Wiel Arets Architect and Associates)

08 August 2006

Living in Maastricht.

For the next two months I’m going to be living in Maastricht. This city in the extreme south of the Netherlands is sandwiched between Belgium and Germany was built by the Romans, making it by far the oldest city in the country.

The city has a very nice Medieval touch with a few reminiscence of its past in the form of pieces of its city walls. The river Maas (the same river running through Rotterdam) cuts the city in two. On one side is the historical core of the city which is today reduced to a pedestrianized shopping mall and on the other city is some interesting new development called ‘Ceramique’.

The master plan for ‘Ceramique’ was drawn out by Jo Coenen (of NAI fame) and has an impressive collection of architects building there (Jo Coenen, Alvaro Siza, Aldo Rossi, Wiel Arets to name a few). Check out a few buildings from here –

Anyways, what brings me to this small town is a summer internship at Wiel Arets Architect and Associates. Wiel Arets is the ex-Dean of the Berlage Institute, Rotterdam and is considered to be one of the major figures in contemporary architecture here the Netherlands. I will soon post some images of the studio.

03 August 2006

Short trips to Dubai

To and Back from my trip to India I stopped over in Dubai for a few days each time to meet my parents and some old friends. The city hasn’t changed much sine my last visit here in February and the city’s Absurdification project is still on. (Though many of my friends seem to have heard about discussion to cut back on some of the very large projects like the Palm Deira and DubaiLand – but like everything else in Dubai there is no way to verify this till then actually finish building these projects)

I clicked these images (above) to explain the magnitude to the madness that we call Dubai. Huge chunks of the most barren deserts in the world are being conquered by Disneyland like themed areas (areas as huge as small towns). The above billboards demarcated and give passerby’s insights into how the scaled version of the different continents might look like in the future.

So like I was saying from the Deserts and her sea huge monstro‘cities’ are appearing. Above the construction cranes of the Palm Island as seen from the natural coast line of the city.

(and the First images from on top of the Palm itself – remember you never saw them here)

Though I find myself distancing from this city and it’s ‘Fakeness’ I wonder is this not a new reality. A reality based on copies and copies of copies. Probably that’s where Dubai’s legacy lays – its apparent playfulness in a world of problems. The city seems to have found an Absurd but in fact successful way to sustain the attention it is crabbing for herself; though she is in a region (Middle-East) that has been plagued by wars and completely hostility to anything new (anything that’s not the norm).

The Protestant reformists of the 1500s believed “That Absurd meaninglessness can become the source of Salvation”. Similarly probably the rulers of Dubai seem to believe in an Absurd meaninglessness through excessiveness that could help them Salvage a city that is suppose to be dying out (because of fast depleting oil resources) much faster than all her competitors in the region.

As I ponder about these the rest of family who still reside here gets ever more sucked in and consumed into the whirlwind created by the absurdification. My parents recently moved into a themed gated community where everyone of the over 7,000 houses look exactly the same, full with its own Golf course, Polo ground and not to mention shopping mall – The Arabian Ranches (even the name is cheesy).

Anyways, I shall leave that at that for now. Here’s a picture of all my dudes in
Dubai for all my other dudes how weren’t there this time around.

A Google map tracing my travels across the globe

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  • In Red cities where I have lived (more than one month);
  • In Blue cities with entries on this blog;and
  • In Yellow cities with no entries yet.