Tagged : experience

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Chess Academy Baku

Wolf Prix is well known for its incomprehensible sketches. And I was fortunate enough to be around when he made one for the Baku Chess Academy. Before we continue, first some background info. The same client of the Central Bank project happened to be involved with chess as well. He wanted the best chess academy and commissioned Wolf Prix, founder of Vienna architecture firm Coop Himmelb(l)au, for the project.

I briefly worked on this project and saw Wolf Prix when he sketched out his vision. This is what it looked like:

It took the team several weeks, ultimately they came up with this:

I guess the Central Bank of Azerbaijan was designed the same way? Maybe clichés about architects are true after all.

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Central Bank Azerbaijan

“And here’s the Non Disclosure Agreement”, simultaneously, she presented me with a piece of paper which I had to sign. Otherwise, my stay at Vienna architecture firm Coop Himmelb(l)au would be very short lived.

The Non Disclosure Agreement prevented me from including three CHBL projects in my portfolio and blog. But… finally I’m allowed to share one of the projects with you. In fact, it’s the project I worked on most. It’s a skyscraper located in Baku, Azerbaijan. And this is not just any building, it’s the Central Bank of Azerbaijan headquarters.

During the course of three months, I worked on countless floor plans, exterior views, some elevations, the vault, the bank president’s office (including a private elevator) and much more.

Read more about the project on the Coop Himmelb(l)au website.

Willow Creek Church

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something (more on that in the future). Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today, it’s time for part eight; “Willow Creek Church”.

Chicago was the next stop on my road trip. Well… Technically I didn’t use a car to get there so it’s not really part of the road trip (I flew from Las Vegas to the Windy City). But for simplicity’s sake, let’s just forget about that.

Ready to move on? Okay, let’s go.

I didn’t visit Chicago to see The Bean’ (see my photo below) or the rest of Chicagoland. Instead, I was in town for a backstage experience of Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, which is a suburb of Chicago.

Willow Creek Church is a large and arguably one of the most influential churches in the States. Everything there is massive. For example, what to think of a 7000 seats auditorium? And they don’t use it for just 1 weekend service. Instead, they have 3. One at Saturday and two at Sunday. When I was there, Bill Hybels introduced John Ortberg, both great speakers.

When John Ortberg spoke, I was in the control room. At Willow, this room is huge (way bigger than what I’m used to). Before the service, during the rehearsals, I walked around the auditorium and checked out the camera crew. Afterwards, they held a production meeting, which was very interesting as well.

As a bonus, the director gave me a tour through the entire building, including the fly wall, the so called ‘bridges’ (from which lights are hung – see photo below), and the workshop.

Needless to say, I had a great time and learned a lot. Thanks Willow, for this great experience!

My next stop: Missouri

Previous posts

Part 1: Exceeded expectations
Part 2: Google vs. Apple
Part 3: Look left! … No, look right!
Part 4: Johnny Depp
Part 5: Big, bigger, biggest
Part 6: The most beautiful road of the world
Part 7: The color of luck

Look left! … No, look right!

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something (more on that in the future). Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today part three; “Look left! … No, look right!”.

Earlier, I wrote about two amazing places, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Today, I write about… wait for it… a road. Highway 1 to be more precise. “Why?”, you might think. “What’s so special about this road?” Well, Highway 1 is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA. The scenery is simply breathtaking.

The following is a random scene, while driving on Highway 1. I am driver, my brother called shotgun. For quite some time already, we enjoy the beautiful views over the ocean. Suddenly my brother yells “look left!”. We simultaneously turn our heads to the left and see some really beautiful hills. The view is amazing. Nonetheless, my brothers interest is short lived. His eyes glance to the right… “Look right!”. That view turns out to be even more impressive. During the next few hours, this moment repeats itself waaaaay too many times, which definitely makes this highway a true highlight of the USA road trip.

My next stop: Los Angeles

Previous posts

Part 1: Exceeded expectations
Part 2: Google vs. Apple

Exceeded expectations

My summer holiday of 2012 was a 3000 mile road trip in the United States. It was one of my best holidays ever. So, how come I never wrote about it here? The answer is simple. Since I arrived back in the Netherlands, I’ve been quite busy creating something (more on that in the future). Surprisingly, I finally found some time to write about the USA trip… Today it’s time for part one; “Exceeded expectations”.

The word ‘exceed’ can be applied to both good and bad experiences. It can refer to something that was supposed to be very bad but turned out a bit less bad… in other words, it exceeded the (very low) expectation. Or it refers to something which should be great, but turns out to be even better. In that case, it exceeds the (already high) expectation. Obviously, the latter is the best… but it doesn’t happen that often.

Fast forward to July 2012. I just arrived to San Francisco International Airport, ready for the first part of the trip. I was in awe of the steep streets, old classic houses that spread out over the many hills of San Francisco, the cable trams which move up and down these hills and a beautiful harbor with views over Alcatraz Island, which completes the already perfect picture. It’s easy to see why some say San Francisco is the most beautiful city in the world (my brother is one of them). Others say it’s ‘just’ a very, very beautiful city (I’m one of them).

As a true architecture addict, I was specifically looking forward to seeing and crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. In my dreams, I made the bridge bigger and more beautiful than anyone can probably ever imagine. My expectation of this bridge was so big, that it’s impossible to meet this expectation. This meant, the moment I finally saw the Golden Gate Bridge for real, I…

[speechless]

[still speechless]

… Yep, the Golden Gate Bridge exceeded my expectation… by a huge margin.

My next stop: Google and Apple