Not so long ago I was in Gran Canaria, Spain. For about two weeks I enjoyed warm temperatures (25+ degrees Celsius) and biked all over the island.
I’ve never been to the moon, but I guess the center of the island of Gran Canaria looks a lot like it. It’s dry, desolate, desert-like, there’re (almost) no trees but plenty of giant rocks and best of all… no tourists (which contrasts the very touristic city Playa del Ingles). The highest mountain of the island is 1950 meters while the island itself is fairly small (diameter of 50 km). This makes Gran Canaria perfect for people who love to bike, which includes me. Needless to say, I had a great time. Enjoy the photos.
The Netherlands, a country known for its windmills, cheese, wooden shoes, Delftware, dikes, tulips, bicycles and its giant two kilometer high mountain.
Huh? A mountain? I thought the Netherlands is the flattest country on earth.
Nope. Not any more. At least, not if a Dutch organization gets what it wants. This organization (Die berg Komt Er) proposes a two kilometer high mountain which will be erected somewhere in the Netherlands. Newspapers report ‘there’s probably enough space for such a mountain’. Also ‘there probably won’t be any negative side effects for the environment’. Yeah, right. Costs are expected to be around 70 billion euros (that’s over 90 billion Dollars). What the mountain will be used for? Agriculture, housing and skiing to name a few. Also the giant Dutch mountain will be used as a power plant. It should generate enough energy to power the entire city of Amsterdam with 100% renewable energy.
I thought the era of mega projects in the Western world was over. So kudos to the design team who had the guts of coming up with such a bold plan. Or is it just a publicity stunt? Are the architects of this Dutch mountain out of touch with the rest of the country? To be fair, the Dutch created 20% of their country themselves, by creating land from water. So there’s no doubt we’re technically capable (or find a way) of creating a two kilometer high mountain. But… let’s be honest, we (the Netherlands) don’t need such a mountain. Why not spend 60 billion euros to make the Netherlands the first carbon-neutral country on earth? Or why not build the Roadmap 2050 design of a carbon-neutral Europe, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas? There’s a saying, God created the world, but the Dutch created the Netherlands. It’s ever more true when the Dutch create their own two kilometer high mountain… which I hope will never be the case.
Map of Eneropa, Rem Koolhaas’ renewable world: how a new power network could solve Europe’s carbon crisis. (image courtesy: OMA)
During the past years I visited many football stadiums. Not because I like football that much. No, I just like to check out the architecture (and my brother is the biggest football fan out there, which definitely comes in handy). I went to some of the biggest stadiums like the ones of FC Barcelona and AC Milan, visited stadiums with a great history like the Fulham Stadium in London and went to very advanced stadiums like the Amsterdam Arena which has a removable roof.
This summer I visited the stadium of Arsenal Football Club in London (or Emirates Stadium as it’s named officially). It’s not the biggest stadium out there (it seats ‘only’ 60.000 people), it doesn’t have the biggest history (it opened in 2006) nor it’s the most advanced stadium (it doesn’t have a removable roof so to speak). Nonetheless, the Arsenal stadium is one of the most beautifully designed stadiums I ever visited.
Just to mention a few; I love the curved roof, the exterior glass and the concrete walls in combination with the Arsenal-red. Although many stadiums are (sadly) designed like bunkers, this one seemed very transparent. Please enjoy OneMinute number twelve.
Most sports have breaks. With football there’s half-time, which is a 15 minute break. NBA basketball has four quarters which gives us two breaks of two, and a halftime break of 15 minutes. On TV, these breaks are filled with commercials. Obviously, when you’re in the stadium, you won’t see any tv commercials. So what do organizers of large sport events do to entertain the public during those minutes?
Three years ago I went to a baseball match of the NY Mets. During (commercial) breaks several cameras scanned the crowd for young couples. One of those couples would get broadcasted in the stadium. The moment they found out they’re visible for the entire stadium, a text appears on the screens, saying “Kiss your girlfriend!” After the kiss, the director puts a new couple on the screen. And on and on. Until the break is over. This kept the entire stadium engaged.
But there’re more ways to entertain. How about clowns during the rodeo or a show by the U.S. Olympic Trampoline team during the halftime break of a basketball match?! (btw, it was a great show!).
The how-to-fill-up-a-break-without-commercials I remember best was during the quarter finals of the 2008 US Open (tennis). Novac Djokovic played against Andy Roddick. During one of the breaks a very familiar tune starts playing in the Artur Ashe Stadium. I know this tune, For the love of money, as the theme to the reality television show The Apprentice. I quickly figured there must be a reason to play this song during a break in the stadium. Maybe The Donald is in the stadium? My heart jumped a bit. Would I really see Donald Trump? Thé Donald Trump?!
My eyes moved towards the large screen in the stadium. At the same time, the stadium speaker introduced “the guy everyone associates with this tune”. And there he was, in full screen, visible for everyone in the stadium. Donald “You’re Fired” Trump. The entire audience started to cheer while The Donald smiled to the camera. My eyes quickly scanned the stadium. Where would he be sitting? I pointed my photo camera to a vip-box in front of me and zoomed in quite a bit. And there he was! To me, the quarter finals of the US Open changed from great to unique.
Several years ago I started my architectural studies in the Netherlands. Since then, my life accelerated. I lived in five different countries, biked all across the Netherlands, designed a mega church and started working as director. Oh, I also co-founded a company. And I feel like I’m just warming up!