It seems like yesterday that I arrived in Munich, came out of the wrong subway stop and was trying to find my apartment.
Obviously my phone did not work and my German was mediocre at best. After asking four people where the street was I found the apartment and my roommate waiting for me.
We walked around Munich and enjoyed a beautiful sunny day, not realizing that these were few and far in between.
This semester started off fast. It was intense and fun. We met a lot of great architects, designers, engineers, and friends. We joined our design team with the TUM students and we became the greatest design team that Studio Mensa has ever seen.
We traveled to beautiful cities all over Europe and saw a great amount of architecture. We hiked in the alps, planted trees in Czech Republic, joined in on the fun at Wiesen (Oktoberfest), saw snow (and froze).
Some days were sunny enough to lay out in the English gardens to read and sketch. Other days it was cold enough to freeze. We all spent a few hours sitting outside collecting our data for our class climate walks (renamed frigid walks soon after).
Minutes after starting the data collecting device, we lost feeling in our toes and fingers. Coffee did not stay warm longer than two minutes. And conversations were no longer possible as the shivers took over and only mutters came out.
We started this semester as classmates and now have grown closer to become lifelong friends.
Thank you all for making this semester a great one and I look forward to working with everyone again in the spring.
Happy holidays to all!
Text and photographs by Megan Recher
Time flies, our third week in Munich is over and as usual there is a lot of work to do, but most of all there are interesting people to meet and great places to visit. On Wednesday we visited Apostelin-Juni Kirche in Augsburg where we had a guided tour with Frank Lattke, the church’s architect, through the all-wood church located in Sheridan Park. He explained the reasons behind some major design decisions -like acoustics, natural lighting, and material in the building, and how important it was to have the community involved in its design and construction. We were also able to present our project to him, and get valued feedback on our design and material decisions for our house.
After enjoying some German snacks and pastries in Augsburg, we headed to our second destination in Binswangen, Gumpp & Maier. Here we met with the company’s architect, Sebastian Hernandez-Maetschl and learned more about the company’s profile pre-fabricated wood houses, as well as toured the factory where the house modules are assembled. Gumpp & Maier produces on average 60 homes per year and most of the energy they consume is generated with solar panels installed in the roof of the factory. Sebastian also gave our team great advice on how to approach our construction while we constantly think about transport, delivery on site and assembly.
Text and photographs by Andrea Tosi
Our second week in Munich not only included a lot of design but also an excursion to Prague! After a short train ride, we’ve reached the capital city of the Czech Republic.
First we visited the Prague Castle, with the St. Vitus Cathedral which stores the Czech Crown Jewels. We then visited the American Embassy and take a tour of their gardens which provided us picturesque views of the skyline of Prague. Along the Vltava River, you can see the Nationale-Nederlanden building.
Admiring the architecture and history of Prague was an unforgettable experience that we will always remember… and spend the train ride home sketching.
Written by Megan Recher, Photographs by Michael Rahmatoulin