où sont toutes les vieilles choses ?

Last Friday, the morning after Ed and Jeanie left town, my class took an *optional* field trip to Nantes (pronounced ‘nont’ with a soft t), France, which is actually the 6th largest city in France and was recently-ish (2004) rated buy Time Magazine as “The Most Livable City in All of Europe.” Apparently such things are measurable – architects, for one, will quantify ANYTHING…

Despite my never having even heard of this place, I have rarely been known to turn down a free EurRail ride, and so I grabbed a seat on the train around 8 am and read about the River Seine for a few good hours before piling off with my peers into the sunny station at Nantes.

Our tour guide Raphael Magrou (he is also our Studio critic along with Veronique Descharrieres who is Bernard Tschumi’s right hand woman – can you say “intimidating?”) is an architecture critic in Paris and was there to make sure that we didn’t spend too much time exploring the historical places in Nantes (heaven forbid) and instead propelled us towards the city’s more modern acoutrements. We visited Le Lieu Unique (a re-appropriated and very rustic cookie factory turned art center (they kept saying “biscuit factory”… oh, British English, we meet again), Jean Nouvel’s slick black Justice of Peace, and, finally, the ENSAN/Ecole nationale supérieure d’architecture de Nantes – I’m guessing you can translate that humble name – typical French reserve.

Do not watch this whole boring video just look at what a muffin Rafael is (and yes that unfortunate auditorium is at Columbia’s Architecture school):

Instead of trying to describe these buildings, I’m going to leave it to the pictures, because I think they’ll do a better job and if I keep writing you’ll stop reading because not everyone in the world likes talking about architecture. But as for looking at it, well, that’s life.


Yes, it’s midterm week and this is what I’m doing ☺

Love,

Fred

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~ by soleilsphere on March 2, 2010.

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