By Andy Cunningham
Throughout my life I have been fortunate enough to travel to many places around the world, including Ireland, Germany, Italy, a brief time in the Czech Republic, and even a few weeks in Namibia Africa. These have not only been amazing experiences in just being in different places and seeing different cultures, but also in experiencing different architecture as well. When we first start this program, one of the first classes we have is about architectural history. Throughout this first class, and even throughout the first couple years, my professors always told us that if you have a chance to go visit these places, to do it so that you can really grasp the full aspects of these buildings and I never really took those words to heart until I actually got the chance to visit these places.
During the first I was in Germany, I hadn’t had much thought of going to into architecture as a major, so I didn’t really look at these buildings or spaces, but Germany is a beautiful place. The first time I was there it was a two week trip for my high school concert band, and the first week we were there we lived with host families in a small town called Bietigheim-Bissingen which is a small town about 20 min north of Stuttgart. This was a very interesting week because it was cool to learn the cultures of the small towns in another country. The second week we spent travelling around Germany and the Czech Republic playing concerts for schools and other band programs. My second visit to Germany was on my way to Africa, and to be honest I don’t remember much of this because of the sleep deprivation of being up for what I believe was around 30 hours at that point because of not sleeping on the plane ride there. Two things that I do remember however is seeing the puppet show that happens in Marienplatz, and having dinner at the world famous Hofbrauhaus.
My visit to Italy was one that I will probably never forget. This trip was arranged through the architecture club, during the summer of 2012, at College of DuPage, where I did my first two years of undergraduate school. This was a two week trip, with 4 days being spend in Florence and 6 days in Rome. While in Florence we had a lot of time to wander on our own around the city while also having a few guided tours. One of these tours was of the Duomo including getting to go up into the dome and looking out over the city. Looking out over Florence was an amazing experience but the climb to the top of the dome was and experience in itself. It was a lot of steps in a cramped space with not always the most circle of walls around you. In Rome, we got to see the Vatican and even got a tour of the catacombs underneath St. Peters Basilica, we got to see the Coliseum which was a pretty amazing experience just to see the scale of it. My favorite part however was got to the Pantheon. The pantheon is amazing because it has the perfect section, a circle within a square not only in section, but in plan as well. I thought this was a pretty cool while learning about it in school but no picture can give the building justice without being there. This structure is huge. When you step not just inside it, but even just close to it, you just get dwarfed by it amazing size. This building was so incredible that I was there 3 times during that day, partially because of weather and the morning mass starting, but it was still cool enough to go back to multiple times. In the last couple days we were there, we got to go to Trevi fountain, The ruins of a roman bath house, and even got to experience Zaha Hadid’s Maxxi Museum.
For my last memorable trip, it was also during the summer of 2012 and that was to visit my sister in Namibia Africa. This trip was beyond unbelievable, and while this trip wasn’t focused on the architecture aspect the country, I was still able to notice a few things about it. First off in the residential areas of Namibia I noticed that a lot of houses had a very international style about them, and that they all had decent sized fences with barbed wire or fence spikes at the top of them because as our tour guide informed us that there was much more robbery and petty crimes rather than violent times. Another cool architectural thing that I notices was the last two hotels we stayed at, which were just outside of Sossusvlei, and Etosha national park were that the rooms with huts built onto the sides of hills with amazing views of the surrounding areas. Also at these hotel I learned of something that they do there called sun downing, which is basically grab your friends, alcohol, and find a comfy spot and watch the sun go down, which.. Why haven’t I down that before, because it was pretty cool. The last thing that I saw was at the place where my sister worked, all the buildings had thatched roofing with was something that I didn’t see much in the rest of the country.
After reading this you might be thinking where’s some pictures to go with all of this, well I left the memory car with all the pictures on it at home so in the future, I will do a blog with all my pictures from these trips. Overall if you have the chance to go out and visit other countries whether it is to look at their architecture or just to experience something new do it, because it is definitely worthit