The Coventry Cathedral

The town of Coventry is the setting for many of England’s historical tales (including that of Lady Godiva!).

The Coventry Cathedral has its own story to tell.

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Coventry Cathedral, February 2016

In the second world war, during the Blitz on Coventry (November 14, 1940), this cathedral burned.

The astute observer may notice that there is no roof; only the walls remain. This could be attributed to the flat roof the cathedral had, compared to a gabled or arched roof that would let the bombs roll off.

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Coventry Cathedral, February 2016

Today the cathedral is a footprint of what it had been. After the war, most of the town of Coventry had to be rebuilt. The cathedral and surrounding roads are the only reminder of what used to be.

The Chichester Weald and Downland Museum

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Weald and Downland Museum, February 2016

I recently traveled to England and explored some quaint rural villages. These villages felt like ‘classic’ England, complete with heritage and rain. While visiting relatives, they suggested we check out the Weald and Downland Museum in Chichester.

This open air museum gathered nearby historic farmsteads and transplanted them onto this site, with the rolling downs as a picturesque backdrop.

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Weald and Downland Museum, February 2016

 

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Mill, February 2016
The Gridshell

The gridshell building is clearly not one of the historic buildings on the site, rather it is a workshop where they assemble the buildings and hold events.

Seeing the exterior of the building, it felt out of place compared to the rest of the village. But inside, I was fascinated to see the visible construction of this large hall – the undulating criss-crossed oak laths. I realize one of the reasons I was so interested in this building was that it resembled a couple of my projects I have completed it in the past, so I am sure this structure will be a precedent for my future projects.

The Parisian Cité Universitaire

The Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris is a large campus in the south of Paris which hosts international students (mostly those in a master or doctorate program). You can see where they got the name from.

It was founded in 1925, and now has 40 residences on the campus, with 10 more underway. It also happens to be the place I will be calling home for the next five months.

The Architecture

Maison International
Maison Internationale
Maison Internationale

La Maison Internationale is the center of the campus and provides services to residents and visitors, including a restaurant, library, theater and swimming pool. It feels like a palace inside and out, so naturally you feel a smidge royal when you enter the lobby – until you have to perform the standard security bag check to proceed any farther and you feel like a regular peasant again.

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Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe
Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe

This was the first house constructed in the Cité U, and has a certain quaintness to it. The little cottages border a small courtyard and it is adorable!

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Fondation Suisse
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Fondation Suisse
Fondation Suisse

The Swiss residence was designed by none other than Le Corbusier. This building is a typical example of his five points of modern architecture – pilotis, roof garden, free facade, free plan, and horizontal windows. I also confirmed that they do indeed have his famous chair in their lounge to complete the look.

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Maison des Étudiants Canadiens
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Maison des Étudiants Canadiens
Maison des Étudiants Canadiens

This distinctively red building is where I am staying. Along the floor of the main corridor, there is a mosaic of a beaver and of a maple leaf. Feels like home.

All of the buildings differ in size and vary in design, which is interesting to see compared to most of central Paris which follows strict regulations to create a homogeneous experience.

The Landscape

With the residences on the edges of the property, the interior remains a park, enjoyed by runners and dog walkers.

Come spring, I am sure this space will become even more lush with the trees sprouting leaves, and even more jam-packed of runners.