Days 043-051 – A dose of Denmark

life lingers amidst the humidity, a controversial planning experiment in red and the importance of lions in the sun

Day 043

This gestural ink sketch is a streetscape of Koebmagergade, just opposite the iconic Rundetaarn, near the Studenterhuset. It was a gray Saturday with steady rain fluctuating between wet drizzles and heavy downpours, but people were still outside enjoying a lively Saturday despite the gloomy weather. Part of that is culture. People are used to rain and humidity and know how to have fun outdoors in all levels of humidity. But this culture is also created and supported by the infrastructure. Soft, warm lighting doesn’t shine as harshly as powerful LEDs.
Covered walkways shelter people as they devour their street food. The lack of cars on this pedestrianized street prevents the splashes from regularly soaking pedestrians in front of their raincoats. I often look at these active urban rainscapes and smother it all with a culture that refuses to let showers end city life, but there is real work and conscious decisions that make rainy Saturdays like this possible. ci, although I do not see it well a way.

Day 044

During the summer, regular flea markets are held throughout the city. Families and individuals can rent space, set a table, and sell unwanted clothes and goods while getting some fresh air. This particular Sunday was the last market of the season, and I was able to spend time with my host family, sitting along the harbor, sipping hot tea and watching shoppers browse.

Day 045

My Urban Design Journal class was a bit difficult that day. We were focusing on perspective drawings, something that struck me a number of times. From recent college architectural drawing classes to high school foundation courses, to my 6th grade homeroom teacher having us do perspective drawings in art class for an entire year. I’m a little tired of the walkthroughs in perspective. Despite the many lessons, my head was not in a productive space during class. My drawings of interior spaces of Copenhagen City Hall didn’t turn out the way I wanted. In the end, I didn’t want to draw another building or a landscape. So I gave myself a pseudo-break and painted a quick watercolor drawing of one of my classmates that was in a site photo I had taken.

Day 046

Day 1 of a new studio project = a site visit. Our new studio project is to build a food and culture house centered on sustainable food harvesting practices in the port of Skovshoved, north of downtown Copenhagen. The area is obviously artificially constructed and presents a challenge for students accustomed to trying to blend in with urban cores or naturalistic landscapes. by show of hands. But I think this watercolor successfully reminded me of the beauty that can be found in the subtle shades of bluish gray along an autumn coastline.

Day 047

If you’re a student looking for a cheap cup of coffee in Copenhagen, you can’t do better than Bastard Cafe. A board game cafe with deep student discounts during the day and a seemingly endless supply of games to play in the evening. This was the first time I had visited with the intention of studying rather than reveling. The cafe, skylights and bright wall paintings provided the perfect mid-week atmosphere.

Day 048

Apparently my reluctance to draw more buildings didn’t last long. This is a corner building on Noerre Volgade and Jarmers Pl. I’ve never been there and don’t pass by often, but took a photo of it today on my way back from the House international. I had just completed an appointment which gave me my long-awaited CPR number, guaranteeing that I would not be deported from Denmark after 90 days. So no, much to my partner’s relief, starring in a Danish 90 Day Fiance spinoff won’t be necessary. At the moment I just took this photo because I thought it was a beautiful building standing proudly in a corner, but on reflection I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this building reminds me so much of buildings from my intensely German hometown.

Day 049

Ah, Superkilen, the Instagram capital of Greater Copenhagen. The colorful masterpiece of great architects. The wild neighborhood park that many urban theorists – and most of my classmates – hate. This park in the Noerrebro neighborhood was meant to have an eye-catching design that involved the countless cultures of the neighborhood in the decision-making process. This sketch depicts a bright red plaza that represents one-third of the park.

The wall is indeed so bright, but the original paving tiles have been replaced. They were a slippery hazard in Denmark’s frequent downpours. The new tiles have already changed to a vague pink tone. Landmarks that aim to represent different cultures come across as an unintended and sacred act of stereotyping. Rather than drawing inspiration from the community for the project, the planners chose 2-3 potential objects from different countries and asked community members to vote for the one they wanted. The winning pieces were shipped from their home country to Copenhagen, although many of them are large and costly both environmentally and economically.

Ironically, I’m really happy with this sketch despite my thoughts on the park itself. I like the limited color palette and deep values. It was also fun to use the warm, warm tones that I usually ignore – looking at my watercolor palette for 10 seconds will show you that I’m a blue/earth girl, also that I’m messy. So, maybe it’s a reminder that snapshots and beautiful drawings don’t make a successful design.

Day 050

Demonstrations are frequent in the capital of Denmark. I have seen student political rallies calling for action on climate change and marches for women’s rights. This demonstration took place in Raahdudspladsen, just in front of the town hall. A community of Iranians in Copenhagen and allies were protesting against the Iranian government after the death of Mahsa Amini. There were signs calling for women’s rights, large banners declaring a boycott of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and flags, especially the lion and sun flag. As the name suggests, this flag has an image of a lion and a sun in the center. The current official flag has the national emblem and the takbir and replaced the lion and sun flag after the formation of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is common for communities of Iranians abroad to use the lion and sun flag to celebrate their heritage while opposing the current regime.

To be transparent, I did not include any depiction of the Lion and Sun in the center of the flag when I first made this sketch. I didn’t understand its meaning until I did some research while writing this blog post. So I went back and added to the drawing. The flag is not that big, so the lion and the sun became more of a stain, but I think the touch of gold was absolutely necessary to differentiate it from the flag flown by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Day 051

it was the last day before I left for Germany and the Netherlands for a week-long study trip. Naturally, my preparation for this exciting and exhausting week was to take another walk through the trails of Amager Fælled.

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