Winding Down


We are coming to the final days of our time in Madrid, which means it is time for the final’s crunch.  Our residence is beginning to look more and more like a studio each day.  We designers really know how to utilize our options for work space.  Last Monday we had a group review before heading to Córdoba and Granada, and coming back from the trip it is amazing to see everyone’s projects taking form.


Team Thyssen hard at work



Speaking of the trip, our time in Andalusia was awe inspiring from beginning to end.  Although the bus ride was five hours, it provided the chance to see the seemingly endless landscapes of Spain.  I was sleeping through most of the ride (as I always do), but each time I awoke we were in a drastically different landscape.  Once it was jagged hills scattered and silhouetted against a yellow sky.  Another was the flattest expanseI have ever seen.  Rolling green hills were the next terrain a groggy me woke up to.  This constant change paired with my sleepiness created a surreal dreamscape that characterized the journey to Andalusia.

The Madinat al-Zahra reminded me of our time in Rome.  We were able to view artifacts found on the archaeological grounds and then wander through the ruins in the rain.  The rain gave way to bright skies for our time in Córdoba.  Getting to see the Great Mosque in Córdoba was an architect’s dream.  Pictures do not do it justice (I am going to post some anyways) and cannot accurately capture all the details of the space.  By the time we arrived in Granada we were all exhausted from our long day, but this didn’t stop us from enjoying the beautiful hotel we were staying in.  After a quick walk to get tapas and dinner, we had an early bed in order to prepare for our real adventure in Granada.


Our first morning began with what seemed like an all uphill walk, but it was worth it for what lay at the top.  The Alhambra complex stood tall on the top of the hill.  The better part of the morning and afternoon were spent wandering through the breathtaking gardens and palace on the complex.  It was a nice change of pace to be able to take our time and fully experience the Alhambra and sketch.  After exploring the complex, Amy, Emily, Adam, Jake T., and I went on our own to explore the rest of Granada.  We chose to visit the Albaicín district even though it required walking down the hill we climbed just to go up the adjacent one.  We wandered through the white buildings that filled the streets until we wound up at Mirador San Nicolás which looked out onto the Alhambra with the hills and mountains behind.  We then decided this wasn’t a high enough view point for us, and spotting what seemed like a church on top of an even higher point we began our hike.  Although none of us were expecting to climb as much as we did (Emily and Amy impressively did it in dresses) the view from the top was everything we could have hoped for.  We looked down on all of Granada while enjoying grassy hills and the sound of drums from the hippies living in the hills.   After descending back down the hill we headed towards the Alhambra again to experience it this time at night.  The lights enhanced all the intricate details that filled the space.

Our final day in Granada we went for a change in architecture and paid a visit to Andalucia’s Museum of Memory.  The towering museum stood out among the surrounding buildings and provided a thorough overview of the history of the region.  Wanting to enjoy the last of the warm weather, we picnicked outside before heading back to Madrid.  The trip provided the opportunity to not only experience a different side of Spain, but to clear our heads before the final push towards finals.

Now our projects progress forward once more after our short break from reality.  I am both excited and nervous for the chaos that comes with final reviews.  It has been fascinating studying the museums and urban design of Madrid, and hopefully we do the city justice through our projects.  Our final days are approaching fast, and I add Madrid onto the list of cities I will greatly miss.  This semester has truly been one I will never forget.


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