Lights, Cannons, Bats: Move Move MOVE

DIS design students from various class huddled around the Kronborg Castle 3D plan listening to the professors talk about the day’s plan.

Waking up at around 6AM, I prepared myself for the day by making a sandwich for lunch later, a cup of coffee, and a banana. Since I live with two other design studio students (Ian and Reet), I noticed quickly that Ian and I were the only ones awake. I gently went to Reet’s room to knock on the door to wake Reet up. Apparently, she didn’t need to leave as early. So Ian and I prepared for the day. Ian kindly shared his eggs, and bacon with me. After breakfast, we took our backpacks and our tote bags and headed out the door. Ian and I biked to DGI byen where there is a bus stop station for us to meet up. We parked/locked our bikes and went onto the bus.

Taking the bus to Helsingør was only an hour’s drive, so most of us were talking all the way through. I was sitting next to my classmate Thayer. We talked about what we did the past couple of weeks and what we know about the destination ahead of us. Upon arrival to Helsingør, we saw many interesting exterior designs of buildings. From afar, we were also able to see the Kronberg castle on top of the hill. The bus parked near the castle and we got off to walk into the castle. There we took a pause before walking through the castle walls to discuss what we plan to do for the day. As we walked through the walls, the exterior structure showed clear signs of renovation and repair especially with all the different colored bricks, sandstones, and rocks. We walked into the courtyard where there was a large green clock tower and medieval flags stationed at every door to indicate the next Kronberg exhibit.

We walked past the guillotine that the castle workers had set up for tourists to take pictures with. We also walked past the wooden stilts for guests to play with. Walking into the castle, there is a long spiral staircase that winds to the left as you go up. My friend Mags informed me that stairs were designed this way in the Renaissance because people are used to being right handed and therefore having left spiral staircase going up slows one down.

We walked in an saw many old tapestries. The tapestries were slightly faded perhaps because it has been in this castle after all those years. The walls were plain white and much more humble and stark in comparison to that of Chateau de Versailles. There wasn’t much ornamentations. There were however many royal dresses, gowns, and suits. After the walking through all that, we were led to the Throne room. The throne room had many renaissance paintings and had two thrones that one could sit on.

Considering that this building was a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I thought I wasn’t allowed to sit on the throne but there wasn’t anything barring one from sitting – so my professor and I decided to sit on it.

After looking at the history of the paintings and the tapestries, we decided to go into the casemates – the place where Holger Danske was ‘sleeping’. Thayer was telling me that in the winter there would be bats in the casemates and as an environmental science major, I kind of wanted to see a bat.

Walking through the tunnels, it was dark and felt like I was in a dungeon. The only source of light were oil lamps and the screen of our phones. There were moments of sunlight, but very little. It is surprising to know that soldiers would be there to hide from enemies and that there were provisions for them here. After exploring the maze of the tunnels, the exit was found to be near the entrance of the castle. I met up with the group in the courtyard and we departed to see the cannons that aimed towards Sweden. We were told that before Sweden and Denmark had established a nice relationship they had been in conflict with each other. The fake cannons pointed towards Sweden is to give a visual image of what that would’ve been like. The cannons were also aimed at pirate ships and any boats aiming to cross past Denmark without paying a tax fine.

We walked back where we came from to head towards the M/S Maritime Museum. Birgitte Borup, my professor for the architecture foundation course, talked about how the architecture company BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) won the competition for the design of this museum because they utilized the old harbor as the space for the museum. This allowed more above ground view of the Kronberg Castle. Because the museum descends into the harbor, you are fully immersed into the history of Maritime travel and trade.

Upon descending into the museum, you enter the giftshop area where one could also get their tickets from the reception. After getting tickets, we went to the lockers to put our stuff away. Once the class was gathered, we went into the exhibit. There was a lot of history about maritime travel and Denmark’s place within that. There was also an exhibit about Maritime uniform’s influence on fashion. In the museum, there was an area that children could play and learn. As we walked through the exhibit, I felt like I was riding a wave. The zigzag structure of the museum and the constant incline and decline of stairs and ramps made it feel like I was on the water.

After looking through the exhibits in the M/S maritime museum, we went to get lunch at the nearby cafe. Some of us had gone to the food stalls in the street food warehouse nearby. I had brought a sandwich and a clementine with me because I didn’t want to spend money. I ended up drawing a bit of the Kronberg castle while eating.

After drawing and eating, we waited for the late bus. We had a schedule and the bus we were supposed to board disappeared for a good 30 minutes. We sat on the grass and bathed in the sun for a bit. Meanwhile, I wanted to stand in the shade because I didn’t bring sunscreen with me. After the bus had arrived, the bus drove to the Louisiana Modern Art Museum.

When we got to the Louisiana Museum, it was exteriorly similar to the residential buildings in the area. It wasn’t trying to standout, it was modest. It used to be the place were a nobleman and his three wives lived. The three wives were all named Louise. This is why the museum was named Louisiana and why the exterior is so residential looking. The property had amazing gardens with tall trees. Outside of the museum, there are sculptures that complement well with the greenery. One in particular by Richard Serra called Gate in the gorge looked beautiful because of how it works with the landscape and provides a sense of privacy in an outdoor space. It feels humbling in the gorge. There were many other sculptures in the gardens that I have taken pictures you can see below. In the museum, I saw a lot of different artworks and two of them caught my eye in particular because of their funny depiction or relatable imagery. The cross-eyed dog was funny and it distorts and almost mocks the serious nature by which it was painted. The geometric artwork was relatable because of the graphic design work presented. I had taken graphic design before so I felt that the image was very beautiful in the way it played with colors and geometry.

It was nice that the museum also included things that children might enjoy like the exploded size of the Donald Ducks from the comic books. It was also generally something that was good for pictures with. If you want pictures with something the Yayoi Kusama installation was beautiful to be in. The installation is slightly off to the side and super hard to notice especially when a door closes it off. One could fine this place by the long line in the basement. If you can’t find the long line just go down the stairs from the diving board upstairs. You will miss it because it is off to a rather dark corner.

Because I was there for architecture, I was looking at the way that the museums was built. I love the brick pattern near the cafe, the bricks created this play on shadows somehow. The museum itself wasn’t made of brick and mostly of wood, glass and steel looking beams.

To the readers, I’m sorry for the delay. I have been in constant motion and doing many things. I have much to tell you about the rest of the core course week. I’ll continue to show you more of what to see and what to make sure to notice.

Published by Song

Chicago born and raised, Song is passionate about sustainable architecture. He is a junior currently studying environmental science at Knox College, a liberal arts college in Galesburg, IL. He aims to go into an architecture graduate program. He is also a TRIO student and a McNair Scholar.

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