Month: February 2016

Rethinking abandoned underground spaces in Paris

I wonder if you saw the story earlier this year about the Parisian mayoral candidate, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, who during her campaign joined forces with two architects to conjure and design inventive re-use proposals for the city’s abandoned metro stations? The Parisian metro is the sixth largest in the world and possibly one of the most storied. You’ve seen it in movies, probably heard tourists’ tales about it, and if fortunate, you’ve perhaps experienced it for yourself. I remember it well from my time living in Paris, mostly riding through the depths of its mightily efficient system to university classes on the famed Left Bank and also to the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (the National Library of France) in the 13th Arrondissement, where I could be found, head buried in microfiche, reading about obscure Latin American educational approaches. Ah, the flights of academic fancy that accompany tertiary education! Anyway, I quite liked the metro (although was somewhat partial to the Parisian bus system for the wonderful opportunity to soak in all the sights above ground) and …

Tearing Down and Building Up

I popped by the house the other day and was a little taken aback to see it as a shell (literally) of its former self. There it was, almost naked on a very cold, gray, New England winter day. The siding had been stripped away, revealing haphazardly placed darkened wood. Where there were once windows, there were now gaping holes that stared back at me like empty eye sockets. Partly because of the historic restrictions on changing the facade and partly because our contractor had suggested the windows would go in the previous week, I just hadn’t been expecting the bare bones that I came upon as I rounded the corner of our street and glanced the house for the first time in weeks. To give you a sense of the change, I quickly sent a photo of the house to my partner and it was so different that at first he didn’t even recognize it. And yet, as I wandered around the site, squelching through mud and trampling the small crunchy mounds of snow, …