Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gehry and Gstaad

Earlier this week, I visited my dad's campus to meet him for lunch. Most of you know my dad works for Novartis, a pharmaceutical company headquartered here in Basel. A few weeks ago the International Herald Tribune wrote a piece on the campus, which I believe re-ran in the Times a few days later:

Anyway, the campus is really cool because each building is made by a different accomplished architect or artist collaboration, Gehry, Siza, Federle etc. Originally all the buildings were intended to be white squares, but then they decided that might be boring. Everything is still pretty square, but exciting to look at, and then of course there's the incredibly non-square Gehry. The campus also has the world's largest freestanding glass building. It's only used as a security checkpoint! But it's all glass, not even structural supports.

So, the main street, Fabrikstrasse:

The Diener & Diener/Federle:

The Sejima and Nishizawa collaboration:

The Gehry:

Last weekend I went skiing in Gstaad. Notable for the ridiculous weather. Here's a photo from the top.

You can see a bowl of alpine peaks just peeking out above a cloud. That is the cloud I descended into and stayed in all day. There was a visibility of between 5 and 10 feet. And cliffs. So I had to feel for death with my poles. It was terrifying, but I wasn't about to waste a day on skis. Even though at times the whiteout was so bad that I actually felt nauseous, as I literally couldn't tell what was up or down and couldn't see my feet and there was just impenetrable white in every direction. Weird to feel claustrophobic while in what would normally be actually is an incredibly open space.
The view from my chairlift, just before the chair in front of me faded from view:

So, my most eventful skiing in a few years. Also, the train I took to Gstaad was called the White Bull. I'm quite convinced this is the tackiest thing Switzerland has to offer. The train had bullprints down the aisle, and occasional seats covered with "white bull" fur. Every time the train left a station there would be a Southwestern "yeeehawwww welcome to the white bullllll" except awkwardly in German. The guy who brought the coffee cart around was dressed in a white bull costume.

Hopefully I'll be traveling a bit soon. Will definitely be in London by the 28th, New York on the 2nd, followed by DC and Boston. Let me know if you're going to be in those places. I'll be looking for playmates/places to stay.

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