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College of Design

Monday, February 23, 2015

Experiential Architecture

Two weeks ago, my fellow architecture students and I ventured to Western Denmark with one of our architecture professors to experience life and architecture outside of Copenhagen. We visited Kolding, Aarhus, and Ebeltoft. We travelled by bus and I learned truly how small Denmark is. Aarhus is closer to Copenhagen than the U of M is to my home! This trip was a great learning experience, and I felt I learned a lot about Denmark as well as architecture in general.

When people think of architecture, they typically think of the noted extravagant buildings like Notre Dame or the Coliseum. Throughout my studies of architecture the past few years, I have learned that architecture is more than just a beautiful or unique building. What has true importance is how the user experiences the space. Architecture would not be all that necessary if people weren't using or inhabiting the space, and therefore the main objective is to create spaces humans feel comfortable in.

IMG_3001-3.jpg In Aarhus, we visited the Aarhus Krematorium by Henning Larson, which is the greatest building I have experienced thus far. The building did in fact house the materials for cremation, but it also had a room where the funeral would occur. My professor was extremely knowledgeable about the building, and therefore was able to tell us the reasoning for every designed element in it--stair height, materials, door width, ceiling height, and even the chair designs. Understanding that an architect intentionally worked with all these individual elements of design to evoke specific emotions for the user is a truly inspiring thought. Dealing with death is so difficult, and having a building that responds and caters to those emotions is a gift. IMG_3000-2.jpg

My small trip to Western Denmark was a friendly reminder that I am definitely pursuing the right major. Architecture has such a strong power on humans, regardless if they are paying attention to the art or not.