Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Antwerp: With Friends pt. 2

Another Late night, but after a quick nap I'm making an effort to still make my "Monday" post.  Its St. Patricks day and we've got two Irish folk in the office so I may be celebrating tonight and didn't want to miss another two days.  Also someone mentioned that my posts seem to be "slowing down."  That's motivation right there.  Also, 4 votes for Rotterdam... If there happen to be 5 people looking for Paris they'd better speak up in the comments today as I'm planning on going this weekend.
So, we last left our architecture heroes at Hangar 26 where they looked at the architecture building.  Little did they know, but in the near vicinity was a brand spankin new piece of architecture by Neutelings called the MAS Museum.  We got to see it mid-progress and I think we all decided if they stopped building right where they were it would end up as a better building.  In the photo (and rest of the photos in the album) you'll see that there is this cool spiral void cut out of the mass.  Unfortunately you'll also see that they're beginning to close off the awesome void with stupid wavy glazing.  One of the most impressive (and unshowable) parts of the project is the site:  On a platform in the middle of a secondary canal heading out towards the main river.  This makes it partially isolated and providing the visitors with awesome views of lower Antwerp.  Unfortunately, the stupid curved glass will ALWAYS be in glare.  It would be like surrounding the top of Rockefeller Center with frosted glass so you only get a blurry view of Manhattan.
After the mini excursion we headed back towards the "downtown" area of Antwerp to catch the end of a cattle show.  I met a Belgian Blue here... This is a cow with a mutation including a secondary layer of muscle that has been breed mainly in Belgium, hence the name.  Awkward and true story:  After seeing the cattle, our native Belgian tour guide (and co-worker) decided to show us the Red Light District.  We weren't the only group on a tour, but that didn't make it any less awkward.  One of the reasons he brought us was that one specific corridor was designed recently by a Belgian architect specifically to function within the district.  Lots of tiny "storefronts" with the ladies standing by the door.  No photos though... for obvious reasons in addition to the fact that a member of the group brought out a camera and an angry larger woman popped outta nowhere to yell, "NO CAMERAS!"  Fun times.
Like any tour of a city by a group of architects, you eventually end up at the cities architectural book store/museum. We were determined not to go in the museum, but I still took a pic of the cool entrance space.  We also just did some aimless wandering, and I'd love to include some more pics but in reality there are just too many.  At the top I included a picture of a cool graffiti park, there should be a bunch more in the album.  Also... Obligatory waffle photo.  It was good, but my waffle guy does a better job.
From this point on a bunch of people went their separate ways, a few remained to continue trekking through Antwerp.  There was nothing of note to comment about, just a few cool projects that you can see in the album.  We ended up getting pizza at a relatively inexpensive pizza place, but were very confused by the menu in the process.  It turns out Prosciutto pizza is just the name of the pizza as it does not include prosciutto, just ham.  I wasn't sure what to make of this, but the pizza was good anyway so I was happy.  We took a later train back and got to see the station lit up, which was again impressive.  
Everyone enjoy their St. Pattys day and drink something green... preferably alcoholic.

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