Tuesday, May 31, 2011

pics from the day

First day in Kathmandu: A few scenes

Where there are more temples than people. And how you can see how.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Qatar: An architect's playground

As architecture students, Qatar couldn't be a better classroom. On one side of the street you see American fast food chains and the other a Jean Nouvel tower. It's a great lesson in what to do and what not to do, I suppose. We got a fantastic tour of the city today before leaving for Kathmandu where I now type from. Our tour guide was quite proud to show us the palatial residential and commercial developments that they hope will drive in the masses. We also learned that they provide newly married couples with an interest free loan and $250,000 to start their family, so maybe we just might end up here with those masses.

 IM Pei's Museum of Islamic Art. Gorgeous collection and exhibitions. Animated tour guide included.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

First stop: Qatar

And we're here! After a 12 hour flight we've arrived to sweltering heat here in Qatar. We weren't expecting to arrive to such familiar places:
 We enjoyed a beautiful dinner at the market, Souq Qaqif.

And now we're off to explore some other beauties today before our flight to Kathmandu later. See you soon!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

And we're off!

Sayonara folks! We're off to find some Spirit of Place adventures. First stop, Doha. See you tomorrow! And don't forget to check out our Facebook group site or add as a friend here. I'll be adding photos/videos as we go along so make sure to check in!
Take a look at these Nepalese students from the village. Darling!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Human remains

Sometimes you just never know what your shovel will dig up. Human bones were found on the site of the memorial as the local craftsmen continue work on the base of the memorial, no doubt a reminder of the great work they are doing. 1 more day until the students take off to Qatar then off to Nepal! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Student bio: Kristyn McKenzie

Kristyn with her poetic models
Hi my name is Kristyn McKenzie. I am a graduate student studying architecture at Catholic University. Participating in the Spirit of Place class is an experience I have been waiting for throughout my academic architecture career. Finally being able to do so is truly an opportunity of a lifetime especially since it is taking place in Nepal. I feel that seeing the project from the metaphor inspiration stage all the way through to the final reveal and celebration will make me even more proud to be in the field of architecture. I am most looking forward to working with the people from the village and being immersed into their culture. I am very excited to have this opportunity to meet new friends.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

6 more days!

Guess what?

Thanks Evan!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

pouring the foundation

13 more days until we're there!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Student bio: Allie Steimel

Allie with her poetic model
Time to spotlight our students! First up, meet Allie Steimel. 

"I am approaching the end of my first year of graduate school for architecture at Catholic University. I've always been interested in the spiritual and cultural aspect of architecture as well as the human experience, so that's what drove me to choose Cultural Studies/Sacred Space as my concentration. I'm very excited to be traveling to Nepal this summer for the Spirit of Place project! Through the project, I hope to gain a better knowledge of construction, as well as a better understanding of the Nepali culture."

Student bio: Miguel Castro

Miguel with his poetic model
A bit of good fortune landed Miguel in the right place at the right time to participate in this year's Spirit of Place--Nepal.

I became involved with Spirit of Place randomly. I had to choose an architectural elective to take to finish off my final semester here at CUA as a graduating senior, and this was one that seemed the most interesting, I wasn't aware that it was going to be a mini studio I would be taking on the side, but once I learned that the project we would take part in designing will actually be built and in Nepal, I could not help but be more interested in the course. 

I was never aware at a young age that I had a deep connection with architecture. I remember being interested in architectural drawings (primarily section and plan drawings) and actually understanding space through these drawings alone. In high school I took a drafting class that eventually made me want to pursue it once I graduated.

I am taking a year off of studies for now. I plan to travel to Peru for a few months and explore the places I haven't seen or visited. If that doesn't go through, I will be looking for a job. Then, I plan to go to grad school after this year.

How many times in my life will I be able to go to Nepal? How often am I going to be able to say that I took part in a design and construction of a building in another part of the world? Nepal is going to quite an experience not only architecturally but culturally.

I have no clue about construction. I do know how to get rid of that blinking 12:00 light on old school vcr's and cable boxes...if that helps in anyway. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011


The team prepares the site by digging out the foundation before pouring the concrete in for the ancestor memorial on Namje Hill before we arrive. And somehow, they look like they are having a great time!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the locals

We're lucky enough to work with local artisans and builders on the site in a few weeks. Right now they are busy preparing the foundation for when we arrive. We can't wait to meet them and get cracking!

Monday, May 9, 2011

soiling and puja

We have less than 30 days before we start construction and we have some great progress taking place. Our Nepal counterparts have finished preparing the stepped footing, lined with gravel made by hand by village women. Next up, setting the rebar and pouring the concrete. They are currently gathering all the concrete materials from all the surrounding villages. On top of that, the village shamans performed a puja for the work and health of all those involved. We're well on our way!