What I’ve learned… Natural light is the best light, not only is it eco-friendly, but it illuminates a space better than electrical lighting. Gothic style is beautiful and mysterious, whether it is on the inside or outside of a building it adds a cryptic and mystical beauty.
Over the centuries Germany has been divided into many kingdoms which has resulted in many different architectural styles. Going from one city to another you can see major differences in architecture. From Gothic, to Renaissance, to Romanesque, Germany has it all.
Seeing the change in architecture when driving from Southern Germany to Northern Germany is incredible. My favorite architecture is the typical Bavarian home (and buildings). Bavaria is fascinating. The buildings are in the half-timber style. This style leaves the timber frame exposed along with the panels in-between the timber. Germany is famous for its decorative half-timbering and (FUN FACT) the figures on the sides of the house are known to have names and meanings. From little houses to large 6 story buildings you will find this cage like building style all over Bavaria.
|After World War II and the extensive bombing of major german cities the larger cities had to be rebuilt and the end result was the modern architecture of the day. Even with the Allies take down of Germany there are plenty of magnificent buildings and castles left to see.
Heidelberg Castle, to the right, is an amazing display of Renaissance Architecture. The carved figures on the side of the castle set it apart from other castles I’ve seen. The figures sit between the windows and represent an important person in history. These figures give the castle a very interesting story.
My favorite room in the castle is the Barrel Room. It has a wine barrel that holds over 34,000 gallons of wine, so that was awesome. The room also has amazing gothic windows. This detail made the room stand apart from other rooms in the castle. All the other rooms were in the Renaissance style except this one.
|Driving into Cologne and seeing the Köln Cathedral it looks as if it has been painted onto the sky. It is so gothic and grand it looks as if it can’t be real. This cathedral is one of the most famous examples of Gothic Architecture. It took over 600 years to complete! (with interruptions) The Cathedral was hit with 14 aerial bombs during WWII and was badly damaged, but still remained standing when the rest of the city was all but destroyed.
The stained glass window was recently replaced after the original window was lost during the war. It is absolutely magnificent with its 11,500 multicolored uniformed dots.
The pointed arches used throughout the cathedral, like the ones used all over Venice, came from Islamic architecture. These pointed arches allowed for slimmer columns to be used inside the cathedral. Years of weathering has caused it to look very dark adding more mystery to the grand building.
|After living in several different apartments around Germany I have seen a few common factors in apartment design.
- Lots of natural light! Windows (without screens) everywhere. Always being able to see outside really brightens up the apartment.
- Small kitchens without garbage disposals.
- Small refrigerators and smaller freezers (an ice box)
- The spaces I’ve seen in Germany don’t do the open layout. Each room has a door and is separate from other spaces in the apartment.
- Most walls are masonry. Making them very hard to drill into.
What I’ve learned… Use materials indigenous to the area. (it is eco-friendly) Use nature as a design template for your building or space. Make it blend in with nature.
From what I’ve seen the resorts on the Gulf of Mexico looked very different from the resorts of the Pacific. I loved the west coast resort we stayed at. It was less ‘spring break resort’ looking and more part of nature. The materials used were indigenous to Mexico and helped the buildings blend in with nature. The resort was part of the mountain. The balconies and walls moved like the coastline.
|The buildings and apartments let you take in nature at all times. The ocean and peaceful mountain side is always visible. The open concept of the apartments allows nature to come inside. The breeze and smell from the ocean. The sounds of the crashing waves and animals (or insects) of the land. It is so relaxing.
The open concept also allowed insects, lizards and the occasional bird to fly into your apartment.
The palapa (an open-sided dwelling with a thatched roof made of dried palm leaves) used around the resort and Mexico are perfect for the hot and sometimes rainy weather. While blocking the sun or rain it allows the wondrous breeze of the pacific to flow through. Keeping it cool and relaxed.
I know there is so, so much more to Mexican architecture than resorts, but besides the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza resorts are all I’ve experienced of Mexico thus far.
What I’ve learned… Keep it simple, minimal and functional. The result is amazing.
Let’s start at the bottom, the floors in Sweden are almost always wood, usually light wood. I’ve never seen carpet in a house/apartment here.
- White walls, grays and blues are used a lot. Crazy colors are just not seen that often.
- A lot of wood is used. Whether it’s the floor or the walls.
- Every apartment I’ve been in has had a balcony, no matter how small,which makes for a nice way to connect with nature.
While the insides of the buildings are very neutral the outsides are bright and fun.
- Lots of apartments I’ve seen have small fireplaces. It gets so cold here in the winter that it’s nice to have the extra heat and it adds a cozy feel to the room.
- Clean lines and livable, functional spaces.
- A major aspect of Scandinavian design is how minimal it is when it comes to accessories and extras. It is all about getting rid of clutter.
Pull inspiration from everything you can. Whether you are traveling to a new city or just going around town, find the beauty and passion in where you are.