Now that I've gotten back to the States and have settled into Q4 (and by "have settled into" I mean "have been hit by the Mack truck that is"....though I think maybe they loaded the Q4 Mack truck just slightly less full than those of the prior quarters), it's time to recap the Barcelona GBE and post some pictures! Beware, I'm cramming all you ever wanted to know about the Barcelona GBE into this one post, so go grab a cup of coffee, hit up the restroom, and make sure you're in a comfy chair before starting this....
First, to explain the course:
1.) Course name: Design as Strategy
2.) Professor: Jeanne Liedtka (she is amazing!)
3.) Credits: 1.5 credits that count toward the Second Year elective requirement (or equal to a one-quarter long regular class)
4.) Academic requirements/work load: reading a coursepack of articles on Barcelona, strategy, and design; attending about 12 hours of class and participating in reflection/discussion; attending field trips to numerous design and tourist sites; completing a journal of reflections and insights to be handed in upon return to Charlottesville
5.) Cost: Around $3500, including course fee, airfare, and food/beverage/sundry purchases. You can take out loans to cover these costs.
Most of us flew out Friday from DC, connecting through London. Some of us attempted to do some of our required course readings on the plane or during the connection.
Darden students at Heathrow
Paella - yum!Day 1
On Sunday, we battled jet lag and got up early to head to class. We walked up the hill to IESE together and then basically had the entirety of the school to ourselves (there were a couple learning team-type groups of IESE students meeting together, though - so it's not just a Darden thing!). We talked about design for a couple hours, and then we met up with our first tour guide and boarded a bus to Colonia Guell. Colonia Guell was a textile mill "colony" established by Eusebi Guell, who was a fairly progressive, wealthy Barcelona resident and a patron of architect Antoni Gaudi. The Colonia included not only the mill but also houses for the workers, a school, cooperative shops, and a church. Guell hired Gaudi to design the church for the Colonia, though Gaudi only completed the crypt portion of the church before Guell died and his sons cut off funding. Pictures of the crypt are below.
Gaudi's crypt at Colonia Guell
For those unfamiliar with Gaudi, he is known for several things:
1.) Mosaics (example from the exterior of the crypt below).
Mosaic2.) "Natural" structures - for instance, the Colonia crypt is built of brick, which has been left exposed rather than being hidden behind stucco or the moral equivalent of sheet rock or anything like that.
3.) Catenary arches - Gaudi actually modelled many of his buildings using inverted chain models, like the replica shown below. When inverted (as reflected in a mirror and shown below), the arches are self-supporting. There's a bunch of physics behind the whole concept that I can't articulate well, but our tour guides and the engineers in our class explained it a bunch of times - basically, the forces exerted by gravity when the chain is upside down are equivalent to the forces exerted by the materials when the arch is standing up.
Hanging model of the planned whole church (only the crypt was built)
"Upright" reflected model
Interior arches in the crypt
Following the trip to Colonia Guell, we took the bus to Park Guell. This was another site where Eusebi Guell hired Gaudi to do the architectural work. The whole property was intended to be a self-contained residential development of sorts, complete with a market square, a park area, and houses. However, now it is basically just a park, as again Gaudi was foiled by the issue of funding and the development was stopped mid-process. At the part, Gaudi focused on tailoring his work to the landscape, rather than terracing the hill and forcing nature to do as he wished.
Viaduct at Park Guell
Plants along the viaduct at Park Guell
GBE'ers walking down alongside the viaduct
Gaudi also briefly lived at Park Guell in this house:
Part of the plan for the development at Park Guell included a main square on top of an open market of sorts:
The ceiling of the marketplace, under the square, includes more of Gaudi's trademark mosaics:
At the front entrance to the Park, Gaudi built two houses that I believe were originally intended to hold either shops or community services (like phones, etc.). I think they look like gingerbread houses:
After we left the Park, folks again rallied to go out, while I succumbed to jet lag and got a nice full night of sleep.
On Day 2, we again started with a couple of hours of class at IESE. By the time we were done with class and walked outside to get on the bus, we were stunned to see that it was SNOWING. Seriously, the snow seemed to follow us from Charlottesville to Barcelona. But, it wasn't sticking yet, so we weren't too concerned. We drove to La Sagrada Familia, another incomplete Gaudi work (are you sensing a theme?). He had planned the Sagrada Familia to be the "People's Cathedral" of Barcelona. It is entirely funded by donations; if you pay to go inside and see the museum and the interior, your admission fee funds the construction. Apparently, if you contribute, you are also being forgiven for your sins. While, as a business student, I recognize how ingenious that PR campaign may have been in a nominally catholic country, it still smacks slightly of the days of indulgences to me (go brush up on your European history...). Here's a shot of the front of the cathedral:
Besalu - totally beautiful
Some of the girls in front of a church in Besalu - yes, there were an outrageous number of green coats
Part of the bridge in Besalu
The next day was our "free day" to explore the city on our own (which partially explains why we were all so willing to stay out partying the night before). Julie and I headed to Casa Batllo, another Gaudi building. This was by far my favorite of his works.
View of the city from the Spanish Palace
AA and the Barca fans
But the views on the ride up the mountain were beautiful, and it was a great ride.