Architecture Guide

Architectural travel on the cheap

From the plane

Gone are the days of cheap travel, I cannot believe how expensive flights and hotels have become.  Not long ago we could get half-way around the world for what now seems like peanuts.  But for us curious explorers we cannot stop traveling and visiting our favorite architectural landmarks so we must find other ways to save. 

Here are my travel budget tips to offset the costs of traveling.

(from a float plane on my way Salmon fishing in the Queen Charlotte Islands, BC)

Do the Research

Before you leave be sure to research the architecture, monuments, museums and towers you plan to visit, jot down the entry fees and compare it to your budget.  If the entry fees are adding up you may need to prioritize (also see 5 TIPS FOR VISITING ARCHITECTURE).  This will be important to help find savings in the tips below.

The Budget

Budgets aren’t my favorite thing either but here is a quick and easy formula:

  1. Start with how much you want or can afford to spend on you trip I would start with that
  2. Subtract all your transportation costs (flights, trains tickets, bus ticket etc.)
  3. Calculate how many days you will need accommodation and do a quick estimate of your average accommodation budget is
  4. You should allow for food and spending money – this is going to vary greatly depending on what country you are going to be.

Remember this is a starting point to make sure things don’t go off track to much, accommodation/ food and spending money is an average number so if one day you are going to a number of monuments but the day after you plan to hang out at the beach it should average out.

Flexibility

When you have flexibility and /or time you can usually find better deals on flights and hotels in the offseason – this will save you money on flights and hotels that you can use towards entry fees and day tours.

We all have to Eat

I am a foodie but sometimes on travels food is fuel and not the main event so what I like to do is try and save money on one meal a day.

Breakfast:  Often I travel with food, a few protein bars or granolar bars because they are easy to transport  or I will go to the market and get some fresh fruit or a treat from the bakery while I am out and about and have that in my hotel room with coffee, if there is a coffee machine in the room.  This is a relaxing and quick way to have breakfast in the morning, often while I review the plan for the day.

Lunch:  if lunch is my money saving meal I will try to have a bigger breakfast and grab a snack on the go midday.  Street food is always my favorite but that will depend on what city you are in. Also if you are having a big breakfast and an early dinner you may skip lunch all together.  If you are close to market grab some fresh fruits and vegetable which are hard to get enough of when traveling.

Istanbul Streetfood 3 Istanbul Streetfood 1 Istanbul Streetfood 2 (variety of street food in Istanbul, Turkey)

Dinner:  this is a bit trickier to save for, but possible, ask your concierge for recommendations and try to stay out of the tourist areas which are normally expensive and not that great.

Some general tips:  If coffee is super pricey, my experience in Tokyo, I have gone to the store and purchased some instant coffee to have in the hotel.

With all these ways to save I do not recommend trying to save a dollar on water.  Drink safe reliable water especially in hot places, if you are in Rome and it is over 40 degrees Celsius it is important to stay hydrated, try grabbing a big bottle of water from the grocery store instead of the stands in front of the Coliseum.

Citypass

Because you have been diligent and done a ton of research prior to your trip you will know which sites you plan to visit and the entry fee prices, but many cities offer a ‘citypass’ (the name of the pass vary from city to city) which basically bundles a bunch of popular city sights for a flat rate.  This is perfect for those who plan to go to enough of the sights on the list.  Many of these value packages offer features such as line-bypass or discounts for other places, stores or shows.  Here are a few examples:

MADRID Tourist Card:  http://www.madridcard.com/en/inicio

TORONTO Citypass:  http://www.citypass.com/toronto

NEW YORK Citypass:  http://www.citypass.com/new-york

BERLIN Welcome Card:  http://www.visitberlin.de/en/welcomecard

To find if the cities you are traveling to have a citypass I typically would Google the city name and the phrase ‘tourist card’, the officially tourist website of the city/country you are going should also have some advertising for it.

Museums

Louvre LensMany Museums and Galleries offer pricing for General Admission, the Temporary Exhibit and typically another price for both.  You can save some money by viewing only the Permanent Collection, it is all new stuff if you have never been there before and if you are really just interested in the architecture you will see the main spaces and most of the building without the up charge on the Temporary Exhibit.

Bilbao Guggenheim Museum

Also try to take advantage of the time where it is free entry, most museums and galleries do offer this so if it works with your schedule try to take advantage but I must warn you it will likely be busy.

louvre-museum

Buy your tickets in advance, sometimes there is a discount for purchasing ahead of time, for some museums and art galleries you need to book a time anyways so I would recommend always looking into this as part of your research.

Tourist Trap

Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten

Prada by Herzog & de Meuron Architekten

Don’t get sucked into the tourist trap of feeling like you need to visit every monument, museum, gallery, ruin and historic something rather which all have entry fees.  Pick and choose which you actually want to go to, perhaps the Arc de Triomphe is awesome enough from the ground floor and you don’t need to go up, the view is pretty cool that was just an example. If you don’t find a bunch of ruins that interesting because history is not your thing you are better to check out an awesome Square or Piazza and have an ice cream or go shopping in some super trendy boutiques.  Don’t feel like you need to hit the top ten listed in some travel guide.

Sleep on the Go

ways_to_sleep

You can save a night’s accommodation if you book an overnight train or flight rather than spending the entire day commuting only to arrive to your destination just to sleep.  If you plan to do this bring a small inflatable pillow, ear plugs or load your iPod with some relaxing white noise, an eye mask and a light blanket.  Be sure to keep you valuables safe, I have sat on top of my passport and money on a few train rides, and try to keep your luggage in easy viewing distance, better a few seats in front of you than behind you.

Discounts

If you are young, a student or a senior you got it made for discounts.  Almost everything offers a discount from public transit to popular landmarks; if it is not advertised ask if there is a discount.  Some reward cards or membership cards offer discounts to hotels and attractions, it’s worth reviewing the offers before booking your trip.

Transportation

Kyoto on BikeTry to walk as much as possible, take public transit or rent a bike over taxis.  You can see the city the best by foot and cover a lot of terrain in a bike.  Do what the locals do to get around, ie:  in Kyoto renting a bike for a few days was perfect, very convenient and flexible, in most cities I take the metro, in Istanbul I saved a ton if money taking the regular commuting ferry up the Bosporus River rather than an expensive tourist cruise, you miss the commentary but the scenery is the same for only a few dollars.

(Kyoto, Japan by bike)

Cash

Try not to exchange money or withdrawal money too frequently, most exchange centers have bad exchange rates and banks can charge fees for each withdrawal (learned this the hard way).  Try to change as much money as you feel comfortable carrying before you leave.  I recommend not keeping all your money in one place no matter how much you have, I always try to have an emergency bill or two tucked somewhere no one would go ie: shoes, bra, sock (gross I know but I would not want to be completely stranded somewhere without even a way to get back to the hotel).   Before you leave it may be worth a quick internet search of where a good place to get cash is or ask your concierge.

Whats Included

It shocks me beyond words that in this day and age free WiFi is not standard in every hotel but many hotels do charge.  It will be beneficial and save you time and money to have free WiFi access with your accommodations, it will be easy to contact friends and family, look up venues you plan to go to, and allows more freedom to change your itinerary and research new things on the fly.

Complimentary breakfast will also save you money if you take full advantage and have a healthy size breakfast you may not to have lunch at all.

More Time – Less Places

Cherry Blossoms

I know I know – there are so many places and so little time but if you cram in too much you won’t enjoy it anyways and be paying to be in an airport, on a train/bus for half your trip.  So stop and smell the roses, it will be easier on your pocket book too.

a happy groupie is an architecture GROUPIE

Visiting Modern Architecture

How to Plan your Architectural Travel

Canova Plaster Cast Museum

I love planning my architectural explorations, for me it is almost as fun as the traveling, however I recognize not everyone feels this way, it can be a lot of work particularly if you want to see it all and don’t want to miss a thing.  I really hate getting back from a great city and missing an amazing architectural project because I didn’t know it was there!

When I went to Venice I was ill prepared and missed a bunch of Carlo Scarpa’s architecture, I have heard his work is amazing from friends and wish I could have experienced it in person (now his work is on my bucket list).  So to prevent this I have outlined my system of travel planning in hopes you will never miss out on any architectural experiences.

Choosing an architecturally rich city

If you haven’t already decided where you want to go one of the methods I use to determine which cities to travel to is to first ask myself and my travel companion: what time of year I want to travel, how long the trip will be and what do we want to gain from the experience.  Most people like to travel where the weather is reasonably good so that will help narrow down where you want to go depending on the time of year.  How long you have will narrow down how far you can go and how many cities you can reasonably see.  There are so many wonderful and exciting cities so once the list has been narrowed down do image searches and talk to people who have been to the places you are interested in – this will definitely help to make your final determination.  If you are like me there are just too many places and not enough time and/or money.

banner

Finding the architecture

Once you have determined the city or cities you are going to visit you can begin to find the architecture.  Research cannot be overstated – the more you do before you leave the less you miss and the more you see!  I always search for as many architectural gems as I can by doing the following:

  • Refer to architecture magazines and books
  • Talk to friends and family about your travel plans they may offer suggestions and tips, most people love to reminiscent about the things they have seen and places they go.  Friends and family are usually a reliable source because they are unbiased and the information and experience is first hand.
  • Image searches, try different keywords, when you see something you like save the picture and try to get the name from the website – the pictures are important because a list of building names can get all confusing after so much research
  • Visit www.archgroupie.com which is our architecture directory of architectural gems organized by city so you are able to skip all this research but if we haven’t covered the city yet – feel free to write us and let us know.
  • Consult various architecture websites, check out this blog post:  12 Awesome ARCHITECTURE websites

Keep an ongoing list of everything you find.  This can be done on your computer, in a sketchbook, on a smartphone app such as Evernote, or all of the above.  Whichever method works best for you, we will organize the information in the next step.

Get Organized

When you believe you got it all or have run out of time for researching begin to vet through the information.  I always rank my researched architecture list into three categories:

1. Absolutely will not leave this city without seeing this building…MUST SEE

2. Really want to see

3. I will live if I don’t see that building

4. Not that interested

Now research the essential information from the top three categories: address, hours, entry fee, tour times, website links, etc.  Make reservations, get tickets if required and prepare anything you may need to visit the building.

Map it out

smartphone 5

There are lots of ways to map out the architecture, you can use Google maps, print a map and label it with a corresponding legend or mark up your travel guide book.  It is important to map it so you can better prepare an itinerary.  Mapping will also help you know when a building is hard to get to or just next door.   I like to always group sites by geography so I do not waste precious time traveling back and forth around the city – on a map it is easy to tell how close or far apart buildings are.

Architecture GROUPIE is creating maps so you can skip all this work too.

Itinerary

Visiting Modern Architecture

Make an itinerary, I have never been too keen on a day by day / hour by hour itinerary but many buildings are not open every day and if you are not careful you can miss out on some great sites because you weren’t organized or well researched.

Based on your “MUST SEE” architecture list outline what days they are open and closed to see if a conflict will occur.  Use your itinerary loosely to figure out how you will get around and what you plan to see and do… be sure to leave flexibility for example if the weather is rainy I like to check out some indoor venues such as a museum.

Documents

It is important to let people know where you are just in case.  I create a small spread sheet with the important information of where I will be and give it to a family member, be sure to include any information you may need as well, such as confirmation numbers, see example below.  Another option is to enter all this information into a sharable calendar such as Tripit, I have not used it yet but plan to give it a try on my next travel adventure.

 Date  City and Flight Info

Hotel (name, address, phone number)

Confirmation Number

Include your email address and phone number at the bottom.

Also it is important to have a copy of important travel documents such as your passport, visa etc.  Save these on your smartphone, tablet or print them out.  I would recommend putting all this important stuff on the cloud (Dropbox Google Drive, etc…) or you can just email it to yourself in case something happens to your device, this way you just need any computer with internet to access this sensitive information and its one less thing to care around. 

Budget

If you are on a budget be sure to take note of ticket prices and free offers.  Some buildings can be viewed from the outside if the tours are really expensive and it isn’t on your “MUST SEE” list.

Also visit:  5 TIPS FOR VISITING MODERN ARCHITECTURE ON A BUDGET

Just remember you will likely never go back to these cities and see these places again so don’t go overboard and miss out on great architecture.

Now all you need to do is pack…  Happy Travels

travel guides - blog

A happy groupie is an architecture GROUPIE – check out the digital maps to save you all this work

tips for visiting modern architecture

are you an architecture groupie?

Years ago I realized…

I am an architecture GROUPIE

thinking, planning, researching and traveling to different cities all over the world visiting modern and contemporary architecture.

The architecture varied in age, size, use, materials and often left me speechless.  There is so much beauty and inspiration in Architecture and I just wanted to see it all.  I still do.

Krematorium - Berlin Architecture   Concilliation Chapel - Berlin   Bundestrag im Reichstag - Berlin Architecture

While I was in Berlin, a Studies Abroad during Grad school, I sought great architecture out.  The old stuff was easy to find but it was the modern and contemporary projects that were the real challenge to find and that was what I was most interested in – I was determined.  So with my detective skills found these buildings and visited dozens upon dozens of amazing projects.  Soon my tours and architectural visits caught on and friends (mostly architecture students) asked me for my modern and contemporary architecture address book.  Because I love architecture and love to share it I not only gave them the address book but advised which where ‘must sees’ and when to go and how to get there.

This went on for years…

Finally I realized I am not the only architecture groupie so I decided this information needed to be shared with all the architecture groupies of the world.

architecture groupie logo for blog

Architecture GROUPIE.com was officially launched in July 2012.  The website’s goal is simple: to locate modern and contemporary architecture for you so you can get to it.  I have carefully edited the information to include an image, the architect, the year it was completed, a weblink and of course the address and closest transit station.

ar·chi·tec·ture:  is the product of planning, designing and constructing buildings which are often perceived as cultural symbols and works of art.
group·ie:  is an ardent fan of a celebrity who follows these celebrities to have sexual relations with them.
ar·chi·tec·ture·group·ie:  is an ardent fan of the celebrity starchitect** who seeks orgasmic pleasure from beautifully planned, designed and constructed buildings, traveling the globe visiting these works of art.
** used to describe architects whose celebrity and critical acclaim have transformed them into idols of the architecture world and may even have given them some degree of fame amongst the general public. (thanks Wikipedia)

So what building’s make the list?  I have tried to be as impartial as I can, including only completed modern and contemporary architecture.  Private residence or projects with sensitive programs have been excluded to respect the privacy of those who inhabit them.  Buildings which are difficult to get to are also limited because going on a wild goose chase for one project is not always the best use of one’s time as well as any projects I could not confidently locate.  There are exceptions to these guidelines but this is the fundamental parameters of the archGROUPIE modern and contemporary architecture directory.

for ADs 2 for ADs 1Currently the directory includes the following cities:  London, Basel, Weil Am Rhein, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tokyo, Berlin, Rotterdam, and Toronto.

but the directory is continuing to grow and now includes maps of selected cities.

A Guie to Modern ArchitectureThis blog has been added to offer helpful tips and information which has come from my experiences and research.  My hope is that this website will help other people see these projects and give more popularity to modern and contemporary architecture amongst the general population.also check out architecture GROUPIE stuff & things  stuff & things

travel guides - blog check out these digital inexpensive architecture travel guides

Vitra Campus – Weil am Rhein

Why visit Weil am Rhein? …. Vitra

Weil am Rhein is a located in Germany but boards onto both Switzerland and France and is about 20 minute drive from Basel, Switzerland.

As an architecture groupie you may be wondering why I would feature such a small and obscure town.  Well Weil am Rhein is home to the Vitra Campus which is a mecca for any modern architectural enthusiast.

Vitra is a furniture company founded in Weil am Rhein, Germany in 1950 by Willi Fehlbaum.  Specializing in the production and retail of furniture originally designed by many internationally celebrated designers.  Priding themselves on creating beautiful well-design and well-made furniture.  Although Vitra is company famous for reproducing furniture designed by many well named architects they have also gained a reputation for commissioning celebrated architects to manufacture, house and exhibit their products.

In 1981 a large fire destroyed most of Vitra Campus who were forced to rebuild and continue to expand.  Nicholas Grimshaw was the first to begin the rebuild and Herzog and de Mueron has been the most recent project, completed in 2010, currently a new Factory Building by Kazuyo Sejima / SANAA is scheduled for completion in 2012.  The Vitra Campus is a collection of contemporary capital ‘A’ architecture.

The Vitra Design Museum by Frank Gehry is an exhibition of the design and architecture of Vitra.

Visit architecturegroupie.com/weil-am-rhein for a directory of the Vitra contemporary architecture.

Vitra Campus

When visiting the Vitra Campus be sure to take a guided architectural tour of the campus as well as a guided tour of the exhibition.

For the tour schedule visit www.vitra.com/en-us/campus/visit .

In addition the new workshop at the center of the Lounge Chair Atelier holds live demonstrations of the production of the famous Lounge Chair by Ray and Charles Eames check out this video demonstration

 

Vitra Miniatures Collection

Besides the modern designed life-size furniture, Vitra also manufactures The Miniatures Collection which is collection of 80 small-scale furniture pieces.  The pieces are considered to be the most influential in design from 1850 to the present day.  Model builders measure the historical original in the museum collection and then scale it down to one sixth of the original size, compile technical documentation and replicated each with impressive precision.  The Vitra Miniatures Collection include The Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe, the Tulip Chair by Saarinen, the Barrel Chair by Frank Lloyd Wright and of course a series of furniture pieces by  Ray and Charles Eames to name a few.

Here is the full Vitra Miniatures Collection

These miniatures can be delivered directly to your home at  Vitra Miniatures at Amazon or click the image below to order.

   



     

If you have been to the Vitra Campus – share your experience with us.


 

5 Tips to Visit Berlin Modern Architecture

There is A LOT of modern architecture in Berlin.  There is so much new architecture to visit the following tips will help you make the most of your trip and your modern architectural visits.

1.  Research & Prioritize

This should be a general rule however if you are in Berlin for a week or less you will not get to it all so spend a bit of time deciding your ‘must sees’.  There are also a number of buildings which close, even some of the public monuments and memorials so make note of the hours of operation.  Berlin may not be a city where you can sleep in everyday or you will miss out on those open hours of operation.  The Berlin Directory at architectureGROUPIE.com includes links to the building websites so you can confirm the hours of operation.

2.  Up High and Down Low

The TV Tower can be seen everywhere in Berlin, with its loaded history it now contains an observatory deck with a 360 degree view of Berlin.  This is a great place to get an overall sense of the location of neighborhoods, architecture and monuments as well as observe how the east and west divide can still be seen in the building mass and city plan arrangement.  Learn more at:  www.tv-turm.de

A boat tour is always a nice break from the walking and trekking but from the water you will be able to get a great view of many architectural gems which front on the waterway.  For tour information visit www.berlin-info.com  which offer many different tour options.

3.  Guides:

When I was in Berlin I brought two travel books which I used and referred to constantly:  I never left my hotel with the Knopf MapGuide: Berlin and the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Berlin.
      

To help you with your research before you leave the Visit Berlin website is jamb packed with information, it is definitely worth a good review before you leave.

4. Guide to Modern Berlin Architecture

A Guide to Modern ArchitectureTo help you discover the modern Berlin architecture you should visit architectureGROUPIE.com/Berlin which is a comprehensive catalog of many modern gems.  The address and closest transit stop is listed to help you on your travels as well as a link to the website and a feature or tip about the building.  All the information is compiled to make your architectural visits easy.

5.  The BVG

The trains (subway) in Berlin will get you everywhere you need to go – they are easy and on time.   The BVG offers some great deals for visitors which get you discounts to a number of other locations and you can buy it online from home so you don’t need to waste valuable vacation time.  Visit:  www.bvg.de

Happy journeys in Berlin.

WHAT YOU NEED WHEN VISITING MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Visiting modern architecture doesn’t require much. In fact you don’t really need anything, but the following is what I always have on hand to make the most of my visit.

1.  SKETCH BOOK

A sketchbook or notebook is always a good idea. Even if you don’t draw it is great to write down your impressions, features you like and don’t like, and things you learned on your visit.  You always think you will remember but if you see a lot of architecture on your travels everything can become blurry and all mixed up after a while. I re-read my notes all the time and it feels as though I was just there.  For those of you who do sketch it is the best method to remember and learn from these great architects. Sketching is also handy if you are not allowed to take pictures, which depends on the building type and owner.

My favorite, and pretty much all the architects I know, is the Moleskine, they come in a variety of colours which makes it easy to differentiate later if you have a lot of them.  They are made with different eights of paper so if you like a heavy marker it won’t bleed through the other side.  But my favourite feature is the folded pouch in the back – I put all my ticket receipts in there for safe keeping or any little papers I don’t want to lose.
    Moleskine Sketchbook


2.  CAMERA

A camera is important for a few reasons:

-Snap shots will help you to quickly document the architectural features you are fond of and want to remember. These quick shots can be cataloged for your use later

-Architectural photography.  This is a topic of its own which I will be writing about soon.

-Video – every camera nowadays has video there is just some architecture that needs to be filmed either because of sounds or the way the building transforms as you move around it.

While I visit modern architecture I usually have two cameras with me: a point-and-shoot and a DSLR which works well.  If I am just taking a quick shot it is sometimes easier just to pull out the small camera, it is also much better for being discrete the big DSLR can create a bit of a scene. My point and shoot is the Sony Cyber-Shot which has a really good battery and a fairly wide-angle lens which is handy for interior shots and it fits in my pocket or small purse.  I have a Canon DSLR but I am about to upgrade to the Canon REBEL T4i which I am very excited about (I will let you know what i think in an upcoming blog).

      

Sony Cyber-Shot                       Canon REBEL T4i

I will have another blog about Cameras for architectural photography.

3.  A GUIDE TO MODERN ARCHITECTURE

It is not easy finding modern architecture, there is a ton of information to get you to the historic architecture but modern architecture is a different story.  I have spent days before a trip searching high and low to find addresses for buildings, I know the building is there but where is it?

ArchitectureGROUPA Guide to Modern ArchitectureIE is a directory of modern architecture cataloged by city around the world for your use.  Each building has an address, the closest transit stop (if available) and a link to the website for further information.  This now makes it easy for you to go visit these cool projects hassle free.

4.  GOOD CITY MAP

There is no point in having a map in a city you don’t know unless it is good and I am pretty picky about my maps. There is one travel map I repeatedly purchase before my travels: Knopf MapGuide.

The Knopf MapGuide are my favorite because the city is broken down into small sections and color coded, each section flips open and contains the map with pictures of landmarks in that area (pictures are good especially for cities that are a different language).  The map guides are small and discrete and have a lot of helpful tips.  There are no gimmicks it is just simple and since the flaps are organized by area it practically organizes my itinerary already.  I also like that I can write on it, some maps are glossy or have so many folds or the paper is too thin, it is important to be able to mark it up with the modern architecture you want to see.

        Knopf MapGuide

5.  WHY architecture GROUPIE is THE BEST ARCHITECTURE GUIDE BOOK:

-EASY TO USE, PRINTABLE and ONLY THE INFORMATION YOU NEED:

-HYPERLINKS and INTERACTIVE FEATURES (add your notes and click MUST SEE)

-TOP CITY TIPS and WALKING DISTANCE DIAGRAM

-NO ADVERTISING / UNSOLICITED PROJECTS

Toronto guide book

Visit:  travelguide.archgroupie.com/

architecture GROUPIE now has digital maps ALSO!

TECH

Less expensive and easy to use – Designed for use on your smart phone, tablet or computer!

6.  AN OPEN MIND

Remember you can learn a lot about what you like and dislike in architecture when visiting projects you don’t necessarily like from a picture. Some architecture is spectacular in person and a photograph does not do it justice and vice versa – just because a building is famous or popular does not mean you need to like it. But there is something to be appreciated in all modern architecture so keep an open mind – it is easy to be critical – a lot of work goes into making architecture.  It has been my opinion that when there is strong reaction to a building (good or bad) it is worth visiting, discussing and thinking about it.

Visit architectureGROUPIE.com a Modern and Contemporary Architecture Travel information.

tips for visiting modern architecture

5 TIPS FOR VISITING ARCHITECTURE

Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre

A few tips I have picked up during my travels visiting architecture in a foreign city.

1. PRIORITIZE:

Sometimes it is impossible to see it all, even with all the planning and research building’s close, weather changes, we get lost, some building’s will take longer to see because they are out-of-the-way or perhaps it is a giant museum that could take a day to see the exhibit, or our travel companion may have had their fill of architecture for the day.

I always list my buildings in three categories before my trip:

1. Absolutely will not leave this city without seeing this building!
2. Really want to see
3. I will live if I don’t see that building

Once all the buildings are placed in a category in my head or on paper I have a better sense of how to setup my travel Itinerary.

2. RESEARCH:

There is nothing worse than a long trek to see an Architectural gem and it is closed. This has happened to me and I have been devastated, particularly because it took a lot of effort to get their too. It is important to double-check the hours and any closures, especially around holidays or for museums. Nowadays most building’s have websites so it is easy however if there is any doubt because you found some conflicted information a quick phone call to confirm or upon arrive at your hotel you can always ask the concierge. If language is an issue a photo of the building has helped me on a number of occasions they may not understand you but a picture is worth a thousand words. Trust me it is worth it to be prepared, particularly for the architecture in the “must see” category.

3. GROUP BY GEOGRAPHY:

It is always easier to do a few neighborhoods in a day rather than going back and forth all over town. A map marking out where the architecture is located helps clearly identify if they are close together or if any of the building’s are far and singled out. In my experience if a single building is far off the radar I go back to my priority list and determine if it is worth the additional effort and time, occasionally a building can drop a category in the list if there is no public transit or it will take the whole day to get to. Visit the architecturegroupie website for an address list of modern architecture which is organized by city and includes clear photos of the architecture featured. The Maps are available to eliminate the need to plot your own course.

4. TAKE A TOUR:

A building tour can be a great, sometimes the only way, to get inside and see the architecture. Always ask if there are architecture tours available, they may not run as often but the tour is usually tailored to the information an architecture groupie would be interested in. If the tour doesn’t work with your schedule or your wallet you can do some internet research or puck up a book on the architect or building which will provide information and increase your appreciation and experiencing.

5. ENJOY WHAT THE ARCHITECTURE HOLDS!

Many tourist just hit the hot spots take a picture and are on their way. I doubt any architecture groupies fall into this category however it is always worth spending some more time and enjoy the building for its intended use. So if you are in a carefully designed museum go through the exhibit, a solemn church deserves a moment of silence or in a beautiful shopping mall – go shopping! does the architecture bring out the purpose well?

architecture groupies do not need to know everything about architecture – they just need to enjoy it.