Day Trip to Zurich

Calatrava Library
Calatrava Library

Yesterday my studio took a day trip to Zurich, Switzerland. We left at 6:30 am to head towards Giornico, a small town about an hour from Riva. This tiny town has a small museum located in a large field across the river. This little architectural anomaly is made of concrete walls with no openings for light except sidelights from the ceiling. The light inside was much better than I expected from the outside, and the art pieces were uniform amongst the three small rooms. It was a very strange ‘museum,’ because it was so minimal and abandoned. When we came back out, the sun had risen over the closest alp and the light was coming through the sidelights on top of the building and it looked much different than earlier. We finished up and headed back into town for coffee, passing through the beautiful valley of the village.

Our drive to Zurich was filled with snowy views and even snowy air. We wound up and down the country until finally reaching Zurich around noon. Having been here before on spring break, I was somewhat hesitant to return, thinking I had “done it all before.” I was very happily proven wrong! Although it was a much colder day than when Austin and I came a few weeks ago, it was still pretty good weather, and we did a few things that Austin and I did not do when here. Our first stop was the Kunsthaus, the big art museum of the city. One of the reasons we came here is to see the DADA exhibit, a revolutionary movement that mostly began the motion towards the “modern.” The exhibit was interesting, but small, and there were other exhibits to see there as well. One was a giant, dark room filled with strange lights and objects. It was more of experiential art than something that you just look at. There was a wing with renaissance art, and another with modern art. The modern art section had a really nice renovation and was a beautiful space. I’m glad we went there and it was something that I had not done before.

Our next stop was also new to me because it had been closed while I was there. The university has an unbelievably beautiful library by Calatrava, whose work we have seen multiple times this semester. But this was absolutely my favorite building that I have seen of his! The terracing levels of stacks were adorned in long wooden dowels, leading your eye up to the giant spinal skylight. The light and the natural color inside the library were so beautiful. I sat down for a while and sketched, taking in the outstanding architecture.

On our way back to the cars, we stopped at the bar where DADA was born, taking a look at the gift shop and cafe inside. We also stopped at the Calatrava train station, a place that Austin and I found on accident when we were here. It was just as interesting the second time around and even busier. We drove down the street to the Le Corbusier building for a quick stop before heading home.

I enjoyed going back to Zurich, and it is a beautiful city. I was happy to go back to see a few more things, especially the university library!

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