Hanschen Klein's ColoseumWell dang-it, it happened. My true love for Italy was reunited. I said I wouldn’t return for a while, and then, inevitably,  I always go back to that beautiful romantic-beast of a country. But what’s even better, my truest of loves – fell in love with it too.

IMG_2943 Unfortunately, my love cannot be shared with the Italian airlines, AlItalia. This was the last time we saw our bags… until 5 days later. Yep, we’re going to have to have a little chat.Hanschen Klein's ROMAOn another note, if you find yourself with 48 hours in Rome and you’re overwhelmed with all of the options of things that you can do… I have a fool proof first-timers trip to Rome. You’ll hit the high points and you won’t feel like you missed out on anything too historically significant.

DAY 1 (Full Day): Wander the town — There are a few things that (in my opinion) you absolutely have to see – along with every other tourist. Let your first day be the day that gets you acquainted with the city. Must see’s: Fontana di Trevi (throw your coin into the fountain), the Pantheon (because, shame on you if you don’t!), the Colosseum (go in if you have time, but if not – do a pass by), while your over that way, check out the Arch of Constantine and walk through the Roman Forum (or pass by it and look through the gates), and eat some gelato near the Spanish Steps.  This would definitely be a full day and also a cheap day. The only things you would have to pay to see are the Colosseum and the Roman Forum — and that’s only if you choose to go in!

Hanschen Klein's Pantheon

The Pantheon

Hanschen Klein's PantheonDay 2: Tackle the Vatican — Whether you’re catholic or not, you should check out the Vatican City. Why, you might ask? Are you kidding… you know you want to see the Sistine Chapel by means of the Vatican Museum. Don’t lie to yourself – you do. Let me help you out here — BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE. And that’s for every major museum in Europe. I had never been to Italy during the high tourist season, so I never knew how much of a necessity it really was to buy your tickets in advance. The typical wait time is between 1-2 hours. No joke. Maximize your time – buy in advance and skip the lines!!

HanschenKlein's Vatican Museum

Vatican Museum

HanschenKlein's The Vatican


Interior Walls inside the Vatican

If you’re up for it, climb the stairs to the top of the inner dome and then take another set of stairs if you want to go all the way up and look over the entire city. It’s 5 Euro’s to take the stairs and 7 to take the elevator. Do it. But don’t if you are claustrophobic or afraid of heights. The walls do tend to curve and lean a little. It’s also one-way, so it’s difficult to go backwards once you start.

Hanschen Klein's Piazza NavonaAnd once you’ve exhausted yourself, get some vino and sit down at a nice restaurant at Piazza Navona.  And for all of you Dan Brown fan’s… this is the fountain where the bad guy attempts to drown the last cardinal. I love this city. Give yourself time to get lost and discover new things around you. Live it and Love it.


Peace and Love Throughout the World

Plano, Illinois: The Farnsworth House

The beautiful, the magnificent, the work of art — The Farnsworth House. Have you ever been to a place and been in awe of what stands before you? I’ve been fortunate enough to have it happen to me a few times. It happened again, when I went here, to Plano, Illinois. It all started when we went to celebrate my fathers 60th Birthday with my brother and sister -in-law, who live just outside of Bloomington, IL. I was thinking of what we might be able to do in the surrounding area and I thought to myself, “What in the world are we going to do in the middle-of-nowhere Illinois?” And then I got to thinking, there is a Masterpiece in the middle-of-nowhere IL! Thank goodness I remembered. It’s such of work of art. I would hate to put my experience into words because I felt like it was so much more than that – like trying to explain a perfect meal, a piece of art… or something along those lines.

We took a Docent Tour that we had to book in advance and as we were the last group for the day, we were able to stay a bit longer and enjoy the grounds and ask questions. Definitely the way to go if you plan on visiting. They don’t allow pictures on the interior, which is a bit of a shame because I can’t show you in pictures the massive amounts of design that went into the space. Even the jamb’s in the door were well thought out. This piece of architecture was a marvel at the time it was constructed in 1951 and is still ahead of its time today. Here are a few of the pictures that I loved. Let me know if you have any questions. BTW, it was absolutely fantastic. My entire family (both those in design and completely outside of design) enjoyed the trip. I think for any one person it helps explain what truly extraordinary design can accomplish. The perfect balance between function and form – a true masterpiece.

Photo taken by NoelR

Photo taken by NoelR

Photo taken by NoelR

Look at those happy design nerds!


I’m so thankful I got to see some pretty wonderful people this weekend: my bestie, my dad and talked to my mom and my other bestie. AND this weekend I’ve spent the first 24 hours in my new house… have I mentioned that I have now “lived” here for 4.5 weeks!!! Yes, I have been just a little busy.

Photo taken by NoelR

Okay, so we’re not just design nerds… we just nerds.


Graz, Austria

Hello all. I’m finally settled back home and I’m not jetlagged — to0 badly. Although, I did take a nap an hour after I woke up. This jetlag is much better than when I got back from China. We’ll see. Anyways… my first full day in Austria was spent in a little city called Graz, just a 2.5 hour train ride South of Vienna. Ever heard of it? Yeah, I hadn’t either. But this guy recommended it to me and he know’s his stuff and he’s a trusted travel source and comedian! The town is a mix of old and new. Which I love. A lot of old historic cities really fight adding any type of modern architecture because most people think it will take away from the “essence” of an old historic city. I strongly disagree. And alternatively, I think in the case of the city of Graz, the adaptation of modern architecture has helped promote the city, add tourism, and revitalize it’s economy.

Sticking with the old = bad.

Doing something new = change = positive renewal.

I digress.

Unknowingly, the Kunsthaus Graz is rotating its collection and the large exhibition spaces were closed!! WOMP WOMP. But this is what we saw.

This is the Murinsel. It actually has a small cafe in the center of the walking path. It doesn’t look very exciting in the daylight but at night it comes alive.

I thought this was really cool. It wasn’t highlighting anything special. It was just a canopy in between these buildings.

I really like these stairs. It will take you to the top of the mountain. This is the Grazer Schlossberg which literally translates in to Castle Mountain. Now you can take all of those stairs OR you can take the lazy approach (which is exactly what we did). Check out this really cool elevator and guess what? It’s free. Not always the case.

And that was most of what we saw during our day trip to Graz. I highly recommend it. It was a lovely place. It will be even lovelier when everything opens up this summer. If you have the opportunity, you should definitely schedule a vist. Graz is super cool.

Today I am thankful for: a day at home to readjust my personal time clock.  

One of my fav’s…

Nothing too new is going on since The Fam has left. So I thought I would share one of my favorite pictures that I’ve taken since I’ve been in Shanghai. Enjoy!


Today I am thankful for: not getting merged onto by the bus–I’m so happy I was paying attention. AND for my time with my special someone this morning… via GChat.

Beijing: Yesterday + Today

Yesterday we saw so many cool things. And today we had another full day. I’ll have a longer update on each event later… for now… I’ll just update you in pictures. I hope that’s okay. Tomorrow is another big day. No fireworks for us, I don’t think — however, there will be a really great wall. Above is the CCTV building by architects Rem Koolhaus and Ole Schreeren from OMA.

We also got to see the Olympic Birds Nest by architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron — one of my favorites!

Earlier in the morning we went to the Temple of Heaven and Earth and we walked around the extensive parks and heard a bunch of old people singing. I’m learning that old people sing a lot in these parts. It’s really kinda nice. I took some cute pictures of the kids. Aren’t they precious?

And then later that night we went to the Night Food Market. My Pop’s would have been all over these oysters. And all of the other strange things they had there.

We played it safe and stuck with the fruit. They put sugar all over my watermelon. It was still delicious. We were happy. AND the night market made all of hard work of walking around the city worth it… it reenergized us.

And then today, we had a girls day. We went to the Summer Palace and had a lovely time. That place is so huge!!! I wish I could say we covered all of it but I think we would be lucky to say that we covered a 1/3 of it. Oh well. Life is Good.


Today I am thankful for: my bargaining skills. I’m getting really good at it. Helen (my Popo) comes out and does her thing. Tonight we were looking for socks. Found some — and the lady told us 3 for 298 yuan. We told her that she was freakin’ crazy and said that we only needed one. She goes down to 100 yuan. Say what? I don’t think so. We walk away (the best tactic of them all) and then they come chasing after us. 50! 50! No way — I say… ok, ok 20!!!! 20!!! We all turned around and said 20??? Hmmmm…. Let’s go for 5.

Structural Review…

This semester our studio is working on a steel competition for a homeless shelter. You probably won’t believe me when I tell you this; however, this detail took me all week long to produce. So my apologize for no exciting St. Pattie’s Day post… that’ll just have to wait until next year.


Today I am thankful for: Spring Break starting tomorrow!!! My Last and Final one. So you know I’ll have some great stuff for you when I get back… and maybe even some guest posts if we get lucky! Be safe, be good… and spread the good word: Peace and Love Throughout the World.

Please note: This drawing has not been approved by a structural engineer. Consult one.

House on the Hill

On my most recent trip to the Farm in Tennessee, I noticed for the second time that there is a beautiful cabin on a hill. And it’s for SALE. It must be mine. For that reason, I will not tell you where it is 🙂

This is part of the beautiful landscape that you see as you make your way up the drive. This is so perfect.

This is the view looking back towards the drive once you’ve arrived on top of the hill. On the right, is the storage shed.

And this is the beautiful Cabin that sits atop the wonderful hill. There is a man made lake at the bottom where the first picture was taken and my boyfriend has already decided where a bike course could run where we can do flips off of ramps into the lake and then build a ski lift to take us back to the top of the hill. I’m sure our neighbors would love us. Oh yes, we live live’s of adventure and ingenuity 🙂 And then on the other side of the cabin there is a fire pit made out of rocks and seats made out of rocks. Ohhhh, I love this house.

Here is the view as you leave the cabin down the drive. Isn’t it perfect? It would be the most perfect graduation present ever! Wishful thinking, right?

Here is a pic of me and my favorite person at the Christmas Tea after the hunt. We were there with all of the riders. Remember this post? It was really cool and they were all so nice. AND there was mistletoe everywhere-thankfully, I had my special someone! I’m sure our wonderful host had something to do with that! I love it up there, hence the reason why I must have that beautiful cabin.


Busy Busy Busy…

I might be busy but thank goodness I’ve got my momma’s gumbo — It has to be the only thing getting me through the craziness of end-of-the-year reviews.

On another note, here is what I saw at 3 a.m. this morning as I was leaving studio… that’s right, Freshman students camped outside the ticket box office for the Clemson v. South Carolina game. With temperatures in the low 40s, I hope those kids made it through the night. Oh to be a freshman again…

Craig Dykers : Snøhetta

The New Norwegian Opera House


So my school (Clemson University) puts on a Lecture Series every year… I have to be honest, they have been such a bore in the past; however, this year seems to be shaping up quite nicely. Last Friday we had the best lecturer come to town.

Name: Craig Dykers


Firm: Snøhetta

And he is seriously a bad ass. Obviously intelligent and more than slightly immature. With all that in mind, I walked away having a better respect for the profession with the knowledge that there really are some amazing businesses out there (his being one of them), that are trying to reshape the idea of architecture, business, and how we look at buildings, people, and our understanding of our surroundings — a way in which we can reshape our environment to leave a better footprint than the one we started with.

I took lots of notes….

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the days events, I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do:

“Apparently that’s what architects do now, push papers and move computers…” (after showing the lecture hall a time lapse photo of what happens in a typical day in his office)

“Sky is a piece of the landscape, as much as the ground.”

“If we’re not careful, we will become prisoners of history. We mush acknowledge but NOT be driven by history…” (in response to his library built in Alexandria, Egypt on a site that is obviously surrounded by ancient artifacts)

And something for architects to remember: Dumb floor plans are good. Simplify. — Craig said so.

WE (my studio class) were lucky enough to have him come to a working review of ours. Here’re a few pics of my partner and I presenting our project to Craig. I’m the big ball of hair.

Photos are compliments of Armando Montilla, edited by AAC

Check out the Snøhetta website here.