Four grown kids, five delightful grandchildren, constant, long-time partner. A retired academic, I'm adapting to life in a Vancouver condo after decades in a waterfront home on a very small (Canadian) West Coast island. Keen to discover what new priorities emerge, what interests persist, in this urban life after 60!
September Dreaming Spring . . . French Spring . . .
Although I love where I live, especially when Orcas swim by. and although I appreciate September's cooling days with the return to classes, meeting new students, greeting my colleagues again, my thoughts do sometimes drift wistfully back to France. When they do, I remember that there are photos I haven't yet posted from this last spring's visit. I offered a few the other day of architectural details in Paris, mostly reflecting the rectilinear constraints of urban density.
The lines of "the other" Pompidou centre-- not the one in Paris' Beaubourg area, that is, but the one in Metz-- are much more liberated, swooping over the roof's curves to echo the clouds above, arranging themselves into hexagons apparently inspired by a woven bamboo hat, but which suggested Stars of David to me -- and I'm apparently not alone, according to this worthwhile article on the building.
We could quite happily have spent a day exploring this building and its exhibits, but we'd left our visit 'til the day of our departure, and we only had a morning before our train back to Paris.
But if you're at all interested in contemporary architecture in France, this building by Shigeru Ban, in collaboration with Jean de Gastines, is worth travelling to Metz to see. Especially since Metz itself is a repository of architectural history. If you'll remember, it's home to my favourite cathedral ever/so far, St. Maximin (as well as to the best quiche!).
There's also a glorious opera house and a railway station imposingly reflective of German imperialism as well as the fortifications surrounding the city.
Meanwhile, this soaring contemporary interior exults on a blue-skied, light-filled day, and I'm curious about what it will be like in the greyer season. I'm reading a fascinating book on cities right now from a philosopher's perspective (Mark Kingwell's Concrete Reveries) and his attention to thresholds -- between outside and inside, public and private, for example -- influences my re-viewing of the building through these photos, so that I see how transparent, how light, are the membranes between in and out here, and yet what a different atmosphere is achieved in this great hall.
We're off to a city today, but one much closer to home. It's my last marking-free weekend for a long while, and my niece is bringing my two-month-old grand-nephew from their small northern city to meet his maternal family at a brunch hosted in the new home of my sister and BIL, recently back at the Coast after years in Manitoba's much colder climes. So family riches and September sunshine, ferry rides and baby hugs, all will keep me happily in my West Coast present.
But you'll pardon me if I day-dream, just occasionally, about springtime in Metz . . .
Where will you be, and where will you be dreaming of?