Today I’d like to talk about two different events I attended which are a little outside the scope of my usual work and tourist activities. The first was an organized dinner for female architects in Germany and France. The dinner moves around from place to place in an attempt to build up the community of women in architecture. We all met at a restaurant downtown. There were about 20 of us, architects mainly, but also art historians, urban planners, photographers, museum curators and even a food blogger. At each place there was a little paper place-mat with questions and a pen so you could record your thoughts and answers. Conversation flowed easily. Most of the diners had met before, but there were several new faces, including my own. On occasion the hosts would spur the conversation further along by asking general prompts. The only rule was that you could not bring up Angela Merkel. Apparently, she is too often the topic of conversations among feminist women in Germany and everyone at the dinner considered her to be a tired topic. As talk ranged from one subject to another the question of food deserts came up. It would seem that food deserts are a purely American phenomenon based on the confusion of the two urban planners. The food blogger knew what they were and we filled them in. It was a truly enjoyable evening and I left with a better understanding of art and architecture in Berlin and the challenges facing female architects everywhere.
The other event I attended recently was a Grasshopper presentation at the Technical university of Berlin. Grasshopper is a parametric tool which is a plug in for the modeling software Rhino. I am just starting to learn it at work, so my boss asked if I could be the photographer for this event. The presentation consisted of a conglomeration of 6 smaller presentations. Each speaker had ten minutes or so to showcase a project they made with grasshopper. There were a couple architects and even a fabricator. The highlight was a presentation from a structural engineer who used Grasshopper in conjunction with structural software to optimize the material use of a small footbridge. The bridge ended up being a true work of art and the speaker wrote a paper on the process. I will have to find this paper because it is fascinating use of software. These two experiences are unique in my time here in Berlin and I am happy to share some of them with you.