Friday, April 29, 2011

Useful stones.

Once again, I'm talking about stones. Where I live (Alt Empordà, the Northern East area of Spain) there are mountains full of stone walls, in order to make usable terrasses and cultivate olive groves and vineyard; this is functional architecture. There are not in use anymore, but it's part of our historical and cultural heritage and characterizes the whole area.

These are some shots I took two months ago.

Images by Muffins in my backpack.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mixing materials.

I love construction materials with "strong personality", such as stone; they add character to a building. And it's even better, when a building has a mixture of these materials.
One of these mixings is the stone and corten steel duo.

The first project is the Salt Museum, in Salins-les-Bains (France), by Malcotti Roussey Architectes. They won the competition for the restoration of the salt works. They restored the original complex made of stone and added modern gestures by using steel which is related to another new building next to the museum (assigned to be a casino, restaurant and auditorium).

It was recommended not to cover the old walls saturated with salt, so this hermetic box (made of Indaten® construction steel sheeting) creates a new interior to the museum.

The next project is the CN Castel, in Fundão (Portugal), by Comoco. This project was about conservating Castelo Novo's Castel and its surroundings, and building a new space for visitors to enjoy this place.

The architects thought of a new organic and abstract object, which changes depending on the site: acting like a defined volume or a pavement and stairs. The construction was made with metal structures that don't damage the old ones.

Salt Museum: (Via Archdaily and diariodesign. Photos by Nicolas Waltefaugle)
CN Castle: (Via Archdaily. Photos by FG+SG: Fernando Guerra and Sergio Guerra)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Different types for different things.

I took this picture the other day because I loved the way my ballet flats and my dirty mountain boots seemed they were playing the "find the difference" game.

Image by Muffins in my backpack.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Little trip to the river.

Last weekend some friends and I decided to go biking. I was the one who had to choose the trip, so I decided to go to Castelló d'Empúries and back. It's a 25km trip of paths by the river. It's been raining a lot these days, so there was plenty of water.

We started in Figueres and picked a country path until we arrived to Vilanova de la Muga. Just before the village, we crossed the Muga river and followed a track by the river. We got to Castelló d'Empúries, a very beautiful medieval village, with its stone bridge, where we stopped for a little rest. After that, we picked some country paths to get to the path by the Manol river and, then, back home.

Images by Muffins in my backpack.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Inspiring song for a lazy Monday.

I heard this song the other day and I can't stop listening to it.

It is an excellent mash-up of two amazing songs:
- Train - Hey, Soul sister
- Owlcity - Fireflies

It's called Soul of Fireflies, by Norwegian Recycling.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dragons, roses, books.

Today, April 23, is the Saint George festivity. It is a really important day in Catalonia, as a celebration of love and culture: men give women a rose; women give men a book.

The tradition of books is quite recent. In 1926, a bookseller wanted to commemorate the death of Miguel de Cervantes (23 April 1616) by establishing the "day of the book". He got the idea from England, which had already that festivity because of William Shakespeare's death (also 23 April 1616).

The tradition of roses comes from the middle ages because of the legend of Saint George, that in Catalonia takes place in Montblanc back in the 9th century.

It is said that there was a huge terrible dragon who scared the entire village and ate everything on his way. The villagers offered him cows, sheep... but he hadn't enough; so the king decided that people would be randomly chosen to be given as a sacrifice to the monster. Years went by and the dragon did no harm, as he had food.

One day, fate decided that the young princess should be given to the dragon. Some people tried to replace her, but the king was strict and said that everyone was equal in front of the beast. The princess had no choice and started walking to the dragon's cave. On her way to the cave she came across a young knight in a golden armour. She told him to run away of the dragon, but he replied that she would be saved because he came to fight the beast and liberate the village.

The knight, who was Saing George, hurt the monster with his lance. The dragon fell to the ground with the lance stucked in his heart; suddenly, from the dragon's blood grew a rosebush. Saint George gave the most beautiful rose to the princess as a token of love. The king asked the knight to marry his daughter, but Saint George said nothing, got on his white horse and left town.

(Photo: Saint George icon - Reggio Calabria)

More photos here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Getting started.

Everything has its beginning, so does "muffins in my backpack".

I'll write about all these little things that make my day: a lovely book I'm reading, a must-have piece of furniture, a day trip to a little village...

...everything that I can fit in my imaginary backpack!
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