Bremen, Germany, August 2011
Read in Spanish
Just about ten minutes after the sun scared away the rain and the white clouds, my cell phone rang. I answered my phone and a happy and inviting voice said “Hey man the sun is up, let’s do this”.
It was Patrik, my 22 year old neighbor who studies architecture in the Hochschule Bremen. I had scheduled with him a bicycle tour through the green streets of this city. We met just outside our home on Haller Straße in the calm and friendly neighborhood of Findorff that used to be a concentration camp back in WWII. We grabbed our bikes and were ready to ride. We took a right on Augsburger Straße managed to jump a couple of sidewalks, swift through a tunnel over the train rails and pedaled our way into a big wide street that led us straight to the Weser River, one of Patriks favourite places. “I go this way to school everyday. I really enjoy this.”
We arrived at a place he called Europahafen, Europe Harbour, that was built to get traiding buisness back into Bremen. “Here we will make our first stop The Weser Tower” Patrik said, while he was still slowly riding his bike. The Weser Tower is a modern office building with a sky bar called Sichtbar that overlooks the Weser River. “I like this place, specially this building. You see the building is completely transparent, light enters everywhere and the blinds that are located outside are used to regulate the incoming rays. A very good way to save electricity, plus it looks great because every time a blind is moved it grants a new look to the building.” Patrik also explained to me that in his studies the teachers strongly emphasis the use of the so called green architecture to solve or prevent environmental issues. This interesting building has also a small recreational area that lies on the river front where one can sit on the cement benches in a sunny day and enjoy the midday pause while eating lunch. In a city where the warmth of the sun is scarce, this type of places where you can receive the sun rays in all it’s might are the HAMMER as a local Bremer natives would say.
Towards our next stop we followed the river up south until we found the first of many bridges that crossed the Weser. In between the river there is a peninsula with the entrance to a peculiar suburb within the city. To enter one must pass through a small tunnel where on the first sight you will find the Weserburg Museum of Art (it actually means Wesercastle Museum of Art) where mostly local artist exhibit their work and the Teerhof Straße, the main street of these urban suburbia. “I found this place one time geting lost on the way to my father’s. I don’t think I would have entered for other reason. This place reminds me of a Medieval Castle were high walls are constructed to protect it and everything is surrounded by water” Patrik commented. As an architect he explained that we would rather work on projects that unite the city and not separate it.
As we barely glanced this area he took me to one of his favorite buildings just a couple of blocks from there: The Beluga Building. “This building is state of the art. It has won a couple of prices. What I like about it is the way it’s integrated in the mood of the city.” he said. The building is the main headquarter of the Beluga Group a world renowned company on the heavy shipping transportation industry. Built by HASLOB KRUSE + PARTNER, this building resembles the facade of a ship at sea. The upper floor, were one can find a very fancy skybar called Outer Roads that offers the possibility to overlook the new and the old part of the city. The building works as connecting point for those who want to admire both sides of the city, left and right of the Weser as the Bremers say.
“I have been to Vienna and I loved it. Traveling to Vienna opened my eyes to what the true potential of Bremen can be, and as an architect I think that is very important. When you travel and get to know new places you learn to value more what you have and where you live, and most important you learn how to make it better.”
And that was how Patrik and Bremen gave me something more to think about when traveling.