May 24-26 – Brandon

Short Writer Biography:

My name is Brandon Handy. I’m a quiet guy from a small village at the bottom of Michigan named Quincy. I grew up from humble beginnings and spent my awake hours either playing sports or video games with friends, or tinkering with anything I could get my hands on. From my earliest memories I can recall always being fond of taking things apart and understanding how they worked. I spent probably more time putting things back together than I did taking them a part, but that is just the nature of being a forgetful kid with ADHD. My mind always jumped focus from one topic to the next faster than I could get my hands on the next device. The one thing that came into my life that I could not really let my mind slip from is Chemistry. I took all the Chemistry courses my high school had to offer and was hooked from the start. Once I made it to college, I was overwhelmed with choices, but the one I knew was that I wanted to be a Chemical Engineer.

 

May 24th

We spent our morning in Munich, Germany. Munich is most widely known across the globe for its yearly beer festival, Oktoberfest. Despite the name the festival actually takes place primarily throughout September. Outside of the month of September Munich has many other tourists’ attractions across its beautiful city. Two of the most namely locations are Marienplatz, which is the Marien square along with a new town hall of Munich, and the Hofbräuhaus which is the biggest beer garden in all of Munich. Munich is renowned for its beer gardens and the Hofbräuhaus is famous worldwide.

Marienplatz with the new Town Hall

Hofbräuhaus

Entryway of the Hofbräuhaus

Entryway of the Hofbräuhaus

The hall was so loud even my picture turned out blurry. 😛

Memorabilia from the original distillery

Memorabilia from the original distillery

To facilitate a more casual day the group went about an hour and a half car ride south to the town of Hohenschwangau which is home to the infamous Neuschwanstein Castle. The Neuschwanstein Castle is a third generation castle on the land of Hohenschwangau, Germany. Built atop the ruins of both the Vorderhohenschwangau Castle and Hinterhohenschwangau Castle beginning in 1869 and opened in 1886. The castle is open to tourists today with more than 61 million visiting tourists to date. [4]

The castle is and was very modern for its time with running water from the spring in the mountains all the way to having electricity throughout parts of it. Despite the construction timeline, the castle was never finished with about only 1/3 of it in a finished state. The rest of the interior of the castle has barren walls and rooms throughout. The group took a tour of the finished 1/3 of the castle, but were unable to take any photography. The interior was very elegantly done with meticulous detail put into every craft. The exterior of the castle was just as magical as the interior.

Neuschwanstein Castle as seen from the bridge

Despite the climb up to the bridge for the gorgeous view, a few members of the group decided it wasn’t quite good enough and wanted to go higher. They decided to scale a little more up the mountainside for a better view.

Neuschwanstein Castle as seen from the atop the mountain

Neuschwanstein Castle as seen from the atop the mountain

 

If the castle looks vaguely familiar to something seen in the US the reason is because the castle is the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

 

Castle Comparison

Castle Comparison

May 25th and May 26th

Following the visit to Neuschwanstein the group will transition over to Freiburg, Germany. Our main goal when visiting Freiburg was speaking with Craig Morris about the current policies, regulations, and business aspects of Germany. This is my main topic of interest as I want to know what other countries are doing to implement sustainability and what we in the United States can adopt. Following the discussion of Germany as a whole toured Vauban with Joachim Merkle. He is a worker on the solar sector throughout Vauban and other parts of Germany. Vauban is an ecological housing development built on an old French military base. There are about 5,000 inhabitants and sole purpose of the neighborhood is to serve as a model for an urban culture built around sustainability. [4]

The Vauban District

The biggest ecological integration part is the implementation of public transportation. When the planning of the district was underway the planners decided that that first thing they would do is put in a tram system. This would allow people to build around the public transportation instead of trying to fit public transportation to a district already erected. Because of this, the district greatly encouraged citizens to use public transportation or any other form outside of personalized cars. The result is about a .5 car/home situation throughout the city which can be seen in any one of the three car garages throughout the district.

Emptiness within the solar car garage.

Emptiness within the solar car garage.

The second biggest integration is the use of solar energy. This can be seen throughtout the district in use atop homes, business, and even this car garage.

Passive houses with solar paneling.

Passive houses with solar paneling.

Solar paneling atop the solar car garage

Solar paneling atop the solar car garage

The interesting part about the district is the amount of say that the inhabitants had in the planning of the district. Many of the back roads are elegantly vegetated and automobile-less as from the quest of the inhabitants.

Back road without automobiles

Back road without automobiles

The inhabitants of each area also got the chance to decided what their building design should be as well as the parks outside their buildings.

One small park outside of a housing complex

One small park outside of a housing complex

The entire district even puts great amounts of effort into proper recycling of their waste. Their waste is then fed into the district heating system where they utilize the combustibles and the organics respectively.

Waste recycling receptacles

Waste recycling receptacles

Outside of the Vauban quarter the rest of Freiburg also puts great emphasis on sustainability. [ More details can be found in the Topics Blog of Sustainable Urban Planning – Energy]

The weather was really in our favor as the Castle visit was a gentle overcast and the Vauban visit had a light bit of showers, but was relatively nice in the lower 70’s °F

 

Bibliography:

1)Amondson, Birge. “Top 10 Attractions and Sights in Munich.” About.com Germany Travel. About.com, n.d. Web. 8 May 2014. <http://gogermany.about.com/od/citiesandregions/tp/Munich_Top_Sights.htm&gt;.

2)”Neuschwanstein today – Record numbers of visitors and preservation problems.” Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung. © Bayerische Schlösserverwaltung, n.d. Web. 8 May 2014. <http://www.neuschwanstein.de/englisch/palace/&gt;.

3) Humanes, Sandra. 2012. NEUSCHWANSTEIN – EL CASTILLO DE EL REY LUDWING

4)”Sustainable Urban Development Vauban.” Freiburg. Stadt Freiburg, n.d. Web. 8 May 2014. <http://www.fwtm.freiburg.de/servlet/PB/menu/1174690_l2/index.html&gt;.

 

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