travel

Inspiration Abroad: Morocco and Dubai by Atelier Drome

marrakech - jemaa el-fna.jpg

You know when you travel to a place and everyone always craves the “local” experience? Well if you want that, my first suggestion for you would be to visit Morocco. It’s hard not to see and experience the day to day life of locals in the old medinas of Morocco. The old medinas are the ultimate transformation of space. Before 10am and after 8pm the storefronts are closed and streets are for the most part empty (other than your local gang of cats). During the day the streets lined with doors become lines of shops spilling out onto the streets.  Now you’re dodging either the donkey and cart or the man speaking French to you trying to sell you Aragon oil or black soap. The old medinas are where Moroccans spend their days buying, selling, eating, socializing, and of course drinking mint tea.

Opposing the streets are lush interiors containing courtyards filled with plants, intricacies of plaster hand carvings, and tile work. You’d find this type of detail not only in Mosques and palaces, but in buildings like the airport and train station. 

The Yves Saint Laurent museum in Marrakech, designed by Studio kO, was one of the few “modern” buildings we saw in Morocco. Its appearance was out of simple masonry that transformed into a lightweight, delicate material exploring new patterns and defying gravity with an upward sloping curve.

The last stop was to Dubai for a wedding. Most of our time was spent visiting and celebrating with college friends, and not a lot of time for sightseeing. And yes, we were awe struck by the mammoth that was the Burj Khalifa, but it was the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi that I will dream about for years to come. Abu Dhabi is a city that is built on multiple islands and connected with bridges, so a building nestled in the water along with the mangroves only seems natural right? The museum is contained within a series of buildings all being protected by the layers of structure creating the massive dome above. All of the supporting structure of the dome is hidden from the perspective of viewers making it appear to be floating regardless of where you were in the museum. We learned from a friend of Sultan’s, who worked at the Louvre, that the structure is meant to resemble stars and in the morning the light would beam through the dome creating changing patterns on the ground, buildings and water surface. The overall experience was dreamlike.    


Inspiration Abroad is an ongoing series from the travels and explorations of the team at ATELIER DROME team and the things that inspire, delight and invigorate.

This inspirational edition is by designer Cassie Lang, a Washington native who loves getting outdoors, exploring the world and it was through the search for balance between art and math that she found herself falling in love with architecture where the two blended perfectly. Read more about Cassie in her bio.

architecture + water by George Maroussis

 Ever since my first visit as a student, Japanese architecture has always inspired me through its thoughtful consideration of the relationship between nature and the built environment.  As I was looking through my photos from a recent trip to Japan, I was again struck by the powerful examples of this relationship, most notably with respect to water.  Below are some interesting instances of this harmony between structure and water in Japan that I encountered on my past visits. Feel free to share your own favorite examples in the comments:


Ninomaru Palace and gardens at the Nijo Castle in Kyoto

Benesse House Hotel in Naoshima by Tadao Ando

Yokohama waterfront

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Teshima Art Museum  by Ryue Nishizawa

Naoshima Ferry Terminal by SANAA

Kinkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto

Dotonbori District, Osaka

Yokohama Ferry Terminal by FOA



an intern's tokyo travels by Claire Grotz

Tokyo may be the greatest city on the planet. The metropolitan area alone spans roughly 1808km2, hosting an estimated 37 million residents making it the most densely populated city in the world. Only from one of the few centralized vantage points can one even attempt to understand the scale of the city. From Tokyo Tower, visitors can see Tokyo’s structures reach the horizon line in all directions.
Despite its density, a visit to Tokyo reveals its inherent livability. A rapidly increasing population forced intelligent city planning and an array of architecture that deserves to be seen up close. Each neighborhood reveals a different piece of Tokyo’s complex history.
The architecture itself helps to illustrate the anomaly that is Japanese culture; heavily rooted in tradition, simultaneously swept by technology and innovation. Neighborhoods transcend from the more traditional wooden sukiya-zukuri style to contemporary dwellings made of galvanized steel and concrete.
My advice: buy a Pasmo pass (transit card) and bring your best walking shoes. With more than 47 major neighborhoods to explore, you really never know what you’ll find in Tokyo. But, with so many hidden gems and spectacles to be seen, you won’t want to miss anything, so you’d better get started










Personal Travel Sketches by Unknown


These are some of my personal travel sketches from Study Abroad program in 2013. Enjoy!
-Sherif Sugiyama





















Villa Rotonda in Vicenza, Italy





















Camposanto Monumentale in Pisa, Italy





















Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy





















Piazza San Marco in Venezia, Italy





















Duomo Dogale di Palmanova, Italy





















From the left:

Baroque portal seen in the Old Quarter of Krakow, Poland

Portal of Uica Kanonicza in Krakow, Poland

Mitoraj's sculpture at Courtyard of Collegium Iuridicum of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland






















From the left:

Mitoraj's sculpture at Poznan shopping mall in Poznan, Poland

Statue of Apollo in Poznan, Poland

Entrance to Fara Poznanska in Poznan, Poland





















Sketches inVenezia, Italy





















 Bibliotheca Alexandria, Egypt





















Void in Jewish Museum Berlin, Germny