EXPLORED_ La Muralla Roja

EXPLORED_ la muralla roja by Ricardo Bofill - Hannelore Veelaert for aupaysdesmerveillesblog.be

Some things on your bucket list disappoint when you can finally cross them off, others are exactly what you hoped they would be.  Then there are those that leave you speechless and let you return home with hundreds of photos to edit… La Muralla Roja, or “the red wall”, is definitely in the last category.  The housing complex in Calpe was designed by Ricardo Bofill at the end of the sixties and is an abundance of pink, red, purple and blue, poured into geometric shapes and complimented by luscious green here and there.  With its countless bridges, staircases and vistas (inspired by traditional casbah architecture), wandering through La Muralla Roja is a true adventure.  Not only does there always seem to be a new staircase or view to discover, the building seems to change with the sun and the clouds, surprising you time in time again.  Complete with a rooftop swimming pool, solarium, sauna and rooftop terraces, Bofill‘s design was well ahead of its time and a dream come true for any fan of architecture with a dash of pink!

If the picture overload in this blogpost convinces you to pack your bags and travel to the Costa Blanca yourself, please note that you’re only allowed to enter the site of La Muralla Roja when you’re staying there.  Several apartments in the building are for rent through airbnb, I’ve included the one we stayed at below.  Its interior is not as jaw-dropping as the building itself, but it has everything you need.  Even though you will undoubtedly run into other tourists exploring the building, it’s a quiet place to stay and if you’re lucky (as we were) you have the rooftop pool all to yourself!

La Muralla Roja, e - airbnb (click here for a discount if you're a first time user) - Ricardo Bofill

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WORK_ timeless bungalow by Eddy Francois

timeless bungalow by Eddy Francois - Hannelore Veelaert for aupaysdesmerveillesblog.be

Ever since I turned photographing interiors from a hobby into a career, this blog has been a bit neglected… but that doesn’t mean I’m not still very fond of my own little internet corner!  So, to breathe new life into this blog of mine, I wanted to share one of my favorite interiors shoots of the past few months.  At first sight, it’s hard to pinpoint when this house was built, as this single story house designed by late architect Eddy Francois feels timeless while also referencing those typical bungalows from the seventies.  With its green surroundings, interesting mix of materials and textures and owners Alexandra and Peter’s impeccable selection of furniture, this home is high up on my list of dream houses. If you’re curious to find out more about the house and its owners, have a look at the original feature here  (only in Dutch).  For related interior inspiration have a look here  and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for regular updates!

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EXPLORED_ Santa Clara 1728 in Lisbon

Explored_ Santa Clara 1728 in Lisbon - Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles

It’s early in the afternoon when I cross Campo Clara, a square which is home to the famous flee market Feira da Ladra twice a week.  When I lived in Lisbon a few years ago, I spent many hours wandering this market, looking for second hand treasures, but today I have a different goal.  I’m heading to Santa Clara 1728, a hotel hidden in an old convent on the often busy plaza.  Once I step foot inside the majestic entrance hall, the lively city couldn’t seem further away though.  

Santa Clara 1728 - Campo de Santa Clara 128, 1100-473 Lisbon - website - facebook - instagram 

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FRAGMENTS_ brutalism in Lisbon

FRAGMENTS_ brutalism in Lisbon - Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles

The city of Lisbon might be known for its colorful facades and picturesque street views, that’s not all it has to offer when it comes to architecture.  Because I can never resist brutalist architecture with its geometric shapes and intriguing use of materials, I did a little research on brutalism in Lisbon before my last trip to my favorite city.  A google search led me to the Palácio da Justiça, the courthouse of Lisbon which was designed by Januário Godinho & João Andresen in the sixties.  This mastodont of a building ticks all the brutalist boxes, so if you’re a lover of all things architectural, it is definitely worth a detour from your average tour of the Portugese capital. In that case, don’t forget to checkout my Lisbon city guide for more must visits!

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FRAGMENTS_ Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

Fragments_ Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon - Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles

The combination of plants and rough concrete is one that is always a win in my book and Lisbon‘s Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian proves my point with conviction.  This brutalist museum houses the art collection of the foundation named after businessman and philanthropist Calouste Gulbenkian.  While the ancient and modern art collection is supposed to be impressive (I have to admit I only ever visited the library), it’s the surrounding gardens that truly make my heart beat faster.  The fragments I’m sharing in this blogpost should give you an impression, but why not plan a trip to Lisbon and visit the Gulbenkian yourself?  In case you do: boredom won’t be an option because I’ve updated my Lisbon city guide

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FRAGMENTS_ MAAT

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you have without a doubt noticed I spent the end of the year in my beloved Portugal.  Before meeting up with my family for the holidays, I spent 5 days on my own in Lisbon, doing what I love to do most.  I revisited my favorite places from when I used to live here, discovered new places and wandered the streets of my favorite city with my camera in hand.  I’ll soon blog about my favorite discoveries, but first I wanted to share a few images of the MAAT, Lisbon’s museum for Architecture, Art and Technology.  Last year, the majority of the museum was closed to the public, but this year I had better luck.  While the expositions I visited were interesting, the museum building itself that was the true highlight of my visit.  I couldn’t resist snapping a few new pictures of all the different textures on the billowing facade and the extraordinary view over the Tejo.

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FRAGMENTS_ CCB in Lisbon

During my last visit to Lisbon, I made a quick stop at the CCB in Lisbon’s parish Belém.  I visited this cultural center once before, during my Erasmus in 2012, and absolutely loved it, so I couldn’t resist paying it a second visit after I discovered the MAAT.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go inside and check out the current exhibition (I had a plain to catch), but I did take a closer look at the architecture and was pleasantly surprised.  Due to the winter light, the building seemed to be dressed in soft pink tones, which worked beautifully with the CCB’s surrounding greenery and the building’s composition.  Just in case you have plans to visit Portugal’s capital, don’t forget to check out my city guide for more tips on what to do in (and around) Lisbon.

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FRAGMENTS_ MAAT

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Ever since I read about the new museum for architecture, art and technology in Lisbon, or the MAAT, I couldn’t wait to visit this impressive piece of architecture on the bank of the river Tagus in Lisbon’s district of Belém.  Unfortunately, I was only able to visit the foyer of the museum, as the new exhibitions were still a work in progress.  However, the architecture itself did not disappoint.  The tiled facade, curving towards the river, beautifully reflected both the sound of the waves and the play of light on the water surface.  On the undulating rooftop, the balustrades and stairs collided into a playful composition of lines.  I hope these images give you an impression of Amanda Levete’s design and encourage you to leave Lisbon’s city center for its Belém district.  For more must-visits in the wonderful city of Lisbon, have a look at my city guide here.

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FRAGMENTS_ Le Point du Jour

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During our road trip through France, Lies and I indulged both in breathtaking nature and stunning architecture, and today I’m concluding my report of our trip with the latter.  Le Point du Jour is a housing project designed by Fernand Pouillon between 1957 and 1963 in Boulogne-Billancourt, a Parisian suburb.  The twenty five buildings house no less than 260 apartments, facilities and shops and yet the site never feels dense, on the contrary!  The materials, the lines of the buildings, the greenery and the colors form a perfect composition that never bores the eye.  A must-see if you’re visiting Paris and prefer magnificent architecture over tourist traps, but then again, who doesn’t?

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FRAGMENTS_ Les grands ensembles de paris

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Inspired by Laurent Kronental’s photo series Souvenir d’un Futur, Lies and I decided to see those Grands Ensembles in Paris for ourselves during last summer’s road trip through France.  These enormous housing projects were built between the 1970s and 1980s and were meant to be a solution to the housing crisis, urban migration and the inflow of foreign immigrants, while also meet modern needs.  The resulting buildings must have looked pretty futuristic back then, but nowadays they feel rather like the captivating movie decor of a Modernist utopian city.   We visited three of these Grands Ensembles in the outskirts of Paris during our trip (one of which I didn’t photograph because it felt inappropriate, but you might have already seen Bofill’s Les espaces d’Abraxas in the hunger games movies anyway) and today I’m sharing two, the circular Les Arénes de Picasso in Noisy-Le Grand, designed by Manuel Núñez Yanowsky and the Le Viaduc (1980) and Les Arcades du Lac (1975) in Montigny-le-Bretonneux, designed by Ricardo Bofill and dressed in rosy hues.  If you want to see more of our roadtrip, have a look here on the blog or here on instagram, and keep an eye out for my last post about our vacation if you’re enjoying these posts filled with stunning architecture!

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