Umeå (Sweden) is popularly known as the City of the Birches. After a large fire 1888th the city began to build broad (and not so broad) avenues with birch trees. Just as some kind of firewall, the barrier protection, a safeguard against the spread of fire in case of a danger. I saw one of the city’s symbols – stainless steel sculpture by Ernst Nordin (1934). I thought to myself it was a stylized birch tree.
It turned out differently – a sculpture represents the impression of a generalized image of the Northern Lights, often characterized by vertical lines, sometimes as if a curtain falling in folds. And my understanding of both associations, visions, translations can work parallel, complementing each other, how it has already put in place in the same city. In this case, the two objects have the same basic color: the foliage of birches and green Northern Lights, which greenness is not so common for this phenomenon.
Photo Nicolás Zea P.
In fact, Umeå most of all surprised and delighted me with their harmonious way of the natural environment and materials – the same greenness (trees, shrubs, grass, flowers) coexists with architecture, urban environment, is coordinated with the construction: residential buildings, a variety of establishments and institutional buildings. Above all, the nature itself has a lot of' different forms. Here, for example, a set of bright attractive corners in the parks or our good known birch tree-lined avenues, beautiful in its directness and naturalness. There are lots of them.
Photo Tage Olsin
Photo Tage Olsin
Secondly, everywhere one feels a space. Nothing is compressed, cluttered, excessive. Everything has its subject, specific task and structure, but at the same time is put in the right place, fitting to natural surroundings so organically, that it seems: otherwise is not possible.
Photo Gösta Wendelius
Photo Mattias Petersson
Umeå is a young city. Well, historically, it is not so very young (1622), although inhabited, naturally, even earlier. However, the average age of the population, especially in the European context is surprisingly low. This is due to the establishment of the university in 1965 and its rapid, dynamic growth. Look, here at the University blocks is 'my' artificial birch and are many natural birches. I like it.
Photo Can Bayram
Now the city has two universities. The whole is filled with young people: laughter and chatter in parks and squares, the seriousness and intense work in libraries, laboratories, lecture rooms. And, of course, life in the streets, cafes, concerts, sports events. Once again, images of urban and natural fusion and harmony: harbor views, the university campus and parting with birches.
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