DCI Engineers Hurtado|Hissong design group
DCI Engineers Hurtado|Hissong design group




Chronicling our travel scholarship winner

HDG and DCI designed a scholarship opportunity for students studying in the field of architecture, engineering, and interior design. Follow our 2015 European Scholarship Recipient as they embark on a 21 day journey through Amsterdam, Prague and Berlin and explores the architecture that Europe is famous for. This is our opportunity to give back, we hope you enjoy the journey.

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adventure, Amsterdam, architecture, Barcelona, Berlin, Biking, Castles, Chzech Republic, Cross Laminated Timber, Czech Republic, Doors, engineer, engineering, Europe, european, Experience, Explore, Florence, Food, france, Germany, Glass, Graffiti, Green Roof, international, Italy, Journaling, Lennon Wall, Museum, Netherlands, Night life, Paris, Prague, recipient, River, Rome, Scholarship, Seattle, Soccer, spain, structural, structure, Structures, summer, travel, traveling, Washington, Wood


DCI News


07.28.15 | Amsterdam

Until Next Time!

First and foremost I need to express every extension of gratitude I can to DCI Engineers and HDG Architects as a whole for providing me with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to complete a solo journey through three personality-laden European cities: Prague, Berlin, and Amsterdam.  I’d like to specifically thank Stephanie and Mark Aden as well as Josh Hissong for providing this wonderful chance for civil engineering and architecture students in Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Idaho to fly across the pond and travel for three weeks. Backpacking through Europe is a dream of many but realized by few. Amy Pugh, the Director of Marketing at DCI, was my main contact for uploading and editing blog posts. She made it very easy for me. I only had to upload my posts and photos to Dropbox and the rest was taken care of by her—along with Jami Sollid and Maggie Whaley, both Marketing Coordinators at DCI. Thanks for everyone who spoke with me during my visit to the Seattle DCI office in March and the engineers who took me out to lunch were great. I felt welcomed and included while I was there. And last but not least, I’d like to thank Molly Johnson, the 2014 DCI European Travel Scholarship winner. She was excited for me and happy to talk about her experience last summer. I personally look forward to reading and seeing photographs of the experiences of subsequent scholarship winners.

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07.28.15 | Amsterdam

Relaxing Last Day in Holland

Although this post will be about my last day in Amsterdam and of this wonderful trip, do not fret, there is plenty to blog about in a wrap-up.  I travelled by ferry to Amsterdam-Noord (a borough north of Centraal Station), which is a three minute ride across the IJ (Dutch for “lake”). I spent the early afternoon at a café, perusing new commercial construction, existing residential architecture, and a movie theater/museum that looked like a spaceship.

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07.21.15 | Amsterdam

'Yaking the Grachts

I didn’t cover this in my first Amsterdam blog post, but I met a friend on the train from Berlin to Amsterdam. During the ride, Louise and I talked for awhile, she played some songs on her guitar, and taught me how to strum a few chords as well. It’s suffice to say that I have plenty of trouble finding rhythm on a guitar. It is a personal goal of mine, though, to learn guitar at some point in my life. It was a good way to pass the six-hour train ride! She was in Amsterdam for a wedding so we exchanged contact information and separated when the train pulled into Central Station.

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07.20.15 | Amsterdam

21- Mile Passage Through Dutch Country

Sometime over the course of my first two days in Amsterdam, I decided to look up existing bike routes that I could follow, a sightseeing route per say. I fully expected to find a route within the city, maybe passing by some nice townhouses, a famous museum, or a pretty garden. I happily found an architecture-focused bike route. The fact that it was 34 km long did not faze me at the time. The pdf guide estimated a completion time of four hours and I figured they must have been considering the needed duration with respect to a leisurely bicycling pace. That was not the case.

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07.20.15 | Amsterdam

Biking Through Amsterdam

Anyone looking for an adrenaline rush in Amsterdam need not turn to techno nightclubs or infamous activities the city is known for, if that is not your cup of tea. Simply hop on a bicycle near Dam Square and the surrounding tourist areas to find a thrill. Amsterdam, like many say, is a city made for biking. It’s evident all the way down to the smallest details, like rails to guide you’re bike up staircases so you don’t have to carry it. Not only are the bike lanes clearly marked with mostly white dividing lines but the whole lane is normally brick red distinguishable from the normal pavement where the cars drive. There are traffic signals for cars, walkers, and bikers. There’s more. Mopeds share the bike lanes, and every so often, so do the cars. More than once I was with in a few inches of being clipped. But it’s all part of the fun! Until someone gets hurt, which I haven’t seen happen yet. Even the bikes themselves have adapted though evolution to protect themselves from theft. Dutch bikes have what is called a frame lock—a simple bolt that is attached to the bike near where the back brake would go, and slides through the spokes of the wheel, preventing the back wheel from turning. To engage the lock, you simply twist the key that is in the lock, slide the bolt in place, and the key is removed. The key is stuck in place when the lock is disengaged and can only be removed when you engage the lock.

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07.20.15 | Amsterdam

Who Engineered The Tilting Houses in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is beautiful and thrilling! I love the water; I love the streets; I love the houses; I love the craziness of the bikes, walkers, mopeds, trams, and cars. I have seen no other city that looks like this. The appearance of the street pavement and cobblestones may be similar to streets in Prague, Italy, or some other old European walking city, but the houses are like nowhere else. They are characterized as tall and skinny in shape and are painted in deep color or off-white. Some have brick façades and complementary colored window frames. If you tilt your head, you can see that some of the townhouses are also tilting. I thought this probably had to do with the large amount of water in the area causing instability of the soil. But according to two blogs I found, that is not the case. The houses were apparently designed to tilt forward so that large items could be drawn up the front of the house by homemade cranes without hitting the façade. Houses were designed to be skinny because property taxes were based off of the building’s frontage. This made for skinny staircases!

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07.16.15 | Berlin, Germany

Watering Plants and People at a Parking Garage Rooftop Community Garden and Bar

Museum Island” in Berlin houses a high concentration of museums, as it is appropriately named. As soon as I got off the bus on the island I saw dodecahedron-shaped building. Curious, I climbed the steps and entered the exhibition finding that it housed a forum for information and discussion about a new museum right behind it that was under construction. The forum included three levels of interactive exhibits, wood models and more for both adults and children. One of the more interesting stations was a video screen that asked you to pick the dividing point between blue and green on a spectrum of blue and green. Afterwards, it showed a comparison between the results from different lingual groups. For instance, in the Vietnamese language, there is no differentiation between blue and green, it is just called “xanh”.

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07.16.15 | Berlin, Germany

What do glass and the German state have in common?

Combining architectural styles of a Gothic church and an ancient Greek temple, the Reichstag building is one of the main tourist attractions in Berlin, mostly due to the glass dome on the top that houses a spiral walkway leading to a prodigious, 360° view of the city. This German parliament building was first built 1894 but fell into disuse during WWII. The Nazis never used it for governmental purposes.

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07.13.15 | Berlin, Germany

Holocaust, Brandenburg, Tempelhof

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin was the first Holocaust remembrance site I had ever visited. The site included a graveyard-like area of more than a thousand off-kilter blocks of concrete and a visiting center with immersive text and images set up similar to a museum. On the walking tour I did in Prague, the guide said that the design of this memorial was partially inspired by the Jewish cemetery in Prague, where many Jewish people were buried in a small area and the gravestones were off-kilter and crowded together. Many resources online say that the grid of semi-tilted concrete blocks that range from 0.2 m to 5 m in height are meant to be disorienting and instill the sense of loss that was felt by the Jews and other victims during the war. I slowly walked through the sea of blocks and found that the most intense feelings I got was when I walked from the edge of the array towards the middle, as the ground slopes down and the concrete blocks grow higher. It felt as if I was being swallowed into a grave where I could still see the outside world through the grid of blocks but couldn’t escape.

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07.13.15 | Berlin, Germany

Tall Timber in Berlin

On Thursday I trekked to the neighborhood of Prenzlauerberg in order to find the famous timber apartment building, E3. This building is a 7-story apartment building located in a residential neighborhood. The façade is covered in a stucco-like paint just like all of the other surrounding buildings in order to match the visual format of the area. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to get a guided tour of the building by the designer or engineer and thus appreciated the building from the outside. E3 is a “passive house,” meaning it is designed to specific regulations to be more energy efficient. A passive house, unlike LEED certification in the U.S., has more measurable performance-based metrics and is focused mostly on energy efficiency whereas LEED awards points for more varied aspects of the building. Wanting to meet the architects who designed the building, I called them that day and was invited to come by the office late afternoon the next day.

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07.13.15 | Berlin, Germany

East Side Gallery, Turkish Market, & Gedächtniskirche

The first full day in Berlin I found the ruins of a church in the Zoologischer Garten area of Berlin. I was in this area, finally, after spending hours attempting to acquire a nano-SIM card for my iPhone. The church I came across is named the Gedächtniskirche, or Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. The original church was built in 1890 and was bombed during WWII. The church that stands there now was mostly rebuilt in 1959 but has retained the damaged spire from the original structure. It was interesting to see a stone ruin in the middle of a city surrounded by new buildings. That environment isn’t normally what comes to mind when thinking of ruins.

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07.13.15 | Berlin, Germany

#BerlinAlternative

Walking out of the train into Berlin Hauptbahnhof (haupt=main, bahn=train, hof=courtyard, hauptbahnhof=main train station), my first thought was, “this is a very large train station.” Walking out of the train station, my first thought was, “this is a very large city.” Multiple times a day, since my arrival, I have thought, “this is a very big city.” I knew Berlin was a fairly big city before coming to Europe, and a few days before arriving in Berlin, someone told me it was huge. It was when I actually got here that I realized how vast everything is…and my excitement started to build.

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07.08.15 | Czech Republic

Sbohem Prague!

The Lennon Wall was one of the few places I chose to sit down for a longer than usual period of time in order to see what experience this frequented tourist attraction could provide me with. First, some background on the wall would be helpful. The wall was first started being tagged in 1988 with grievances from young Czechs who were followers of the “Lennonism” Movement. Since then it has been tagged over and over, erasing old graffiti and creating new art, most of it continuing the Lennon theme but not all. For example, just this past November (2014), a group of art students white-washed the entire wall and then sprayed-painted, in block letters, “THE WALL IS OVER.” Since then, the words were changed to “THE WAR IS OVER” and the wall is completely covered in artwork again. During the ten to fifteen minutes in which I sat by the wall I was able to get an feeling for the flow of tourists that came through that area and saw two American girls spray paint an American flag on the right end of the wall because today was July 4th.

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07.06.15 | Czech Republic

Prague Castle & Late Night Guided Tours

So much happened during my first full day in Prague that I must keep writing about it.  Finishing off from the end of my last post (Green Roofs & Healthy Living), I spent a majority of the afternoon figuring out how to do a load of laundry. According to the internet, do-it-yourself laundromats are common in the US (obviously) and Western Europe, but not Eastern Europe. The hotel here offers a per-article service, which I’ve personally never encountered before. The “laundry service” down the street additionally offers a per-load service for about 240 Czech koruna (Czech crowns, CZK, or $11 USD). I don’t know about you but I’ve never spent half of that to do a load of laundry. When I’ve traveled in the past, I found that scrubbing clothes in a sink was a good option but after further internet research I came across the idea of throwing your clothes in a bathtub with hot, soapy water. It worked well! The only issue was finding enough places in the room to hang it all up.

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07.06.15 | Czech Republic

Green Roofs & Healthy Living

One of my favorite activities while on vacation is to workout in the morning. During those weeks where school or work is prevalent, there are pressing tasks that compete for your time. Being on vacation, you get to choose your own destiny at any time, and exercising rises high on the priority list for me, in a many situations.

During a morning run on my first full day in Prague, I headed to an exercise park I found online. It was 1.7 km (1 mi) from my hotel. It was already hot out but it was a good run and there were some outdoor exercise equipment there. I also sat down and talked to a local for a short while, which was nice. We planned to meet up later in the day as well!

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07.06.15 | Czech Republic

#1 City in all of Europe

Finally in Prague! When I speak to people who have travelled through Europe, every one of them said Prague was one of their favorite cities in Europe. On the walk to my hotel, I chatted with a friend I had made on the bus. She had been traveling for two weeks already but had been staying in each city either for only one night or for only part of a day! It made me thankful I would be having the opposite experience.

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Prague, Travel, Adventure, Blogging, Europe

07.02.15 | Czech Republic

On my way to the Czech Republic

My main summer trip that DCI Engineers and HDG Architects provided me with has just started. I will be in Prague, Berlin, and Amsterdam, each for a whole week! Based on personal experience, it is my opinion a week in a city is an ideal amount of time to spend there, for me at least.

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05.11.15 | Seattle, Washington

Meet Kyle Sullivan: 2015 European Scholarship Winner

Oregon State University graduate student Kyle Sullivan has a natural curiosity for innovation. It’s a key personality trait which appealed to DCI Engineers and HDG Architecture when it came to selecting a winner for the 2015 European Scholarship, a program sponsored by both firms. DCI and HDG proudly offered this annual scholarship again for a college student studying structural or construction engineering, architecture, or interior design to experience Europe’s history of design and modern day industry practices.

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02.09.15 | Seattle, Washington

Meet Kyle! 2nd Year Winner Has Been Selected!

DCI Engineers and HDG Architecture are excited to announce this year’s winner of their travel scholarship that offers one Pacific Northwest student the opportunity to spend 21 days exploring Europe. The winner’s mission is to discover the engineering and architectural marvels in the cities of Berlin, Prague and Amsterdam.

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