This feels unreal! Not only my time in Ghana is nearly over – after having successfully worked on all six inhabited continents, my entire Walz is facing its end. For the first time, this farewell does not mean taking off towards another new place with another unknown path ahead. Instead I will return home – back to the known, back to routine, back to university. Back to boring? However, this post shall not focus on what will come – it shall tell the story of what happened so far.

Inside Accra

First of all, let’s talk about work. I was put in charge of my office’s main architectural project – a large, almost extravagant, residence. When I started, nothing more than drawings existed. Now they are erecting the first columns and slabs. It is an incredible feeling, seeing what you envisioned coming to reality! I might have not had an influence on the architectural concept anymore, yet I was involved in the coordination and harmonization between the different parties and fine tuning of the design. Turns out, even while being constructed, people still come up with new changes. This large responsibility combined with such close collaboration with the engineers was and continues to be a challenging and at the same time very instructive experience.IMG_20190925_090259-big

Free evenings and weekends left me a lot of time to make friends and explore the place. Unintendedly, my friend group ended up consisting mostly of other “obrunis” (= “the ones who came over the horizon” = foreigners/ white men). Guess it’s simply easier to make friends with people who are also new to a place… Anyway, we got quite a hand on the popular ways to spend evenings like a regular salsa night with free lessons, a bar to participate in a pub quiz where we placed first last week, or where the best beaches are for the weekends. A few highlights were the “Africa by Design” exhibition at Ghana club organized by a friend of my boss or “Chale Wote”, a massive, busy, colorful, noisy, creative, crazy street art festival, or just last weekend a huge Afrobeats music festival called “As Promised” with lots of songs we knew from the radio performed live.IMG_20190824_201948

Outside Accra

Some weekends I also left Accra and explored the surroundings. A very early trip took me east to “Wli” – the tallest waterfall in western Africa, where we hiked from the bottom all the way to the summit and enjoyed the view over the mountains and across the border to Togo. On the way there we stopped twice and fed two different kinds of monkeys from our hands. Oh and also our car broke down and had to get it fixed – just don’t ask…DSCF4334

Shortly after that I visited Cape Coast and with it two of the most prominent slave castles (Cape Coast Castle, Elmina Castle) from which the European colonizers organized the slave trade. Standing in the dark dungeons and imagining the cruelty that has taken place here centuries ago, is a powerful experience.DSCF4504

I am glad I also made it into another country: For one weekend I travelled to Togo. I had forgotten my yellow fever vaccination certificate, but luckily my argument “If I didn’t have the vaccination, I wouldn’t even be allowed into Ghana.” seems to have been quite convincing at the border. Either that or it was the bank notes handed over… All in all, it was a lovely weekend! Togolese people seem to be even nicer and friendlier to me than Ghanaians, but that’s maybe just the perception of someone who doesn’t understand the language (note to self: improve your French skills). Lomé is also a very beautiful city: laid out along the beach and quite humble – with simple houses, sand roads and kids playing football everywhere. I was also beyond surprised, considering the fact Germany was a former colonizer, to be shown two big monuments (erected post-independence) honoring the German-Togolese friendship.


Just recently I flew to the north of Ghana (with a plane so tiny, it only had 2+aisle+1 seats in each row) where I visited a friend in a smaller town called Tamale and we continued together to “Mole National Park”. On the safaris through the park – famously known for elephants – we saw monkeys, warthogs, antelopes, termite hills, huge lizards, a crocodile and… no elephants (During raining season they are harder to find for the tourists, as they find water everywhere). However, it was a great weekend. Not to forget that on the way I could also visit the oldest mosque in all Ghana (possibly West Africa?) built some 500 years ago.DSCF4923

Leaving Accra

Undoubtedly, even compared to the different places that I have lived at, Ghana has confronted me with the biggest unfamiliarities. Yet as I already mentioned in mylast blog post, I have gotten used to it surprisingly quickly. Over the past months I have become even more accustomed. I will miss shopping whatever I need conveniently at a red light. Buying snacks that haven’t been carried on someone’s head will simply feel wrong. I hope I can take some of the openness, helpfulness and friendliness with me when I get back.

Unfortunately there are also some habits or customs that I hope I did not adapt. First and foremost there would probably be the extensive use of plastic and especially its careless disposal into nature.

Yet overall, I will miss Ghana and the Ghanaian way of life a lot! I will carry the Black Star in my heart with me…



Due to all these exciting adventures, I completely missed the 9th of August! “What is so special about this day?” you may ask. Well, when I began my journey, I did not only set six continents as my target, I also had another guideline:  Following the traditional rules of a Walz, I prescribed myself a minimum duration of 3 years and one day (another idea was earning enough to be able to live off my own skills, but let’s not talk about that…) and you guessed it: I started my first job of this journey on August 8th, 2016 in Finland, so on August 9th, three years later, I officially completed my Walz in Ghana and can successfully return home. And with me I bring so many emotions, thoughts and memories…

Indescribable feeling.

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I do confess, during my time in Melbourne, I sometimes contemplated whether I really wanted to continuing my Walz or whether I should go back home and continue studying. I guess 10 months almost uninterruptedly spent in the “model den” have left its marks in my mind. Yet I decided not to give up so close to fulfilling my goal to work as an architect on every single continent (except for Antarctica).

So in the last week of May I packed my bags, left Australia and headed straight to… *drumroll* Berlin! No, not to work there, just to pick up my visa as I would only get it in my home country. After only three days in the German capital, I moved on to: ACCRA, GHANA, which is where I will spend the upcoming months working with Mustard Architecture – a young office founded by a former architect with David Adjaye (arguably Ghana’s most famous architect (who himself works from London)). I am looking forward to experiencing an African approach to architecture, curiously balancing imported, western construction techniques on one hand and climatic challenges as well as perhaps vernacular building methods on the other.

I started working in the beginning of June and was welcomed properly by Ghana with a power outage lasting for hours on my first day. When there was nothing left to do without power I was told “Let’s forget today – your first day is tomorrow.” In the following days I quickly integrated into the team and finally picked up proper architectural work again. Currently I am working on construction plans for a residential building in Accra and soon we will start working on the Ghanaian submission for an architecture exhibition in London.


Besides work

I can’t believe it’s already been four weeks since I got here! Yet I do feel like I already got quite used to Accra. When admittedly I was a little overwhelmed at the beginning, I did get a grip on the city relatively quickly. I now know where things are and how to move around and have already tried many of the local dishes (Two words: Jollof rice!) – so at least I won’t starve or get lost! I used my first weekend to do “sightseeing” consisting of some colonial leftovers (Ussher Fort, Christiansburg Castle) and some newer landmarks celebrating national pride (Independence Arch, Black Star Square). I’ve also already been petting lions in an animal sanctuary, did a high rope course in a botanical garden, almost drowned on the beach, listened to a speech on “afri-esthetics” in architecture, got drunk at a funeral of a person I didn’t know, went sailing on a lake and watched the first Ghanaian football match in the Africa Cup of Nations. Sure enough I made some new friends on the way and I’m looking forward to more adventures to come…


I admit, lately it has been a little quiet here on my blog again. When in Tokyo I could easily blame this on the heavy workload, in Melbourne I certainly did not have that excuse. Work consisted of a 38 hour week and overtime was rare – my life finally found its way back into an organized pattern. I enjoyed having free time again and quickly found great friends to spend it with. And Melbourne is a great city to live in: It’s big, but not too busy; it’s got a great mix of historic buildings and hideously beautiful mid-century or postmodern architecture; it’s got a great culture of small, local stores to balance the commercial CBD; most of it is covered in beautiful graffiti; not to forget it’s got the largest tram-network in the world. I biked to work; I went to trivia and board game nights regularly with my friends, went to the beach in summer, explored Melbourne’s museums and nightlife. All these factors contributed to the fact that from day one I didn’t feel like I was in a new place – I felt like I had returned home.


A word about travels

Cradle Mountain Shortly after I arrived to Melbourne, Christmas holidays were around the corner. After weeks of uncertainty about what to do, I planned a trip to Tasmania together with a fellow intern. So we spent two days together containing a lot of hiking (Cradle Mountain National Park), feeding kangaroos (Trowunna Wildlife Park) and some relaxing on the beach (Freycinet National Park). When he returned to Melbourne I was left with exploring Hobart and its surroundings (MONA museum, Port Arthur, Mount Wellington, Taste festival, finish of the Sydney Hobart Yacht race) and spend Christmas day on a beach for the first time of my life (acquiring a nice sunburn).

Happy 2019After Tasmania I flew to Sydney. It took me quite a few days to figure the city out. When originally I expected a vibrant metropolis, I had to understand that Sydney consists of nothing more than the opera house and lots of beaches – both of which are of great quality though! So naturally the highlights of this visit were: New Year’s Eve with a magnificent view of the opera house and harbor bridge (which landed me a clip in local TV) and celebrating my birthday on the beach eating a kangaroo burger (two more “firsts” in my life).

Tourists taking PicturesTogether with a friend I made in Sydney, I then planned a trip to the Outback. We booked a 4 day organized trip and were able to see the magnificent heart of the continent including Uluru, Olgas, King’s Canyon and Alice Springs. In the middle of summer we had temperatures high up in the 40s °C during the day and “cool” nights of just below 30°C. The benefit though: No flies (Whoever has been to the outback will understand what a great benefit this is).

Parliament HouseAfter this extended Christmas trip I mostly stuck to living the Melbourne life. Only one more time I travelled to Canberra to see the other “heart of the continent” (politically). Yes, I went there “even though I didn’t have to”, as surprising as it sounds to many Australians. It was certainly a nice experience to see the planned capital city and Parliament House, but two days were definitely long enough.


A word about work

This is a difficult chapter for me to write. As much as I adored the office both for their projects and the people, I did struggle with the fact that the majority of my tasks consisted of building models. This has to do with the fact that the definition of an “intern” in Australia is different to how I experienced it in other places. By Australian law, an intern is only allowed to do supporting work and his role is mainly observant of the office procedure. (If the intern does essential work that would otherwise be carried out by an employee, rights, duties and salary of a regular employee must apply) So after Tokyo, again I felt like I was not developing my skills – and frankly bored sometimes.

Modeling with wine

There were two notable exceptions though:

NMBW submitted two projects in three categories to the Victorian Architecture Awards. For that purpose, I was given the task to prepare architectural drawings (plans, sections, elevations) for the submission and later again for the presentation to the jury. Also I went to the event where all participating architects presented their projects to the juries. Highly interesting!

The University of Melbourne is developing a “new student precinct” – a huge reorganization of a part of its campus including the erection of several new buildings and altering many existing. NMBW is in charge of four buildings at the same time which arguably constitutes the biggest project of the office’s existence. When a deadline was getting closer I was asked to help and became a member of the project team for about two months. The great benefit of this intense time was that I was able to thoroughly learn how to use Revit – a “new” software that is currently taking over architecture world. (It’s not that new after all, but NMBW has been the first office I worked with, that uses it).


So Melbourne did have its ups and downs for me but after all I enjoyed it a lot! I guess I can be glad I wasn’t the happiest with my work because otherwise, what would have stopped me from simply staying forever?


In the meantime I have moved on and am writing this article from another continent. I will go into greater detail about this in another post soon…


In the end it was faster than expected: My time in Tokyo has already come to a close. It was a period of little freetime and a lot of work that wasn’t always fullfilling me – or that I felt wouldn’t bring me forward professionally. More than once was I questioning whether it made sense to continue and considered leaving early. Finally I decided to pull through and make the best out of it. After all I started this world trip to gain different experiences and not several times the same one.

Dont get me wrong, it wasn’t all bad! I did get to know some new approaches to architecture and I certainly enjoyed my company. Looking back at it, I think I can actually take a lot more with me than I might have noticed when I was right in the middle (That was meant figuratively, but my suitcase also gained some weight…).

Maybe due to this emotional rollercoaster, but certainly also due to the lack of freetime, I never found time to update this blog. I don’t think I will go back and write about my experiences in greater detail, but I will upload some pictures. I have taken a lot – stay tuned.

– interlude –

This past weekend I moved on. After a more than 24h long trip I set foot on the last continent (being permanently inhabited by humans) I had never visited before: Australia. I arrived in Melbourne and started my internship with NMBW today – an architecture and urban planning studio whose design starts off from the perspective of the user and therefore sometimes appears unconventional. I am looking forward to taking part in this thoughtful process and maybe to experiencing their university research.

The first days of the week I used to stroll around the area and visited some sites of the office’s current projects. Immediately I felt comfortable with the city. Life seems a lot more relaxed here than in Tokyo and the weather is nice (There are just a little too many Germans here for my taste…). On top of that there lays an entire continent ahead of me ready to get explored!


Sitting in the airport lobby I decided to make a quick log entry. Due to the 90 day limit for touristic stays in Japan combined with the categorization of unpaid internships as touristic, I had to choose one out of two options to be able to stay for the desired 4 months: Either my office and I go through a bureaucratic application process with the migration authorities for an extension or I leave and reenter the country. It didn’t take either of us long to decide for the latter option. So here I am on my way to Singapore for a 5 day trip. Cu soon, Japan!

When I’m back I will give an update on my life in Tokyo and what I’ve been up to in the meantime.


My two weeks of leisure and first week of the internship have now officially passed. In the beginning my intense jetlag actually stuck with me for a couple of days, probably intensified by the fact that I didn’t have any schedule that I had to cope with and was able to sleep in and got to bed late every day. Still I was able to venture some exciting things and to meet new people.

The highlights were probably visiting teamlab, a crazy experience exhibition  for all senses, met up with a japanese former colleague from PEZO VON ELLRICHSHAUSEN and attended a students’ projects presentation at his uni, went to a disco in an aquarium – yes, you heard right! Something like that probably only exists in Japan – tasted some crazy food (I’ll elaborate if you ask me, but please brace yourselves), took a look over this mega-city from an observation deck, educated myself about japanese culture and history in the Nationa Museum and enjoyed homemade food at my house’s summer party. Sounds like much, but there is still so much more to do! Including visiting the fish market and trying out ALL the food.



This Monday was my first day at work. So far I can tell that the office works on some interesting projects, people and the office space are very nice and the myth of the restless office hours in Japan seems to be true, but at least we interns are supposedly asked rarely to work the weekends. But don’t worry, all “daijobou”. This (most important) japanese word apparently originally meant noble man, but is nowadays used in almost every situation, meaning “It’s alright”, “I’m fine”, “No, thanks” and “Yes, please” (yes, both of them), “Everything is gonna be good” and so much more.

Tomorrow three colleagues and I will travel first to Osaka and then on Monday to Yoshino, where our office built a beautiful timber house that we have the chance to spend a night in. I will upload some pictures of my first time here afterwards.


After having spent 2 months back home in Germany, I now moved on to the next stop on my world trip: Japan!

In August I’m gonna start working with Go Hasegawa, whose studio regularly finds extraordinary answers to everyday problems. Without the necessity for an architectural style or expression, their projects seek fulfilling the people’s true needs and desires.

I decided to get here a little earlier to explore my new home before being busy with work. My trip was a rollercoaster ride between good and bad luck. It started on Monday evening while preparing my suitcase when I couldn’t find my passport. After 5 hours of searching I had already given up emotionally when I finally found it. Turns out, when tidying up my room before, I had confused my expired passport with my current one and had put it away (luckily not thrown out!). Having to leave my house at 5am, there wasn’t a minute left to sleep. The bus driver obviously didn’t realize I was in a hurry when he closed the doors right in front of me. Being a little behind schedule, I decided to walk to the train station carrying my 20kgs luggage in my hands cause its wheel is broken. At this point I really questioned the use of having showered before. Unfortunately I didn’t catch the train either and had to wait 15 min for the next. Luckily I made it quickly through baggage drop off (being told by the agent to better hurry up) and security and managed to be one of the first at the gate.

Then my three flights to Brussels, Hong Kong and finally Tokyo went by without incidents. Thanks to my host here I knew beforehand exactly how to get to my new home. Additionally I had free WiFi at airport and train stations – all easy! Then I arrived at the final stop where my host’s explanation ended with only the words “8 min walk” – no directions whatsoever. Additionally the final subway stop was the first one I’ve been to without WiFi and on top my phone was about to die. Of course it would be too easy if everything went by smoothly. After more than 24 hours of traveling, I found myself in front of a physical map in the entrance to the subway station (yes, these still exist nowadays) trying to find myself a way.

After a couple of minutes a lady approached me offering “Can I help you?”. I showed her my address and she laughed “That’s my house!”. What a coincidence is that? There are 36 Mio people living in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area – and the one I meet is one of my 7 housemates! She walked me to my new home where I met my host and other housemates. I am really looking forward to living in this cute, traditional japanese house for the next months and can’t wait to explore the city.

Today, I woke up at 8am, got ready, got myself some breakfast and felt a little tired. I decided to close my eyes for a couple more minutes and BOOM – it was the late afternoon. I never had a jetlag this crazy. I will go out for dinner soon and will try again tomorrow.

Side note: After having banged my head heavily into doors twice already within the first 24 hours, I suddenly get a totally new interpretation to Alphaville’s song “Big in Japan” – ouch!


Here at Pezo von Ellrichshausen, it is tradition to have a dinner to welcome or farewell a team member. Finally my day has come. I am just returning home from my very own farewell dinner, which opened my last week of work in Chile this Monday. This intense six month period of creation of architecture, which is now coming to a closure, will surely influence me in the future. I had time to be creative, to read, to think about many things and I was gifted a new branch to my family – my coworkers here. In my heart, I will carry all this with me back home.


It was more than 100 days ago that I arrived in Concepción after driving 18,000km through the American continents. And it feels like yesterday I had still woken up in New York. It also has been more than 3 months since my last blog posting – it is about time to change that! In fact, I haven’t even written a single posting here in Concepción so let’s begin with…

My first day

My alarm rang at 2:30 am and I left the apartment in the center of Santiago about 30min later, getting on my car for one last time heading south. When I spilled coffee on my pants while driving, I knew it had been a good idea to not yet wear my working clothes. The closer I got, the more excited I was. Finally I arrived to Concepción, I took the last turn of this 6 weeks long journey and eventually spotted the “tower” at the top of the hill. Indescribable feeling! I parked hidden behind a tree, changed my clothes and brushed my teeth. Just enough time left to take a selfie together with my car Henry in front of my new workplace at Casa Cien.

The (work-)day started off with a welcoming meeting in which all current projects were explained and discussed, I was introduced into the team and into the habits of the office. I knew immediately that I would feel very at home at this place. Now, 100 days later I can confirm that I was right.

To build a model, materials had to be bought from the local store. I suggested going with my own car, so a colleague and I went. It was a 5min drive. On the way back my cars breaks suddenly stopped working for one moment. Then they continued working, but the car’s front axle would constantly block. Turning and/ or breaking became a nightmare. Hazard lights on, in snail speed and without turning we went to a residential area where I could leave the car at the side of the road. I still cannot believe this: 18,000km went fine and as soon as I arrive my car gives up. If destiny exists, then it for sure wanted me to arrive safely.

Back to the office, I learned that part of the tasks was to walk the office’s dogs. Amazing! I love dogs, having them in the office is a great experience and of course I walk them without any hesitation. After that, the question popped up where I would stay. I hadn’t researched anything in advance and planned to stay in a hostel for the first days. But that wasn’t necessary. Another colleague lived in a student’s housing. There were still rooms available, so I gave the owner a call and had a place to stay for the next days. That went smooth.

Those were all the events of the first day. After work I visited my car and had to drag my luggage by foot to my new place. It was a new building with big rooms, clean bathrooms and a community room & kitchen on the top floor.


The next days

The next days I had to learn that winter/ spring in Chile actually means winter/ spring. Of course I knew that seasons are inverted on the southern hemisphere; I still hoped it would be nicer in general. But weather was pretty much like in April in Germany. One day it could be sunny and warm and the next it could be cloudy and cold. Luckily in the meantime summer has fully arrived and now my colleagues and I are enjoying sunny days on nearby beaches. (But the Pacific Ocean is just too cold!)

In the first days I did consider staying in the student’s housing. The only downside was the very small kitchen and maybe the location. But when another new colleague found a chic 1 bedroom apartment in a new highrise building and payed almost the same rent like I did, I knew mine was overpriced. So I decided to move. Since November 1st I lived in a house shared by 16 students. It is a bit less nice (clean & spacious) than the student’s housing, but perfectly located and I pay half.

The next weeks were characterized by enjoying life in Chile as a group of gringos, getting to know about Concepción and doing a lot of day- and weekend-trips.


Travel Summaries

My first longer weekend I spent together with a colleague in Santiago, checking out some museums and doing the casual touristy stuff.

One weekend we rented a car (I hadn’t fixed mine yet) and went to location, where Smiljan Radic built the VIK vinery. We had a tour, an amazing wine tasting and a delicious lunch. Afterwards we continued visiting remarkable Chilean architecture. We spent the night in a cabin in the middle of nowhere.

One Sunday we spontaneously went to Lota, a small town with a cute market in the center. We tried nalca (a vegetable – spoiler: not good, not good at all) and visited an old coal mine. We walked on the beach and we were denied alcohol because it was election day.

Another weekend we went to Santiago again, checked out the architecture university, went up and down the Cerro San Cristóbal and visited the Bahai temple.

When another three day weekend came around we rented a car again and went to Pucón and from there to the Thermás Geometricas. It was a great and relaxing summer & spa weekend.

The Christmas days I spent together with one colleague at Casa Poli – one of our office’s projects. It is a house that usually is given to artist to work there, but it was free over Christmas. It’s a spatially impressive building gorgeously located on a cliff right at the Pacific Ocean.

The first two January weekends we spent on different beaches and lakes. The summer-feeling is in full effect!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to house-sit Poli once again where I finally took the time to keep up with my blog and also finally start working on applications for the next stop of this Walz.