Just when you were getting tired of more High Line copies, Dutch architects MVRDV has breathed new life into the genre with their winning proposal for the “Seoul Skygarden,” a 3,000 foot long section of disused elevated highway. Their design doesn’t simply reappropriate the space into a linear public parkway—it uses the original 1970s structure as the basis for an urban horticultural extravaganza. Form that structure, which was deemed unusable for cars in 2009, the designers have attached a series of stairs, lifts and escalators as well as new satellite gardens that will grow with the needs of the park. The design features 254 different species of trees, shrubs, and flowers, which are chosen to showcase the biodiversity of Seoul. The library of plants is organized alphabetically and will educate visitors. New leisure spaces such as flower shops, street markets, libraries and greenhouses will provide respite from the city. The new urban thruway will connect two zones that were previously separated by a railway station and a subsequent 25 minute walk. The now-pedestrian friendly path will reduce this walk to 11 minutes, while simultaneously producing an estimated 1.83 times its own cost for the city.
Posts tagged with "Seoul":
Dynamic steel and PVDF structures shelter campers in style.In South Korea, glamping—or “glamorous camping”—is all the rage. The practice combines conventional camping’s affinity for the outdoors with hotel amenities, including comfortable bedding and fine food. Seoul firm ArchiWorkshop’s prefabricated, semi-permanent glamping structures are a design-minded twist on the traditional platform tent. “We [set out to] create a glamping [tent] that gives people a chance to experience nature very close, while also providing a uniquely designed architectural experience,” said partner Hee Jun Sim. “There are many glamping sites in Korea, but they’re actually not so high-end. We were able to bring up the level of glamping in Korea.” ArchiWorkshop designed two models of glamping tents. The Stacking Doughnut is, as the name suggests, circular, with a wedge-shaped deck between the bedroom and living room. “We put the donuts at different angles, stacked them . . . and simply connected the lines. This line became the structure,” explained Sim. “The basic idea was very simple, but in the end the shape was very dynamic.” The Modular Flow is a gently oscillating tube, its sleeping and lounging areas separated by an interior partition. The shape was created from a series of identical modules lined up back-to-front to produce the curve. Both models feature a white, double-layer PVDF membrane stretched over a stainless steel frame. The decks are built of wood, while the interior floors are carpeted in a cream-colored textile flooring product from Sweden. Sim and partner Su Jeong Park “used every possible tool” to design the glamping units. They started with hand sketches, then moved to physical models. “The model wasn’t so simple to make because it was a strong shape [without] straight or fixed walls,” said Sim. Once they had determined a rough form, they bounced among multiple computer programs—including AutoCAD, Rhino, and 3ds Max—to refine the design and create shop drawings. Sim and Park used MPanel to generate the membrane surface. Dong-A System prefabricated the glamping tents off site, laser cutting the components of the steel frame before welding them together. “Because every part of the shape is connected, it had to be super-precise, or the end form would [not be] straight,” said Sim. On site, the structures were simply bolted into place. ArchiWorkshop built eight glamping structures on spec on a site in South Korea. “We actually used the whole site as a test site, to show the world, ‘Hello, we are [here],’” said Sim. The architects are open to adapting the designs to suit different climates or cultures. “What we designed on the test site is very Asian or Korean, a poetic kind of shape, but I think different countries have different clients with different needs,” explained Sim. While Sim acknowledges that there are a number of luxury tents already on the market, he is not concerned. “We had a bit of a late start,” he said, “but we . . . have a different concept with a different kind of approach to the tent.” In the meantime, the challenge of designing outside the box has been its own reward. “We love designing buildings,” said Sim, “but this kind of different structural project is also very refreshing for architects.”
Korean architecture firm UTAA collaborated with three architecture students at the University of Seoul (Lee Sang-myeong, Ha Ki-seong, Baek Jong-ho) to spruce up a campus parking lot. The Rest Hole is created by wooden ribs installed into a largely vacant and underutilized space that lay at the base of a University dorm. The architects were saddled with task of transforming the dark and inefficient area into a warmer and inviting space conducive to relaxation and gatherings. Unsightly columns have been hidden behind a series of curvaceous wooden panels that fill out the vacancy beneath the dorm to form a rounded hall. As the enclosure extends into the parking lot, it constricts, a progression that creates the illusion that the space has been excavated. The hole is large enough to accommodate extra tables and seating in addition to those platforms naturally created by the curvature of the ribs. The organic forms and tones of the wooden womb stand in stark contrast to the drab rectilinearity of the surrounding buildings.
Zaha Hadid Architects designed 16 bespoke polyurethane display units for fashion designer Neil Barrett's shops.Fashion designer Neil Barrett hired Zaha Hadid Architects to design a cohesive display concept for a new flagship store in Tokyo that could be easily rolled out to his other locations as well, which include four shops in Seoul and one in Hong Kong. The result had to be as sartorial as Barrett’s fashions, so Hadid’s team came up with the idea of cutting the displays for all of the stores from a single block of material. The concept resulted in 16 bespoke display elements, which all fit together like pieces of a puzzle. "We wanted to design a project that always belongs together but offers a choice between different sizes," said project architect Claudia Wulf. "The reason we designed a modular landscape is that we have extremely different area requirements [across all of the shops]." The units, which are carved from a solid unit, range in size from 13 1/2 feet by 13 3/4 feet to 4 feet by 6 feet. Paired, the units create a sinuous artificial landscape that unfolds across multiple display levels. The pieces can be grouped to suit the scale and space of each boutique, and display shoes, bags, or accessories just as easily. Hadid’s team worked with Rhino to develop the idea of creating tangents through straight lines and curves, as well as soft lines and strong edges. What begins as a sharp point curves softly into the next display shelf. The team bounced the evolving design between the client and Chinese fabricator Evergrow, refining the profiles of each unit. For the flagship store in Japan, the designers chose to craft the first set from Corian in order to develop a strong dialogue between the existing envelope of the building and the display’s smooth yet curvaceous surface. A uniform, white palette enhances the formality of the display, while creating a strong contrast against a polished black floor. For subsequent locations, Hadid’s team updated the display material to polyurethane, as there was less time afforded for transportation and installation. The 3D file was sent to Evergrow, which CNC-milled the pieces from solid polyurethane. The fabricator applied a very thin coat of glass fiber resin to reinforce the surface and sanded it until smooth. A high-quality lacquer, comparable to what would be used for an automotive finish, was applied to protect against daily wear and scratching. "We definitely challenged the material use [with this project] because the edges are very slim," said Wulf, adding that during a recent project follow up, she was surprised by the number of people inquiring how such sharp edges were achieved on such a smooth form. "As often as we have the opportunity, we push the boundaries of materials a little farther so that you are surprised." Zaha Hadid Architects is currently developing Neil Barrett Shop in Shop projects in Beijing, Shanghai, and Seoul. As many as eight shops could be completed by the end of 2013.
As East Asian cities continue to modernize and densify, monotonous and dehumanizing blocks tend to replace the finely-grained, small-scale architecture and urbanism such as Beijing’s Hutong, Tokyo’s small wooden houses, and Singapore’s traditional villages. These “urban ecologies that have evolved over the course of centuries,” as Dutch firm MVRDV explains, foster a social interconnectivity in these communities, forming the basis for a new exhibition currently on view in Seoul, South Korea. MVRDV presents their research on rapid urban transformation in East Asia in Welcome to the Vertical Village at Seoul's Total Museum of Contemporary Art presented through rich audio-visual displays and vibrantly-colored installations of an imagined Vertical Village of more than 700 individual pieces, a solution in opposition to monolithic development while embracing the density it provides. The exhibition describes an alternative model of development that embraces the qualities of dense three-dimensional communities while preserving the diversity, flexibility, and personal freedom present in traditional East Asian villages. The exhibition runs through October 7, 2012.
Guy Horton, a frequent contributor to AN, here adds his thoughts on the still-steaming controversy over MVRDV's twin towers. MVRDV’s design for what they call The Cloud, a twin high-rise with a connecting “cloud” above the waistline, has resulted in an blitz of negative criticism. Americans who have never heard of the Dutch firm are now phoning and emailing threats and condemnation non-stop—some are personal threats aimed at individuals. They have even been called “Al Qaeda lovers.” From the American point of view, a highly emotional response was probably predictable. How dare they, right after the tenth anniversary of 9/11, right when One World Trade Center (formerly Freedom Tower) is set to reach it’s symbolic 1776-foot mark, at last filling the long-vacant airspace of lower Manhattan? How could these…these…Dutchmen re-animate this trauma buried in the American psyche? Well…the point is that they aren’t re-animating anything. And while the memorial at Ground Zero is buried, the trauma is not. It’s frightening and revealing how close to the surface it is when a single image can spark it. They didn’t do it on purpose. They are just architects, after all, and architects sometimes forget to reflect on their designs in terms of, say, the War on Terror, or on events that transpired ten years ago in a foreign country—our country being foreign to them. In sum, not everything everywhere revolves around what happened on 9/11. It’s not always about us. Furthermore, we don’t require MVRDV for reminders of 9/11. The casualties from two wars, a devastated economy, polarized politics, torture, NDAA, militarized police forces in our cities, the Patriot Act, TSA strip-searches, the fact that if you appear to be of Middle-Eastern decent you are assumed to be a terrorist—the list of everyday reminders expands seemingly like the design of the cloud itself, block by block, forming a storm front around us. A building designed by Dutch architects for South Koreans is hardly relevant when compared to the very real impact 9/11 has had on our democracy and, by extension, our built environment. So, let us leave the Dutch architects alone. They were just being MVRDV, international starchitects, playing with logic as they often do. The Cloud is merely an extension of their obsession with fractal repetition…the potential of monotony to produce something non-monotonous. But this, too, is subjective—just like ghost sightings of 9/11 in an architectural rendering. They have said they are sorry, but the developer has not announced officially whether there are plans to change the early concept design. Nor should they be forced to change it. In a recent blog entry, Aaron Betsky says that because the design is now out there, it has become a poisoned meme signifying all those bad memories and therefore fails as a building. “Back to the drawing board, MVRDV,” he concludes. So, while we can acknowledge that The Cloud is a meme of one sort to Americans, it is also obviously a different sort of meme to others. What is far more troubling is the reaction to the concept design. It demonstrates that we are still a long way from recovery and while the wars are winding down we are still at war with ourselves. MVRDV is inadvertently giving us a small opportunity to look up and just see clouds for a change. As an American, I for one would prefer this to a meme any day. But, as Mr. Betsky notes, memes are hard to escape. Please, MVRDV, help us find new memes! [Guy Horton writes on the culture and business of architecture in his column, CONTOURS on Archinect, and blogs for GOOD Magazine and The Huffington Post. He is also the author of the book The Real Architect's Handbook: Things I Didn't Learn in Architecture School.]
It must have been a rough day at MVRDV's Rotterdam offices after their newly unveiled Cloud tower set to be built in Seoul, South Korea went viral in a bad way. MVRDV envisioned two towers shrouded in pixelated mist, but others saw the image of a plane hitting the World Trade Center in New York, half a world away. MVRDV released the following statement on their Facebook page along with an early conceptual drawing showing the inspiration for the tower, in a much more literal cloud:
A real media storm has started and we receive threatening emails and calls of angry people calling us Al Qaeda lovers or worse. MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evokes regarding 9/11, it was not our intention. The Cloud was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city. It is one of many projects in which MVRDV experiments with a raised city level to reinvent the often solitary typology of the skyscraper. It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, the design was not meant to provoke this.Check out all of the renderings over here. What do you think? Is this too reminiscent of the Twin Towers? Do you see a cloud or an explosion frozen in time?