As the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea dazzles with massive drone displays and American triple axels, spectators in the main Olympic stadium have been left out in the cold. The $109 million, pentagonal stadium has 35,000 seats but no roof or heating elements, and will only be used four times before being torn down. The decision to build a low-cost arena designed for planned obsolescence isn’t a crazy idea. With the total cost of the games approaching nearly $13 billion, keeping a 35,000-seat stadium running when PyeongChang County only has 40,000 residents was prohibitively expensive. Even the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has warned that Olympic venues can be become “white elephants” after the games end, as they historically have within other hosting cities. Although the South Korean government had hoped the Olympics would turn the snowy and mountainous PyeongChang into a winter sports destination for tourists, enthusiasm within the country for winter sports has been particularly muted. Because no viable alternatives were proposed, PyeongChang Olympic Stadium was designed to be disposable and will only host the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics and the Paralympic Games before being demolished. breaking records. Polycarbonate walls were installed at the stadium’s top levels to shield spectators from the wind, but guests were given blankets, heating pads, and raincoats to keep warm and gas heaters were installed between the aisles. Seven people were repeatedly treated for frostbite after an hour-long opening event in November, where temperatures hovered around 12 degrees Fahrenheit, though they had risen to the low 20’s by the time of the opening ceremony proper. Disposable, temporary, and even movable stadiums have been in demand lately, as cities around the world grapple with the challenges (and costs) of repurposing single-use venues once an event ends. Qatar recently unveiled their Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, which uses removable shipping containers as building blocks so that the arena can be moved after the World Cup. The 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony will take place on February 25, 2018, while the Winter Paralympics will run from March 8 until March 18.
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As excitement around the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea builds for the February 9th opening ceremony, London-based architecture firm Asif Khan Ltd. has revealed a pitch-black pavilion sponsored by Hyundai Motor. Coated in Vantablack VBx2, the world’s blackest black paint, the exterior of the parabolic pavilion is lit with thousands of point lights and resembles a field of floating stars. “From a distance the structure has the appearance of a window looking into the depths of outer space,” said Asif Khan in a press release. “As you approach it, this impression grows to fill your entire field of view. So on entering the building, it feels as though you are being absorbed into a cloud of blackness.” Vantablack’s impenetrable darkness is based in its structure, as the paint is made of tangled carbon nanotubes that trap light on a microscopic level. At 32 feet tall and 114 feet long on all four sides, the monolithic Hyundai Pavilion is the largest continuous nanostructure in history. It also represents the first architectural application of Vantablack. While the original iteration of Vantablack paint was so fragile that it could only be installed under laboratory conditions, VBx2 suspends the coating in a spray solution and can be directly applied. The resultant structure, though the walls are curved inwards, has been seemingly rendered as a flat void and stripped of its volume; inside the effect couldn’t be more different. Playing on the theme of hydrogen, in reference to Hyundai’s foray into fuel cell-powered vehicles, the interior of the pavilion is a stark white and anchored by an interactive water installation. As visitors walk around the interior, water drops are elongated as they flow through channels carved into the floor and pool at a central drain. “The water installation visitors discover inside is brightly lit in white. As your eyes adjust, you feel for a moment that the tiny water drops are at the scale of the stars,” said Khan. “A water droplet is a size every visitor is familiar with. In the project I wanted to move from the scale of the cosmos to the scale of water droplets in a few steps. The droplets contain the same hydrogen from the beginning of the universe as the stars.” The usage of Vantablack has been a contentious topic in the short five years it’s been around. While Anish Kapoor made headlines after claiming the exclusive rights to the pigment’s use, Asif Khan has been working closely with the researchers behind Vantablack since 2013 and has previously proposed using it for a variety of projects. The Hyundai Pavilion will open to the public alongside the Olympics on February 9, in Pyeongchang.
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In a district slated for redevelopment in Naju City, five miles south of Gwangju in southern South Korea, a vacant building scheduled for demolition is the site of a temporary architectural facade installation that minimizes the separation between interior and exterior. German and Korean–based architecture firm Hyunje Joo_Baukunst designed a cladding system that tiles 1,500 semi-transparent plastic baskets covering over 4,000 square feet of building envelope. The resulting effect is a translucent hazy skin that allows diffuse sunlight and silhouettes to seep into the interior. The baskets, relatively standard commercially-sold products, were manufactured by a Korean factory from high-density polyethylene (HDPE). For this project, the baskets were UV coated to ensure durability throughout the installation. HDPE is a common plastic material used in everything from rigid containers and hard hats to flexible bags and house wraps. It is a widely recycled material, and the architects intend to reuse the individual baskets upon dismantling the installation. Hyunje Joo, the artist-architect responsible for the project, installed a steel subframe to the existing building facade and connected individual baskets to this frame using steel cable ties. Joo said the intent was to create an economical, flexible, light, and recyclable architectural element. “The surface minimizes the separation between the inside and outside, as light and silhouettes beyond the space show through. Over the course of the day, changes show on the surface of the wall due to the diffusion and reflection of the material. The passage of time is more actively sensed from both inside and outside, as these light effects stimulate our senses.” Naju City, the site of the project, was designated an “Innovative City” in 2007, and since has seen ecologically sensitive development attracting several public offices from Seoul. Despite the temporariness of the installation, the visual and spatial effects achieved with a three-dimensional semi-transparent perforated material are noteworthy and the architects say the success of this project will be carried on through future projects. “We intend to reinterpret the possibility for the boundary of the wall using new materials,” they said.
Last month, we covered the fingerprint YDP Tower, a residence planned for Seoul, South Korea. The architect, Moon Hoon of the South Korean firm MOONBALSSO, has designed another colorful and playful project: a series of candy-colored pink pool houses in Miryang, South Korea. Miryang (also called Milyang) is a land-locked city in the south with lots of natural splendor—valleys, two rivers, and the Yeongnam Alps rising in the distance. MOONBALSSO’s pool villa project is in the countryside, a little over 30 miles north of the port city Busan, the second largest city in South Korea after Seoul, known for its giant beaches. The pool villa site—about a third of an acre—is “mainly a flat piece of land on a gentle hill with irregular property lines,” says Moon Hoon. “It is rather isolated which provides an ideal situation for private pool villas for weekend and holidays.” The series of four neon, bubblegum pink pool villas share external dividing walls. The walls are extra high to provide ample privacy. Three of the pool villas each feature a one story house, with lots of glass. At one end, the fourth villa is two stories, with room for more residents or guests. The interiors are all white, in sharp contrast to the bright pink surroundings. The pool configurations are each a bit different, but all have views of the verdant rolling hillside beyond. “Angled walls and floating double walls and girders add sculptural quality to a spatial experience of expansion and visual pleasure,” Moon Hoon says. “The bright pink adds to the festive nature and holiday atmosphere. The greenery surrounding the pool villa emphasizes the pink even more…a contrasting existence, helping to make each other more vivid….” We’re guessing Elle Woods would be an instant fan of the playful and bold aesthetic.
Architect Moon Hoon of Moonbalsso, who's based in the Gangnam district in Seoul, South Korea, is known for his sculptural, whimsical designs like the Wind House featuring a duck-head robot shaped observatory tower to the commercial-residential hybrid project dubbed K-pop Curve. And then there is a Star Wars-inspired house. One of his latest projects, the YDP Tower, is slated for a Seoul neighborhood south of the Han River. It looks like a tube of lipstick covered with a swirling fingerprint—if we’re being sedate and G-rated—or perhaps it resembles the medieval round structures mainly found in Ireland that are thought to have been used as refuges or bell towers. (We’ll leave other associations for you to imagine.) And no, it is not an office building for some futuristic tech company, as this writer first thought after viewing the renderings for the first time. Part of it will serve as a residence for a South Korean actor. “The penthouse at the top is where the client is going to reside (four floors). “The bottom four floors will be studios for rent,” Moon Hoon said. “The building has a high piloti (surrounding buildings are three to four floors high). The first floor will begin at the neighbors’ rooftops.” The ground level is reserved for parking, with prominently-displayed stairs and an elevator. “The project aims at providing a dynamic house with a roof garden and studios with high ceilings with bare interiors so that new tenants can design it for themselves,” Hoon explained. Perhaps Moon Hoon is like a modern day Friedensreich Hundertwasser—the Austrian architect and artist who designed playful, colorful buildings like the Hundertwasserhaus, that was originally an apartment building in Vienna (and reportedly a pro-bono project for Hundertwasser). Moon Hoon is also an artist, with drawings exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale that won the Golden Lion Prize. On the unusual residential design, Moon Hoon said: “The client wished for a unique tower with some curves. We provided various schemes and the one with the client's fingerprint as a facade and structure won his heart. At the moment we are collaborating with structural engineers. The tower will most likely be a double skin building with a hybrid construction method—steel and concrete mix. The fingerprint facade will be a metal finish screening a curtain wall behind it...”. Currently the project is in the design development phase and Hoon expects groundbreaking will start this fall or early spring 2017.
In a high-performance building, argues Juan Betancur, director at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the envelope must never be an afterthought. Rather, it should be a material expression of the overall environmental strategy. “The key to what we’re doing with energy and sustainability is: how do the systems become the facades themselves?” he said. “If we make it part of the building, it’s an integrated systems solution.” Betancur will outline his firm’s approach to sustainable facade design in a dialog workshop at next week’s facades+ Chicago conference. “Off the Grid: Embedded Power Generation/Net Positive,” led by Betancur with panelists Anthony Viola (Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture) and Craig Burton (PositivEnergy Practice), will focus on two very different examples of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill’s recent work: the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) office high-rise in Seoul, South Korea (2013), and the 174 hectare campus for EXPO-2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan (2017). In the workshop, Betancur will walk participants through the design process, beginning with site analysis. “The first thing we do is understand the weather data, and get an understanding of what we can do on that particular site,” he explained. “We have our basic toolkit of ideas and systems that can be used both in facades and in buildings overall. Then we begin to take a specific building and see how it works. We see how the building has to be manipulated to take advantage of these conditions.” Technology plays a critical role in enacting the designers’ sustainability strategy. “We work back and forth with the manufacturers,” said Betancur, exploring, for instance, the application of photovoltaics to a spherical structure. “We look for new technologies, and ask how we can alter them to fit what we’re trying to do, and balance that with economic conditions.” In some cases, as at the Wuhan Greenland Center (2016) the scale tips toward passive rather than active systems. “We’re balancing first costs and life-cycle costs,” said Betancur. In addition to providing a more elegant design solution, integrated facades are easier for clients to digest, said Betancur. In some cases, as in Seoul, local officials require energy offsets. FKI’s owners signed on to an energy-generating design, he explained, “not because they wanted to, but because the government forced them to.” Other clients prefer solutions that privilege first-cost over life-cycle savings. “The way we approach the basic principle of sustainability is to try not to talk about it as a separate item,” said Betancur. “If we start talking about it as an additive process” clients are likely to balk, he said. Instead, “we say: ‘Here’s an entire building.’ They never think of it as a separate thing, if we can make it work financially.” To sign up for a dialog workshop or to learn more about facades+ Chicago, visit the conference website.
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.”
This surreal construct is one of the many public art projects by South Korean artist Choi Jeong-Hwa, whose love of found objects and anti-institutional approach to art is known internationally (he once hung strings of sparkling garbage around Seoul Olympic Stadium). The 10-story tall installation called Doors is comprised of 1,000 reused, brightly colored doors transformed into a rustic and visually indulgent object evoking a pixelated and painterly effect from afar, perhaps reminiscent of an abstract Klimt painting. Alternatively, the installation can also be read less glamorously as a mirror to Seoul's increasingly ad-dominated cityscape where Doors resembles a jarring collection of ads to the point of irony. (Via Colossal.)
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?