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2017_09_26
PLACE 1
         

PLACE 1

 

THE_SYSTEM LAB

Kim Chanjoong graduated from Korea University with a bachelor’s degree and received his master’s degree at the Harvard University. Also he studied at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH). After working as the senior architect at the Hanwool Architecture Company, Chan Krieger Associates and KSWA, he is currently working as a visiting professor at the Architecture Department of Kyung Hee University while serving as the principal in charge of THE_SYSTEM LAB in seoul. In 2006, he was invited to the Venice Biennale as the representative architecture of South Korea. In the same year, he was chosen as one of the six young Asian architects at the Beijing International Architecture Biennale. Some of his major projects have been Paul Smith Flagship Store, Yeonhui-dong Gallery, Raemian Gallery, Han-river Pedestrian Tunnel Project, Ssangyong Pinetree, SK The Happiness Foundation Building in South Korea.


PLACE 1: A Story of the Struggles Facing Modern Korean Architecture

Zo Hangman (associate professor, Seoul National University)

 

Digital technology, such as computers and software that have developed exponentially from the start of the 21st century, now demands a new project delivery system that encompasses everything from planning, design, construction, maintenance and management of architecture. This new architectural production method known as IPD (Integrated Project Delivery), aims to construct high-quality structures in a short period of time at low cost, primarily by eliminating the risk of change owing to the constant inconsistency of information that exists at every level of planning, design, and construction. This is made possible through promoting horizontal cooperation between the owner, designer, construction company, and relevant consultants from the earliest stages of project planning. This method is most appropriate for free-form buildings, like in the works of Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid, and the new master-builder architectures in this digital age must be adept not only planning and design, but must also take control of the materials, construction methods, and manner of procurement.
Under the assumption that the combination of a region’s best technological and cultural capabilities of the time is a precondition for contemporary architecture, there are very few structures in Seoul, Korea that can be categorized as contemporary architecture. Most of the structures going up today rely on philosophies and technology from the modern era or even further back, and the topics informing architecture and cities such as ‘creating villages’ and ‘preservation’ tend to be retrospective. The reason for this phenomena in Korea’s contemporary architecture is largely based on the colonial period and a feeling of disconnection during wartime, and the fact that the mindset of people in the architectural field remains mired in early 20th century functionalism and internationalism of the modern age. The critical regionalism of the 1970s also features strongly, dominated by economic reasoning that resulted from the advancement of capitalism brought about by rapid economic growth.
Taking into consideration the two different situations of architecture in Korea and abroad, Kim Chanjoong and THE_SYSTEM LAB, those who have been fighting on the frontline of Korea’s contemporary architecture, have been introduced across various media outlets merely as ‘young architects who produce new architecture in the form of commercial craft with a focus on materials and their manufacturing methods’, and have yet to be truly appreciated for what they bring to the table.

The architect incorporated the concept of Hyper-Nature, which is an assembly of the myriad of different characteristics of mother earth, and was inspired by the organic shape of facade cell designs that exist in nature.

The PLACE 1 was a renovation project, but (presumably) is the largest completed work of Kim Chanjoong in terms of scale and construction cost to date. This was a complete overhaul project that demolished the original building structure leaving only the fundamental structure, coating it with an outer layer comprised of three-dimensional circular prefabricated UHPC Unit Cells, and they completely redid the interior after implanting a slow-core that would be filled with complex art and cultural content. With this, the original postmodern style of structure vanished and was replaced with a white porous cube with 178 art disks. The main characteristics of the PLACE 1, a new type of financial Branch in Branch that provides culture on top of various services, is as follows.

First, it is new. There is no original nor is there a reference from which to form conjecture as to the source of its form or meaning, and as such, it is novel. Indeed, this is a small alternative universe that the architect created. This white porous exterior, which may to some may arouse trypophobia, retains a ‘morphological ambiguity’▼1 and leaves us with the primitive question, ‘what on earth is this?’ rather than prompting a sense of deja vu. The designer incorporated the concept of Hyper-Nature, which is an assembly of the myriad of different characteristics of mother earth, and was inspired by the organic shape of facade cell designs that exist in nature. However, considering the fact that Hyper-Nature is an abstract concept created by mankind and is merely an exaggerated simulation of nature, there is still no original. In this light, of the characteristic of the PLACE 1 can be defined as architecture based on the ‘reproduction without an original’ creation principle or contemporary art.
Second, in today’s world, which can be summarised as an epistemological turn in the 17th century modern philosophy defined by ‘the world is vested in perception’, to a linguistic turn developed from the early 20th century philosophy of ‘perception is structured by language’, all the way up to the philosophy of ‘the world is created by the media’ of today,▼2 this architecture represents a contemporary medial turn by incorporating the facade of the turning disks that are covered in art, and the slow-core that displays cultural and artistic contents. Artists and artworks are selected for each season, front and back images and lighting change daily, the angle of the art disk façade changes by the hour, producing an image of architecture that constantly changes like a moving picture, the key type of modern media, allowing for emotional communication to occur between the structure and the users/visitors. At times, this building intrigues you and makes you want to touch it. The preference of the designer who likes interactive architecture converges with modern media such as, image and motion picture at this annex.
Second, in today’s world, which can be summarised as an epistemological turn in the 17th century modern philosophy defined by ‘the world is vested in perception’, to a linguistic turn developed from the early 20th century philosophy of ‘perception is structured by language’, all the way up to the philosophy of ‘the world is created by the media’ of today,▼2 this architecture represents a contemporary medial turn by incorporating the facade of the turning disks that are covered in art, and the slow-core that displays cultural and artistic contents. Artists and artworks are selected for each season, front and back images and lighting change daily, the angle of the art disk façade changes by the hour, producing an image of architecture that constantly changes like a moving picture, the key type of modern media, allowing for emotional communication to occur between the structure and the users/visitors. At times, this building intrigues you and makes you want to touch it. The preference of the designer who likes interactive architecture converges with modern media such as, image and motion picture at this annex.

Artists and artworks are selected for each season, front and back images and lighting change daily, the angle of the art disk facade changes by the hour, producing an image of architecture that constantly changes like a moving picture, the key type of modern media, allowing for emotional communication to occur between the structure and the users/visitors.

Although there are numerous features in the structure of Seoul’s contemporary architecture, as enumerated above, the structure lacks a holistic perspective compared to other foreign contemporary architectural structures of the digital age that show a similar quality of parametricism, which was pointed out by Patrik Schumacher, a partner at Zaha Hadid Architects. Unlike the recent works of Frank Gehry and Coop Himmelblau, in which the distance between the building structure and building’s façade is minimised, such effort is lacking in the annex. Moreover, one type of exterior panel is repeatedly used, watering down the mass customization features of contemporary digital architecture (comparing the exterior panel design and type with DDP shows the difference). In addition, the interior design of each floor is disconnected and is completely different for each floor, and lacks flow with the design of the building itself. However, taking into consideration the fact that the annex was a renovation project instead of a new construction project, on top of which created a financial Branch in Branch that carries with it problems of rent and lease, the architect is not the sole source of blame for the areas that could have used some improvement.

Kim Chanjoong and THE_SYSTEM LAB are one of the most important figure and organization which open the horizon of today’s architecture in Korea. The PLACE 1 was born from his skills and attitudes toward making, understanding of the aesthetics of a digital era, and endless pursuit of the new. It will show its usage and value through interaction with the users, having smooth ambiguity like modern electronic gadgets.

This was a complete overhaul project that demolished the original building structure leaving only the fundamental structure, coating it with an outer layer comprised of three-dimensional circular prefabricated UHPC Unit Cells, and they completely redid the interior after implanting a slow-core that would be filled with complex art and cultural content.

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1. The architect is explaining the morphological ambiguity of a design drawing, that ‘depending on each individual’s preferences, experience, and thoughts, a building can be perceived as a completely different image…’
2. Jin Junggwon, Image Humanities 1, Imagination of a Thousand Years, 2014

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Zo Hangman studied architectural design at Seoul National University and GSAPP, Columbia University. From the fall semester, 2013, he has been an associate professor of Seoul National University. Currently he is also running the TAAL Design Lab with partner Seo Jiyoung.


Architect: THE_SYSTEM LAB (Kim Chanjoong)
Collaborated design: NODE Architects (Lee Jongsoo)
Design team: THE_SYSTEM LAB - Lee Choonglyeol, Choi Jinchul, Park Changkwon, Kim Sojin, Han Dongsu / NODE Architects - Ko Daeyoung, Kim Beomjoo, Oh Taekjun, Park Joonyoung
Location: 169-8, 24 / 169-9 Samsung-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Programme: office, commercial facilities
Site area: 3,887㎡
Building area: 930.11㎡
Gross floor area: 16,287㎡
Building scope: B4, 10F
Height: 44.65m
Parking: 109
Building to land ratio: 32.64%
Floor area ratio: 280.74%
Structure: steel framed reinforced concrete
Exterior finishing: Ultra-High Performance Concrete, glass fiber reinforced concrete, THK3T aluminum sheet
Interior finishing: stone finish, Electrolytic Galvanized Iron, gypsum board with paint finished, wood flooring
UHPC facade: design - THE_SYSTEM LAB / engineering - WITHWORKS ARCHITECTS & ENGINEERS / module production - Hanphil ENG. / construction - ALUenc / art disk - LINK Engineering
Structural engineer: THEKUJO Co., Ltd
Mechanical and electrical engineer: HANA Consulting Engineers Co., Ltd
Landscape design: JWL
Lighting design: EONSLD Co., Ltd
Construction: Doosan Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd
Design period: Nov. 2014 - Dec. 2015
Construction period: Apr. 2016 - Feb. 2017
Client: KEB HANABANK Co., Ltd


edited by Park Sungjin | photographed by Kim Yongkwan (unless otherwise indicated) | materials provided by THE_SYSTEM LAB

 
 
tag.  THE_SYSTEM LAB , UHPC , Kim Chanjoong , facade
       
no.599 (2017.October) 
 
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