Evolving Pavilions, DDP Kiosk
Pavilion, as temporarily installed architectural structure is a small building open for relaxation. These structures can be installed in parks, or decorated for exhibitions of various events. In recent times, they have become more popular as a site in which an architect can experiment with their ideas. Building a complete and official building requires adherence to tricky legislation and restrictions, as well as the ever increasing cost. On the other hand, pavilions are relatively small temporary structures, presenting an opportunity for the free experimentation of architects. In the domestic realm, since the 2010s, pavilions have been seen from time to time mainly as park facilities or as a part of public art exhibitions. SPACE has already raised the both issue of the potential of pavilions as works of public art (Report of 2014 January ‘The Moment Public Art Merges with Architecture’) and as an experimental field for architects (Report of 2014 August ‘A New Korean Platform for the Young Architect’). Most recently, Kiosks have been featured at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). How do pavilions and kiosks each take on their own definitions, and what differences do they have?
reported by Shim Youngkyu | photography by Kyungsub Shin
Challenges of the DDP
One of the greatest issues in the field of architecture last year was the completion of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). In an April feature last year, SPACE pursued the issue of the remaining challenged facing the large scale space reaching a scale of 86,574m2 in total ground floor area to claim independence over its maintenance. At the time, experts suggested programmes including ‘a complex cultural space in which small-scale performances and events are routinely held’, ‘a commercial space which can be commonly used’, ‘ordinary programmes for citizens, rather than unique programmes targeted at self-subsistence’, and ‘programmes that encourage visitors’. The DDP has in fact become a famous attraction in Seoul, visited by multitudes after its completion. The site has hosted a diverse number of commercial events, such as the launching of famous brands, as well as arts, design and academic events. The architectural field, once critical about the DDP, also held its large-scale architecture exhibition on the site, such as the Seoul Architecture Festival 2014 (refer to News of November 2014 issue). This is due to the former lack of spaces in Seoul that operate such diverse and spacious venues, as well as being easy to access.
The DDP now celebrates one year since completion, and nine months since its official opening. However, many tasks remain ahead. The complicated passageways within and without the building still prevent the natural circulation of the floating population, and the site has received criticism as it has become more of an exhibition space for completed works, rather than a site to share the intermediary process of design. Despite the need for open studios or programs that operate around the clock for students of design and art, such plans have been deemed infeasible due to problems with staff and budget. Also, while the site has been fully booked in terms of commercial rental exhibitions, there has been much criticism over the lack of independently planned events.
To reinforce such problems, there is a need to more actively search for the DDP, rather than to just utilize the whole space. The Seoul Design Foundation, as the organizer of the space, installed a kiosk last year in an attempt to solve such problems in a spatial way.
The Kiosk was first suggested by Kim Youngjoon (principal of yo2 Architects Ltd), the director of the Seoul Design Foundation. He commented that ‘the DDP is isolated from the city, and the building itself is closed off’, and also that ‘the main entrance can be accessed through a huge bridge on the 1st floor, which is in fact like a medieval castle’, and that ‘the building is isolated from its surroundings due to the Dongdaemun Park being part of the Seoul City side of Fortress, and the frontal area with the subway being a sunken garden’. Thus, he explained that there was an urgent need to revitalize the outdoor space, and as part of the solution, a Kiosk was suggested as a ‘means’ by which this could be addressed.
Conceptual or Functional
Then what is the main difference between pavilions, kiosk and follies, as they all look similar? The architectural definition of a folly is originally that of a building that is used as ornamental, after losing its original function. This definition was established under a modern perspective after Bernard Tschumi installed 35 structures as follies at the La Villette Park of France, and currently this has changed in character in modern Korea as it was established in the Gwangju Folly I (2011) and Folly II (2013) under the name of Urban Folly. While the definition is not limited to a single definition, as was described in the report in January 2013, follies in Korea still remain as a sort of pavilion that emphasize individual concepts more actively as it came to be installed over a broader expanse of land.
On the other hand, a kiosk can be seen as a pavilion in which functionality has been emphasized a little more. Originally defined through the Turkish definition of a large-scale tent installed outdoors, or a corridor, in the simplest sense, it also means a niche stall or small scale shop. While the DDP Kiosk is not easily visible from the outside, the internal space can be used to utilize diverse programmes. The Kiosk is used to guide citizens through the complicated paths of the DDP and to disseminate different types of information. From time to time, the space itself takes on an independent function offering a type of resting place and convenience facility to people using the park. As such, the Kiosk functions to attract people to its surroundings.
In conclusion, a folly is that which functions in the city, while a Kiosk is that which functions within a singular building. As the Kiosk has come to take on the alternative role for each of the internal functions formerly within the DDP, they simultaneously activate the outdoor space. As follies are installed over a greater area of the city, the encouragement of relative connections between each work, to form a network, is important. On the other hand, since a Kiosk responds only to the DDP within a narrower scope, it thus requires no relative connections between each. Hence, Kim Youngjoon explains that ‘that is why the exact location of where the Kiosk is installed is of prime importance’. Thirty locations were drawn up in the preliminary list, and each spot was tested with each Kiosk, but due to budgetary constraints, only ten places were installed. The joint curator, Kang Jungeun (principal of every architects) explained that, Ten sites were originally considered as thirteen around the gate, but according to an analysis of the citizen circulation, some of them were switched towards the park, and a Kiosk to integrate with the landscape architecture was also made to finalize the location.’
K1 A telescope that can expand in form, and a sort of passageway in its concept, D.Lim architects (Sun Kim + Young Lim)
In regard to the fact that pavilions and urban follies were created to establish a critical vantage point towards large-scale architecture and landmark architecture, it is ironic that Kiosks have been installed within such a large landmark. On the other hand, it is perhaps due to such irony that the small Kiosks of the DDP respond so well to the greater building. This is also appropriate considering that these Kiosks complement the problems of the DDP, as a large number of smaller architecturally unique organizations. Thus, the Kiosks were planned so as not to compete with the DDP, from the earlier stages. Kim Youngjoon emphasized once again that ‘the initial plan was that they do not compete with the DDP’.
Reflecting the history of architecture, there have been many cases in which pavilions have secured a unique status in generational, spatial, formal and technical aspects. Thus, the installation of Kiosks itself has become a sort of ‘experimental field’ to yield a new challenge that can respond to the DDP, which was subject to a greater discussion. Accordingly, the ten architects that participated in the project designed the Kiosks to complement and co-exist with the DDP. The foundation designated five teams made up of public architects of Seoul City, including D.Lim architects (Sun Kim + Young Lim), Poly.m.ur (Kim Homin), DESIGN GROUP OZ (Shin Seungsoo), Hyunjoon Yoo Architects (Hyunjoon Yoo), Atelier Lion Seoul (Lee Sojin). These teams were paired with five teams of architects, that were invited and commissioned from around the world. IaN+ (Luca Galofaro, Rome), Urban Future Organization (Jonas Lundberg, London), NL architects (Kamiel Klaasse, Amsterdam), Howeler + Yoon Architecture (Yoon MeeJin, New York), Oficina Arquitectura Maraga, (Cristina Garcia Baeza, Inaki Perez de la Fuente, Malaga). These teams displayed a variety of attitudes towards the huge landmark, including those of disregard or new experimentation, integrating the diverse programmes into one.
Correspondence, Experimentation and Integration
Correspondence_ The first step of the Kiosks path is K1. It functions as a touring information centre to guide visitors around the Kiosks. While it stands in silence in the form of a simple box at the side of the massive irregular form of the DDP, by completing its finish with reflective glass (black mirror) on the entire of its exterior, it assumes its place by reflecting the surrounding context as well as the DDP.
Some Kiosks respond to the DDP through simple and smooth circular forms. A simple circular structure was made for the K2 by the entrance of the subway, by connecting with the existing urban context of the DDP. The exterior was finished with iron mesh and clear glass, to feature a light and inadvertent air. K4 is also a circular structure. Lee Sojin explained that ‘as the originally designated site was a place of flux, circular form was chosen for the design to evade a sense of direction or coerciveness’. After the initial design, the Kiosk was placed at different locations around the outdoors of the DDP to test for the maximal place. By installing a water curtain for the summer and a vinyl curtain for the winter, a resting place to evade harsh climates was made. She explained that it would provide ‘a familiar space for the public, alike to the pojangmacha or outdoor bars of Korea’.
Other Kiosks include designs that suggest flexible forms by melting, overlapping and twisting the multiple architectural forms that formerly existed at the DDP. K9 proposed a number of forms by setting different parameters by using the form of the land, the location, and the surfaces in contact with the building as variables, and a form was eventually chosen for completion from the many proposals.
K2 The exterior was finished with iron mesh and clear glass, to feature a light and inadvertent air, OAM arquitectos (Cristina García Baeza, Iñaki Pérez de la Fuente)
Experimentation_ To functionally respond to the diverse changes in the external space, some Kiosks were designed to be mobile, with variable sizes and forms. K1 is an architectural response to the undefined status of Kiosks. Young Lim commented that ‘a prototype to allow movement to anywhere in the DDP was created’, and that the Kiosk can be a ‘telescope that can expand in form, and a sort of passageway in its concept’.
Hyunjoon Yoo, who designed K3 explained it as ‘a project that re-established a new architecture by complementing the technological progress of glass with the experience of minimal space’, and defined it as ‘a space that transforms according to the positions of people’. After being attracted to the inside of the structure with the internal exhibition features with a transparent Kiosk, the glass slowly becomes opaque, allowing the visitors to focus on the exhibition. The change in transparency to opaqueness in the Kiosk is a point of attraction. Experiments were also carried out according to materials and forms. Kim Homin who made various forms with triangular panels of chromophoric titanium explained that ‘by repeating and rotating the triangular module panels, K10 was completed with a unique volume, as a good example of thinking about the basic principle that builds form’.
Integration_ Is a Kiosk an example of architecture placed outside, or a form of landscape architecture, or a sculpture or a piece of furniture? Many architects tried to propose integrated designs that embrace all of these points. K1 is a simple rectangular box, but as its length extends from 2.5m to 5m, its function changes from being a gallery to an information centre, to a leisure space. K2 also proposed the concept of a Kiosk as a spatial icon that integrates two circular forms, functioning as a leisure, exhibition, sales, information and cafe space. The structure focused on becoming a landmark that ties together the different variables nearby, such as the architecture, the landscape and the heritage. K3, K4 and K8 are located within the landscape, playing the role of connecting the circulation of the building and the form of landscape architecture. Upon entering K8, a small screen shows DDP related films and a large screen features media exhibitions. Shin Seungsoo who designed K7 explained that he ‘envisioned something that would be both a piece of furniture and a room. This is as a sort of between space in which three types of programmes meet, a profile space for a passageway and piece of furniture’. Also he explained that ‘by using elastic coating, all surfaces were designed with their own particular functions’. Some Kiosks feature variable designs with diverse programmes, or unique form designs. K6 is a sort of architecture, stage and landscape space. A small infrastructure was suggested to be placed outside by integrating the programme, function, land form and sculpture into a simple triangular form. The function changes by combining the four units in a variety of forms.
As a Part of Architecture and the Outdoor Environment
The Kiosk displays different expressions at the DDP. Some show the DDP as it is (K1), while another responds lightly with a certain transparency to the heavy landmark (K2), and yet another stands in disregard to the DDP (K8). Park Jinbae (director, DDP Safety Service Team) has said that ‘the view of the DDP from within the Kiosk is something novel’, and that ‘functionally, the Kiosks can serve as spaces for leisure, retail and exhibitions, as well as for power facilities or information centres for outdoor events’. Kang Jungeun has also said that ‘Kiosks are not simply sculptures or environmental landscape structures’, and that ‘they can be actively utilized by citizens according to different means, including more basic functions such as information about leisure spaces or benches, as well as performance sites, stands, and slides.’ Such methods, categorized by their different behaviours and positions, represent just a few uses for potentials out of many. Citizens can complete these structures by allowing them to change through use with the passing of time. It is hoped that the Kiosks will evolve into unique functions that can unify the outside landscape with the original building, after accomplishing its full potential by establishing a variety of surrounding spaces and having planned diverse events.
K3 By installing a water curtain for the summer and a vinyl curtain for the winter, a resting place to evade harsh climates was madem, Atelier Lion Seoul (Lee Sojin, design team Lee Hyojin)