This is the twentieth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response… this month’s theme: “Summer”.
Last summer, we had a baby. Sometimes we call our projects babies, but last summer we really had a physical living baby. Since both of our parents live in Korea, they have been eagerly awaiting their grandson (even though they've seen him at least once since birth last summer) as we prepared to travel to Korea.
The picture at the beginning of this post is from our base in Ilsan. It's a "suburb" of Seoul but actually a pretty large city in it of itself – as you can see from the photo. It's not photoshopped, that is the real deal. 50 story plus apartment towers. This happens to be the tallest apartment in Ilsan, but more are on the way. Apartment tower life is the norm in Korea, especially in larger metropolitan areas.
Korea is a fast-changing cultural destination. Buildings, retailers, shops, people come and go. Stores literally close overnight to rebrand themselves or open as another store entirely in a matter of days. Permit drawings are submitted over the internet and reviewed in a matter of days, if not hours. Mornings start early, people play late.
We had a chance to visit the d gallery (actually in Seoul), a subsidiary gallery of Daelim Museum in Hannamdong, Seoul. The d gallery is an up and coming area that used to be more known for its U.N. Village where many foreigners reside. We happened to catch Thomas Heatherwick's exhibition at the d3 and enjoyed the audio tour guide of his works. Being from the Silicon Valley, we wanted to see more details of the B.I.G. collaboration on the Google campus, but that wasn't to be found. Still top secret stuff we suppose.
We also wanted to see for ourselves the highly critiqued DDP by the late Zaha Hadid. When we asked our friends and family about the building, we got mostly negative responses back saying that the building didn't fit in with its surroundings and that it looked like a spaceship had landed.
For us, the initial impression was respect. Respect for not only a great architect who has passed, but respect for the curves and the way in which a foreign architect was able to keep the quality pristine. The metal panels laid across the forms are pure art, to be admired.
I think the majority of people don't understand how big a deal this is; how hard this is to accomplish. Yet, when visiting the site, we only saw positive reactions and responses from visitors and users.
Unfortunately, the galleries were closed for new exhibits to be put up, but we did get a chance to walk some of the other public areas inside and out. We highly recommend at least paying a visit when visiting Seoul.
Speaking of curves, when we worked in Seoul, our office did a building with some curves of its own near Gwanghwamun and Gyeongbokgung Palace. It's called the TT building, or the Twin Tree Towers. The form was inspired by tree trunks and is covered in glazing.
We also spent a few days in the countryside of Korea in a farm town between Seoul and Daejeon called Jincheon. One of our favorite things to do in Korea is to visit the public markets.
Another favorite building of ours is also a past work from our old office. This is the Camerata Music Listening Hall, by Byoung Soo Cho. The client was a famous Korean TV news broadcast announcer who retired in an art village called Heyri and wanted a space to listen to classical music and share it with others.
Another treat for us this time around was visiting our old co-workers that have also gone off to open their own practices. We visited two of our close friends who have begun an exciting new office and already have several notable projects in the books and realized.
Another small gallery we visited in Seoul is the Kukje Gallery's newest addition, designed by SO-IL Architects.
Kyu's old boss now also has an architecture gallery called "onground".
The MMCA Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul has also just opened a new building recently. One of the exhibits featured the Young Architects Program that is in partnership with the MoMA PS1 program for young architects in New York.
In closing, we leave you with two pictures of the Shanghai Expo project that Thomas Heatherwick designed. This is the scale section model that shows the needle-like fiberglass tubes that carry the inventory of the seeds of the world. The interior is very surreal and fluid womb, while the exterior is like a porcupine or sea urchin eager to protect itself.
Summer is a great time to travel, recharge, explore, and learn. Cheers, to Summer in Seoul.
Now check out the other blogs that have featured posts around the same #ArchiTalks topic about summer:
Enoch Sears - Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
Summer is a Great Time To Market Your Architecture Firm!
Bob Borson - Life of An Architect (@bobborson)
Marica McKeel - Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
Summer : A Review
Lee Calisti, AIA - Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
summer working, had me a blast
Evan Troxel - Archispeak Podcast / TRXL (@etroxel)
Lora Teagarden - L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
Seasons of Summer
Jes Stafford - MODwelling (@modarchitect)
The Dog Days of Summer
Eric T. Faulkner - Rock Talk (@wishingrockhome)
Summer -- Architecture Imagery
Michele Grace Hottel - Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#Architalks 20 "summer" and architecture
Stephen Ramos - BUILDINGS ARE COOL (@sramos_BAC)
4 Secrets To Getting The Most Out Of Your Summer Internship
Brian Paletz - The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Michael LaValley - Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
An Acrophobic Architect's Illuminating Summer of Roofs
Sharon George - Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
Glass in Architecture - Summer Wonders
Brinn Miracle - Architangent (@architangent)
4 Reasons Solar Power is a Hot Topic
Emily Grandstaff-Rice - Emily Grandstaff-Rice FAIA (@egrfaia)
Jarod Hall - di'velept (@divelept)
... and the livin's easy
Drew Paul Bell - Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Samantha Raburn - The Aspiring Architect (@TheAspiringArch)
An Architectural Spark for your Summer
Keith Palma - Architect's Trace (@cogitatedesign)
Adam Denais - Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
5 Things to Make the Most of Your Summer
Jim Mehaffey - Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
An Architect Summer
Jeffrey A Pelletier - Board & Vellum (@boardandvellum)
Do I Need to Hire an Architect?