Screens in the street...
Screens from the street...


In a deliberate reference to Bernard Tschumi’s Manhattan Transcripts I reinterpreted five junctions along the alley in order to view them as smaller sites within the site. 
Sites within the alley...
Tschumi’s drawings read like a storyboard, the filmic quality heightened by the rhythm and motion of page turning.  The metropolis, with its familiar punctuations of park, street, tower and city block is an elaborate set piece that is fragmented beyond cartographic representation. 
Tschumi's Manhattan Transcripts
The drawings make a claim on architectural discourse as an arena for abstract narrative – an idea I believe I am testing in my own thesis.  My assemblage of plan (1:100), photograph and drawing visualise new spaces within a familiar territory.
                Re-visualising the junctions...
The exercise also brought to mind Piranesi’s Carceri – that eerie collection of etchings that re-imagine a prison through distorted planes, scales and perspectives.  
Plate XIV from Piranesi's Carceri


A Test

This week we were joined for a few days by Florian and Phil of ARU and LMU Unit 1, who were in Seoul to promote their latest publication on Saemangeum Island City.

We began with a visit to Paju Book City where ARU have three built projects.  I visited these around a month ago but the repeat excursion was greatly enhanced by the unique privilege of being walked through the buildings by the architects.  Our guided exploration covered both conceptual ambitions and material considerations.  We were set a short exercise – to collate this information (along with our own observations) at a number of scales into a ‘dossier’, to be presented two days later.
ARU buildings in Paju (l-r): Positive Thinking Publishing House, YoulHwaDang Publishing House, YoulHwaDang Book Hall
I used it as an opportunity to test my own preoccupations with the intention of producing two booklets: one on expressions of emptying (layering, transparency, circularity and overlapping), the other on filling.
In fact, I was only able to produce the first but I intend to complete the second since the two actions are part of a circular process – emptying enables filling, the process of filling enables emptying...
(click thumbnails below to enlarge)
Layering: The site strata creates an infrastructure for the buildings in Paju
YoulHwaDang is emblematic of this
'landscape infrastructure'
Transparency: YoulHwaDang window detail,

polycarbonate provides transparent insulation
Transparency (not just through materiality):
the rooms are invited to inhabit one another
Circularity: views into other rooms allows a
continuous unravelling of space
Overlapping: fair faced concrete within the 
book hall brings exterior into the interior, the 
book-shelves are smaller buildings that 
face a larger one in the centre of the room
Layering; the varied planes of the facade
transform it from one building into four

The booklet was well received and led to a wider discussion about the space between objects.  Phil explained that the Korean word for space ‘kangang’, when translated has a meaning more akin to emptiness.

I also presented some of the drawings that would form the booklet about elements of filling (light, shadows, landscape):

Shadows activate the layered facade
The surrounding landscape is drawn in through framed views in the upper storeys  



Historically the site marks an interface between Seoul’s public persona and its private disposition.
It remains emblematic of this friction – a sealed locality quietly resisting external influence - the royal carriageway is replaced by a hard crust of tower blocks and corporate chains.
...an interface between public persona and private disposition