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  

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