Architects: Younghan Chung + Studio Archiholic
Location: Jongrogu, Seoul, Korea
Architect In Charge: Younghan Chung
Project Year: 2011
Project Area: 191.12 sqm
Photographs: Kim Jae kyeong, Park Jong min
This author suspects that the road where tradition and modern culture join, and the place where the beginning and end of this road simultaneously intersect may be the very Insadong. On this road is diverse cultural behavior being done and a new culture is set off in the course of such cultural behavior’s scattering and gathering to other places. It really required a lot of cautiousness in creating another look at Insandong where the tradition placed in the framework of a road just like a twig and exotic looks are mixed. Probably, such cautiousness might be attributable to the fear that creating a new look of Insandong might cause an impact on the memories of the close by-gone days shared by the whole Insadong and value of privacy like a vestige, but this author would say that such cautiousness is rather a challenge to the possibility of the partial look of Insadong being read as a path attempting at the point of contact between tradition and modern times separately from the mixed image of the whole Insadong.
Dolsilnai is the place which designs everyday wear through its re-interpretation on the basis of our own tradition. In other words, Dolsilnai is a cultural business making a new attempt at dailiness of modern times on the essence of tradition. The word Dolsilnai means the name of the best specialty-hemp cloth- produced by Seokgok village of GoKseong, Jeonla-do, or weaving technique of the hemp cloth. Hereupon, the given ‘placeness’ and word root of the brand became a clue to the project of creating a new look, and this project team set up the possibility of 4 initial directions as follows: The first thing for us to do was to understand the history of the existing structures and buildings, but with the insufficiency in remaining data due to the completion of buildings in 1968, it was indispensable to draw a map by actual re-measurement of all buildings in the area of Insadong and to do structure simulation as well.
Second, it was necessary to readjust the program due to the smaller size of the floor area of each floor[ Building area 53 sqm, total floor area: about 191 sqm ] in comparison with the diversity and variability of the program to be proposed. Third, in case of setting up all buildings as one program, it was necessary to reflect the brand image of the program and at the same time a narrative was required on the basis of the story unique to the brand. The last thing was to examine the possibility of changes in diverse looks by time in time of applying the re-composition method to be applied to building elevation and physical properties consequent on selection of materials, which part was the core of this project.
We cannot exclude the probability that our urban area might degenerate into a faceless city unawares consequent on ideational identity incurred by prevailing outward appearance with no difference through indiscriminate duplication and the influence of the Western trend spreading temporarily. It’s not an easy job to decide on the outward appearance of architecture, i.e. skin, especially in case of renovation of structures because there should be simultaneous production of the responses to the skin based on the new program to be demanded and to the internal space.
In addition, the minimum scope of renovation also includes the formation of relations with the skin by tearing down a part of a structure in order to overcome the limit of a fixed realm due to the existing structure, or simple changes in only the building skins and interior-finishing materials. However, the main point to be mentioned here is the work of creating another look on the motive of the existing structural part( column and beam). In other words, the architectural method lies in Recomposition, i.e. resetting the relations with the new skin by tearing down the existing covering surrounding the structure and exposing a part of the existing structure as if the structural form were to be composed of a new skin.
This author selected a brick among the materials already having the porosity of a physical property itself with the aim of expressing the process of forming the weft and warp of fabric and its shape metaphorically. The brick-laying method connoting cumulation requires temporality and precision at the same time, and physical properties of a brick is slow in their change for a long time even after the completion of brick-laying process. Our project team decided on a brick for reason of some attributes of such physical properties.
In addition, we, the project team, proposed some stacking methods. Generally, the brick-laying method has a limit to the independently supportable height in cumulating bricks, so we also needed the detailed structural frame as a supplementary means. There were an unrealistic alternative and also the option to overcome the limit to vertical height out of some stacking methods.
Nevertheless, our project team came to focus on Recomposition of porosity caused by stacking rather than looking for a new alternative to the stacking method. In other words, the project team was able to get a change in elevation by the composition consequent on the density while adjusting the porosity ratio by the method of stacking the already-set porous pattern on the elevation other than the method of flat arrangement, and at the same time, our team came to metaphorize the process of fabric formation and its shape.
This author personally thinks that the elevation by porosity is more transparent than the elevation to which glass properties are applied. According to our research, the elevation began to get more transparent while the void of the same size(1.8mx1.8m) repetitiously was filling up the limited two sides, or a facade and the elevation on the right side. This void is a strategy for skin transparency other than the character of an opening having primary functions, such as sun-lighting, view and ventilation, and also another porosity for recomposition with a new skin by exposing the forms of the existing structural parts-beam and column.
The choice of the void 1.8 meters in width and length was based on the principle of elevation composition in consideration of the minimum privacy with the maximum scale which makes it possible to observe people’s diverse behavior. In addition, there came to be spawned the recomposition of diverse multi-pores with the application of the three patterns(opening ratio of 0 percent, 50 percent and 100 percent) to the void as a result of the stacking method.
People look for a variety of clothes that fit their own body respectively. Sometimes, at the moment they realize that the discomfort from superfluousness and lessness in size or something is felt just like their own body unawares, clothes and body become oneness. In addition, clothes wrap the body and come to breathe together with the body. Architecture is quite the same with men’s clothes. It comes to wear the clothes of diverse forms on the structure like a human skeleton. All anonymous structures in the city we are living exist wearing the clothes that nicely fit their own body or sometimes wearing loose fitting clothes.
Here, an architect sometimes does an act of having to put different clothes on the existing frame( renovation ) besides the act of making a new frame( new construction ). This building, located at 196-3, Gwanhoondong, has been changing clothes a few times while firmly taking care of a corner of the Insandong road for over 40 years. The building owner, who has cultural concern and passion while designing modernized wear on the basis of our own traditional everyday wear called Dolsilnai, wished his building to turn over a new leaf as a place for Dolsilnai clothing counter & another different cultural space.
The path of the word root of the skills in weaving the hemp cloth is linked to the clues determining the skin and interior of this building, and the fabric’s properties, such as multi-pores and flexibility were replaced by a traditional brick and birch tree. The skinny skeleton, or structure hidden from other clothes for a long time was revealed on the void of the same size to get to have a new body structure, rather coming to assume the value more than a new skin. The overall elevation composition of the same void(1.8mx1.8m)is the other porosity, and connotes primitiveness of the brick-laying method and forms of invisible mending of fabric.
The homogeneous void by recomposition of the elevation sometimes gets the existing frame to be exposed by zero percent, 50 percent and 100 percent multi-pore density from laying bricks, or becomes a crack for an ivy to grow or through which one can peep at people’s diverse behavior, and it can breathe serenely with its surrounding landscapes while giving off or absorbing light.
After all, through the process of becoming oneness between clothes and body as POROSCAPE, our work becomes the one for getting a structure to breathe with surrounding landscapes and for the landscapes of a structure’s change into an object.