Inside Korea’s “Crow’s Eye View” – Golden Lion Winner at the Venice Biennale 2014

Crow’s Eye View: The Korean Peninsula. Image © Nico Saieh

Today, the Korean Peninsula provides a striking example of a post-war polarization: two opposite political and economical systems, constantly presented in contrast/conflict by the global media, that still maintain an intricate, complicated relationship. Architecture’s role in this polarization was instrumental. sought to represent the aspirations of a new communist nation within a context devastated after the war — a tabula-rasa from which adaptations of modernism could appear. In , fast economic growth bred a form of modernization that represented the ideals of a globalized world.

These distinct absorptions of modernity, and the relation between the two neighboring nations, are represented in Korea’s Pavilion in an exhibition called Crow’s Eye View, winner of the Gold Lion at the Venice Biennale 2014.  The dense exhibition, commissioned and curated by Minsuk Cho together with Hyungmin Pai and Changmo Ahn, used every corner of the pavilion to represent this subject. The curators invited a multidisciplinary group of architects, urbanists, poets, writers, artists, photographers, film-makers, curators and collectors to demonstrate (to best of their availability, since official cooperation with North Korean institutions proved impossible) the architectural intersections and divisions between North and South Korea.

Recognized by the judges as “research in action,” Crow’s Eye View provided an invaluable addition to a discourse which has been predominantly carried by Western-centric narratives. And it is precisely this that, according to rumors, made it Koolhaas’ favorite pavilion.

Moon Ji Bang Wins Inaugural MMCA Young Architects Program in South Korea

2014: Shinseon Play / Moon Ji Bang. Image Courtesy of MoMA

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 has announced a partnership with the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) in Seoul that has expanded the international Young Architects Program (YAP) to South Korea. Just as presents opportunities for emerging architects to design and build temporary installations in New York, Chile, Rome and Istanbul, Korea will offer the MMCA’s outdoor Museum Plaza as the summer installation site.

Already, a winner has been chosen from 26 submissions to serve as the inaugural YAP Korea installation. With completion planned for July 8, winning team Moon Ji Bang (Threshold) is amidst the final preparations for mystical, mythology-inspired installation that will transcend visitors from the daily hustle into a cloud-like landscape of air balloon structures.

Venice Biennale 2014: Minsuk Cho to Present “Crow’s Eye View” of Divided Korea

Kim Il-sung Square, Pyongyang, 2010 © Philipp Meuser

Minsuk Cho of MASS Studies, commissioner and curator of the Korean Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, has announced that he will be responding to director Rem Koolhaas’ theme Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014 with an exhibition focused on the architecture of divided Korea. With the exhibition Crow’s Eye View: The Korean Peninsula, Cho will present the architecture of North and South Korea as “an agent – a mechanism for generating alternative narratives that are capable of perceiving both the everyday and the monumental in new ways.”

The full curatorial statement, after the break…

eVolo Skyscraper Winner 2014 Transforms Korean ‘Hanok’ Into Impressive High-Rise

Visualisation. Image ©

Vernacular Versatility, recently awarded first place in the 2014 eVolo Skyscraper Competition, seeks to adapt traditional Korean architecture into a contemporary mixed-use high-rise. The vernacular design of the Hanok, the “antonym of a western house” and epitome of the Korean style, has disappeared from every town. Extensive urban development in the 1970s led to a boom in modern apartment dwellings and, consequently, a loss of established Korean vernacular architecture. Yong Ju Lee’s proposal aims to reimagine the Hanok in one of the country’s busiest districts, drawing people’s attention to and stimulating their interest in traditional architecture with the intention that “it will eventually be absorbed into people’s everyday lives”

Ga On Jai / IROJE KHM Architects

© Jong Oh Kim

Architects: IROJE KHM Architects
Location: Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si, Gyeonggi-do,
Architect In Charge: HyoMan Kim
Design Team: Kyung Jin-Jung, SeungHee-Song, SuKyung-Jang, JiYeon-Kim, EunJin-Sin, HyeJin-Kim, WooSin-Sim
Area: 329.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Sergio Pirrone, Jong Oh Kim, Jeong Sik Mun

Winning Entry for New Pottery Museum in South Korea / PWFERRETTO + UTOP

Courtesy of PWFERRETTO

Seoul-based architectural firms, PWFERRETTO + UTOP, were recently selected winners of a competition commissioning a new pottery museum in the Goheung region of South Korea. The winning entry extends the museum experience throughout the 97,000 square meter site and is organized around four concepts, “genius loci, traditional village, landmark roof and nature journey.”

IT Convergence Building / Kyu Sung Woo Architects

© Goongsun Nam

Architects: Kyu Sung Woo Architects
Location: , South
Principal Architect: Kyu Sung Woo, FAIA
Project Architects: Kyoung Eun Kwon, Vital Albuquerque
Area: 26,023 sqm
Photographs: Goongsun Nam, Won Yang Kim

Velo Towers / Asymptote Architecture

Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture

Asymptote‘s Velo Towers, designed for the Yongsan master plan in Seoul, , are formed by vertical cluster of cylindrical volumes which were strategically stacked and rotated to maximize views, privacy and environmental conditions. Consisting of eight distinct residential components, each cluster is carefully choreographed to establish a strong visual connection with the adjacent Yongsan Park and distant Han River. These clusters are complimented by a series of roof gardens, shared amenities and internal circulation spaces centered around light filled open atriums.

Sejong Center for Performing Arts / Asymptote Architecture

Night View (Front). Image Courtesy of

New York based Asymptote Architecture have unveiled designs for a new Centre of Performing Arts in Sejong, South Korea. Described as celebrating “the cities emergence and growth as a place of stature and culture,” the arts centre is designed to “seamlessly connect to the city fabric.” Containing two theaters, the program of the building has been designed to create a unified experience, allowing for a “powerful and ‘episodic’ interiority and experience.”

Incheon International Airport – Terminal 2 / Gensler

Courtesy of Gensler

A few days ago, Korea‘s Incheon International Airport broke ground on its latest addition, Terminal 2. Gensler, in collaboration with the HGMY Consortium, designed the $2.5 billion project that will double the size of the country’s busiest airport with its 72 gates and 7.4 million square feet of space. The project includes a second airport control tower, train station, parking facilities and an airside Intra Airport Transit (IAT).

Keep reading for the architects’ description.

Honeybee Lounge / poly.m.ur

© Kyungsub Shin

Architects: poly.m.ur
Location: Seoul,
Design Team: Seungjun Oh, Sunki Whang, Jaeho Song, Hyunju Lim, Jiin Kim
Area: 208.02 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Kyungsub Shin, Megabox

Magok Central Plaza Winning Proposal / Wooridongin Architects

Courtesy of

Located in the intersection of the pedestrian axis of Festival Street within the heart of Magok city in Seoul, the competition winning proposal by Wooridongin Architects for the Magok Central Plaza weaves itself into the surrounding city. The plaza is a great traffic node since it is where the subway lines 5, 9 and Airport train cross. Its close location to Han River greenery and ecosystem aligning with the River, Jungang Park and Green Area Connectors makes it to be part of a continuous open space system. More images and architects’ description after the break.

The Sarang Community Church / Seoinn Design Group

© Chae Soo Uk

Architects: Seoinn Design Group
Location: , Gyeonggi-do, South
Project Architects: Dong gyu Choi, Yoo cheol Choi
Area: 12202.42 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Chae Soo Uk

Paju Book City / Stan Allen Architect

Courtesy of Stan Allen Architect

Architects: Stan Allen Architect
Location: ,
Associate Architects: H. Sang Seung, Iroje Architects, Seoul, Korea
Year: 2009
Photographs: Courtesy of Stan Allen Architect

Beyond the Screen / OBBA

© Kyungsub Shin

Architects: OBBA
Location: ,
Architect In Charge: Sojung Lee, Sangjoon Kwak
Area: 128 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Kyungsub Shin, Courtesy of OBBA

NAVER MOBILE APP SQUARE / URBANTAINER

Courtesy of

Previously limited to particular locations, Naver App was delivered all around the nation using a ‘kit-box’ concept. With the addition of a ‘kinetic’ element to the existing over-sized delivery box concept, the new Naver App Square, designed and constructed by URBANTAINER has evolved into a giant moving gift box. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Element house / Sami Rintala

Courtesy of

Architect: Sami Rintala
Landscape Architects: Eedo Space Architectural Design, Seúl, Republic of Korea
Location: Anyang Park, Anyang, Seúl, Republic of Korea
Materials: Steel, , Concrete, Gravel, Glass
Construction: October-December 2005
Finish: January 2006
Constructed Area: 72sqm
Client: Anyang City / Public Art Project
Collaborators: John Roger Holte, Artist, Norway; Finnforest, Wood
Photography: Park Wan Soon, Emil Goh

Video: A Conversation with Steven Holl inside the Daeyang Gallery & House

Journey through the flawless space of the Daeyang Gallery & House in and learn about the ideas behind the design from the legendary architect himself, Steven Holl.

Created by the architectural filmmakers from Spirit of Space, the first video takes you on a tour through the “miniature utopia” of the Daeyang Gallery & House. Although the notion of music plays as an underlining theme throughout the design, Holl encourages visitors to focus on the feelings that arise as the body moves through the space. He believes that “architecture can change the way you feel, like music… it can bring you into another world.”