5 Years Later, A Look Back on OMA’s Prada Transformer

© Iwan Baan

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the opening of OMA’s Prada Transformer. This fantastical temporary structure, erected in 2009 adjacent to Gyeonghui Palace in Seoul, Korea, is one of Rem Koolhaas’ most popular projects to date. Composed of a stark white membrane stretched across four steel frame shapes, The Transformer was often referred to as an “anti-blob” –a hexagon, a rectangle, a cross, and a circle leaning against each other to create a tetrahedron-like object reminiscent of a circus tent.  The name Transformer came from the idea that any one of the pavilion’s sides could serve as the building’s floor, allowing for four unique spaces in one building devoted to exhibitions of modern art, fashion and design.

The Prada Transformer played host to four such events, being lifted up and repositioned onto a different face each time via crane. The first was a garment exhibition, displayed using the hexagonal  floor plan.  The second, a film festival that took place on the rectangular floor plan.  A fashion show was staged using the Transformer’s circular floor plan, and an art installation was shown using the cruciform floor plan.  As patron Miuccia Prada stated in an interview with The New York Times, “In my mind they [the arts] may be mixed but I want to keep them separate… So the Transformer concept was not for a generic space, but to be very specific, with all things separate in one building.”

We asked OMA’s Vincent McIlduff to tell us more about this project. See his answers, a photo gallery and a time-lapse video of the transformation after the break!

UNStudio’s Responsive Facade to Transform Seoul Office Tower

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UNStudio has won a competition to remodel the Hanwha headquarters in . With an aim to transform a building into a symbol of the leading environmental technology company’s values, UNStudio’s winning scheme will replace the skyscraper’s opaque panelling and single layer of dark glass with an animated facade designed to reduce solar gain, increase natural light, generate energy, and interact with its surrounding. 

Urban Hive / ARCHIUM

© Park, Young-chae

Architects: ARCHIUM
Location: Seoul,
Architect In Charge: Kim In-cheurl
Area: 10,166 sqm
Year: 2008
Photographs: Park, Young-chae

Dongdaemun Design Plaza / Zaha Hadid Architects

©  Virgile Simon Bertrand

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: 281 Euljiro-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South
Architect In Charge: Zaha Hadid Architects
Design Partners: Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
Zha Project Leader: Eddie Can Chiu-Fai
Zha Project Managers: Craig Kiner and Charles Walker
Zha Project Team: Kaloyan Erevinov, Hooman Talebi, Matthew Wong, Martin Self, Carlos S. Martinez, Camiel Weijenberg, Florian Goscheff, Maaike Hawinkels, Aditya Chandra, Andy Chang, Arianna Russo, Ayat Fadaifard, Josias Hamid, Shuojiong Zhang, Natalie Koerner, Jae Yoon Lee, Federico Rossi, John Klein, Chikara Inamura, Alan Lu
Zha Competition Team: Kaloyan Erevinov, Paloma Gormley, Hee Seung Lee, Kelly Lee, Andres Madrid, Deniz Manisali, Kevin McClellan, Claus Voigtmann, Maurits Fennis
Area: 89574.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs:  Virgile Simon Bertrand

Case Studies in Coastal Vulnerability: Boston, Seoul, Hamburg, Bangladesh & New York

Water floods the Plaza Shops in Manhattan after Superstorm Sandy, 2012. Photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images.

This article originally appeared in the latest issue of ArchitectureBoston as “Troubled Waters.“ 

The challenges of sea-level rise cross boundaries of all sorts: geographic, political, social, economic. Proposed mitigation strategies will also necessarily shift and overlap. Here, we present five case studies from across the globe that offer intriguing ways—some operational, some philosophical—to address the threats associated with climate change. Drawing on a research initiative focused on vulnerabilities in Boston, a team at Sasaki Associates developed these additional design-strategy icons to illustrate the layered approaches. They are adaptable, the better to meet the unique demands of each coastal community.

PAPYRUS Glasses Shop / Archi@Mosphere

Courtesy of

Architects: Archi@Mosphere
Location: Seoul, South
Area: 59.0 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Archi@Mosphere

HUB / Hyunjoon Yoo Architects

© Jihye Choi

Architects: Hyunjoon Yoo Architects
Location: Nokbeon-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul, South
Design Team: HyunjoonYoo, Jinsung Huh, Insil Son, Jaehong Park, Moonchul Choi, Sunkeun Hwang, Seungho Ham
Area: 3,200 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jihye Choi, Youngchae Park

SCL – Seoul Creative Lab / Hyunjoon Yoo Architects

© Youngchae Park

Architects: Hyunjoon Yoo Architects
Location: 5 Nokbeon-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, ,
Design Team: HyunjoonYoo, Jinsung Huh, Insil Son, Jaehong Mik, Moonchul Choi, Sunkeun Hwang, Seungho Ham, Hyuntak Cho
Area: 600.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Youngchae Park, Jihye Choi

Sang Seng Jae / Design Guild

© Hyo Chul Hwang

Architects: Design Guild
Location: Seoul, South
Design Team: Haun Jun Choi, Sang Mi Jeong, Kang Kim, Jeong Young Chu
Chief Architect: Daewon Kwak
Area: 294.0 sqm
Photographs: Hyo Chul Hwang

Dragonfly / iArc Architects

© Archframe

Architects: iArc Architects
Location: Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Architect In Charge: Yoo, Kerl, Shin, Seunghyun
Co Architect: Lee, Jinwook
Design Team: Sohn, Kirak, Hong, Sungkwan, Kim, UiHun, Park, Sangkyu, Park, Youngsoo, Park, Jaehun, Park, Bumjin, Kang, Younggu, Hwang, JungHun, Lee, Hyungju
Area: 1,151 sqm
Photographs: Archframe

Seoul New City Hall / iArc Architects

© Archframe

Architects: iArc Architects
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Architect In Charge: Yoo Kerl
Design Team: Insu Pak, Tesoc Hah, Kirak Sohn, Jumi Kim, Bokju Jeong,Taesu Kim, Sangkyu Park, Hyoyeop Lee, Hakyeon Kim, Seoneun Park, Gyeongeun Kim, Sangwoo Lee, Taehyuk Kwak, Sunghyeon Cho, Songi Park
Area: 7590.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Archframe

White house / Design band YOAP

© Jae-Wook Cho

Architects: Design band YOAP
Location: Bangbae-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul,
Architect In Charge: Doran Kim, Inkeun Ryu, Hyunbo Shin
Area: 350.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jae-Wook Cho

Rest Hole in the University of Seoul / UTAA

© Jin Hyo-suk

Architects: UTAA
Location: Jeonnong-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, , South
Design Team: UTAA, Architectural Students of the University of Seoul (Lee Sang-Myeong, Ha Ki-Seong, Baek Jong-Ho)
Area: 180 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Jin Hyo-suk, Kim Yong-soon, Courtesy of UTAA

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.

House in Hyojadong / Min Soh + Gusang Architectural Group + Kyoungtae Kim

© Namgoong Sun

Architects: Min Soh +  + Kyoungtae Kim
Location: Hyoja-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South
Principal: Jin Hee Cho
Design Team: Min Soh, Jin Hee Cho, Kyoungtae Kim, Sung Young Kim, Kyoungdon Kim, Hannah Lee
Area: 254.12 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Namgoong Sun

National Library of Sejong City / Samoo Architects &Engineers

© Young Chae Park

Architects: Samoo Architects &Engineers
Location: Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Collaboration: KeunJeong Architects & Engineers Inc
Area: 21076.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Young Chae Park

Invisible Skyscraper Unveiled for Seoul

Infinity Tower / GDS Architects. Image Courtesy of fastcodesign.com

California-based GDS Architects‘ new proposal, dubbed Infinity Tower, is designed to disappear from its Korean skyline. How? Cameras will be mounted at six strategic points; thousands of LED screens on the facade will then broadcast the real-time photos captured and logged by the cameras. Though no estimated completion date has been announced, the developers have received construction permits to break ground. More about this incredible vanishing act and how it’s done at Fast Co-Design.

Honeybee Lounge / poly.m.ur

© Kyungsub Shin

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