In order to create vibrant public spaces, people need to have a constant presence in these locations, whether they are on their own or in groups. In fact, they need to linger in these places and establish social interactions. To do so, one major element has to be incorporated in the urban setting: the bench.
This seating feature, simple or high tech, insures firstly the comfort of the passersby and animates the area consequently, through the addition of the missing human aspect. Sometimes, this is all it takes to revive a space that became a dull passage. The most basic urban design component can take many forms and can be created from different materials, always generating a statement and serving its purpose.
My commitment to pavilions—to the idea of making constructional follies—is connected with needing to develop prototypes and carry out constructional research away from the normal practice of architecture. Without being subject to a client’s brief, the pavilions give me an opportunity to develop and test different methodologies, which is something that has always interested me about teaching. They are investigations into various kinds of context, dealing with urban scenarios and landscapes—they are about making something in space for its own sake, when the guiding idea comes from a reading of place. The pavilions fine tune my engagement with a specific situation, allowing me to see what is essential in terms of an action or construction. I did not set out with the idea of working in series, but as different opportunities came up, the process of designing them became more organic, the language seemed to make sense, and as one thing reinforced another, they took on a life of their own.
Le Corbusier stated in his seminal text, Towards a New Architecture, that “...man looks at the creation of architecture with his eyes, which are 5 feet 6 inches from the ground.” Logical and rational codes such as this form the standard for much of architectural production - but of course, these "norms" are as constructed as architecture itself. This particular standard is especially irrelevant when designing for children, for whom the adult-centric assumptions of architecture do not and should not apply.
Architecture as Experiential Marketing: The Surprisingly Bright Vantablack Olympic Pavilion in PyeongChang
Much has been said about the darkest building in the world, designed by Asif Khan, for Hyundai's Winter Olympic pavilion this year. What’s more surprising about this blackest-of-black pavilion is really how bright it is inside. The imposing facade of Vantablack VBx2 encloses a series of radiant, playful rooms and the entire project is part of a joint effort by Hyundai and Asif Khan to use architecture and design principles to bring delight to Olympic visitors in Pyeongchang this year.