Are you tired of Square Concrete buildings all over? Here are buildings to solve your thirsts for new ones – the container box shopping mall, the toilet-shaped museum, and the complex space with no straight lines.
Is it common? – Commonground
What comes to your mind when you think of a container? Freight box? Harbor? How about Shopping mall? Commonground is the biggest popup container shopping mall in the world, as is the first one in Korea. The concept of using containers out of the purpose of loading cargos has been existed around the world such as Spacebox in Netherlands and Container Park in Las Vegas. Inspired by these buildings, Commonground was designed in 2014
piling up about 200 container boxes in the site which was originally used as a taxi garage. You can do the shopping in small but trendy markets, eat delicious foods from food trucks, and watch exciting performances in the middle of the hall.
The attractive part of it is its differentiated construction method. Do you remember yourself playing with Legos when you were young? Commonground was constructed just as you built your own Lego Products. Around 70 percent of the containers were produced in the factory before moving to the construction site using 1Modular Construction, reducing both construction costs and periods. The sources of the building, container boxes are also interesting parts of the building. They can be used limitlessly, and they are easy to be reassembled. Each trait contributes to the reduction of industrial wastes and the good feature of pop-up stores. With increased interests in Commonground, more buildings are appearing using container boxes inside and outside Korea.
The house for what? - Mr.Toilet House
In Korea, most of the toilets nowadays are inside people’s residential spaces contrary to the past, which means the cognition toward toilet changed a lot. There is a place where you can see these changing processes of consciousness and read an autobiography of Mr.Sim who was once the mayor of Suwon. It is Mr. Toilet House, Hae Woo Jae.
During his presidency, Mr.Sim founded the World Toilet Association, WTA in 2007. To celebrate it, he pulled down his original house and rebuilt it with the shape of a big toilet. He named it Hae Woo Jae. Hae Woo Jae means the house where you can satisfy your anxieties. It came from another word for toilet in Korea, Hausso, which means the place to throw concerns off. Hae Woo Jae got the record of the biggest toilet sculpture from the Guinness Book of Korea and became the first toilet museum and theme park in the world!
Inside Mr.Toilet House, there are museums, experiment zones, exhibitions about poop and excrement. Also, there are many interesting sculptures representing history and diversity of toilets around the building. Mr.Toilet House makes people change their awareness on toilets, and is being a successful case to benchmark about toilet cultures from other countries.
Spaceship in the middle of the city? - DDP
Do you know where Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism was held? The answer is Dongdaemun Design Plaza. A lot of people call it DDP, and it has another meaning, which is “Dream, Design, and Play.” It is a complex cultural space that looks like a huge spaceship.
DDP consists of Art hall, Museum, Design lab, Oullim square, Design market, and Dongdaemun history & culture park. In each place, various events are held such as fashion shows, presentations of new products, seminars, and exhibitions. The building was built by Zaha Hadid from Iraq. She tried to show one big united scenery of historical, cultural, social, economic ever-changing factors in the city.
What we used to think as necessary is not necessary for DDP. There are no straight lines or walls on the outer surfaces of DDP, nor the pillars inside this building. From the second basement floor to the fourth floor, the only thing to sustain building is the spiral staircase! These features of three-dimensional atypical form were able with the help of several construction methods such as Building Information Modeling, Mega-Truss Structure, and Space Frame Structure. There are still a lot to experience and see in DDP like 45,133 different exterior panels and natural gypsum boards, and lots of people visit this 24-hour open place, making a huge complex space together.
Beside the characteristic that these three buildings have unique appearances, we can know that the architecture itself can act as a Symbol or a Promotion. The simplicity of reassembling containers in Commonground, existences of various toiletrelated facilities and sculptures in Mr.Toilet House, and outlines with various panels and soft curves in DDP : each works as a symbol for the pop-up shopping mall, the place where people can improve their consciousness about toilet, and the complex area expressing dynamics of Dongdaemun. Thus, these buildings’ unique appearances attract people to gather, which means the architecture can work as a promotion.
The buildings are reminding us not just external values, but also inner values about their purposes and significances of architecture. The architecture contains art, and it makes us look buildings in a different perspective. Except for three buildings above, there are other unique buildings in Korea such as the upside-down pension and the ship-shaped hotel. It is great to indulge in the fantasticalness that your imagination of buildings turns into reality, but, sometimes, how about being immersed in the new world of architecture?
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