Some archi-hits from Seoul…

I was just sorting through my old photos when I happened upon some photos from the trip to Seoul that I thought were worth sharing.  Granted, I had already posted a post-script to the Seoul chapter of the blog, so this is a post-post post.  I am too funny.  Lucky I have a blog.

We saw heaps of great buildings in Seoul.  This one is at a large women’s university which is located close to the middle of the city.  It is a huge student building (including library I think) that has been sunk underground, probably to lessen its visual impact on the surrounding buildings.  A huge axis cut through the middle focuses the eye towards one of these buildings, which given the scale of the new building, appeared ultimately not worth the effort.

This central space, grey and overscaled and mostly disconnected from its context, should be horrible, but it works OK – probably because it is so single-minded.  And in a city like Seoul where there are always lots of people walking everywhere, it would be hard to make a space that is devoid of activity.

Of course, most buildings encourage the eye upwards not into the ground.  This crayzy wavy building was next door to the hotel we stayed in, and just nearing completion.  It seems there is a plan to build a second identical building next to this one, which will certainly kill its uniqueness.

And, just around the corner, this one, which I dubbed the Cheese Grater.

My favourite architectural moment was the Samsung HQ, located in the same neighbourhood.  It is a smart collection of buildings and public spaces, clearly defined as a corporate campus but still part of the city, with a simple, well-controlled yet playful design.  Google it, designers and add it to your precedents collection!

Actually, I lie.  My favourite was this place.  I imagine it is not the only Hello Kitty Cafe in the world, but it is the only one I have seen and it immediately filled my heart with feelings of joy.

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