Homogenization of apartment buildings symbolized the process of civilization in most of the Asian cities. Mega blocks filled with pillars of uniform apartment towns are undeniably the dated product of modernism. This inevitable globe phenomena shapes the urban landscape into isolated autonomous urban islands, disconnecting any interaction between different parts of the city.
This project is situated in Anyang, one of the satellite cities from Seoul. The site is an existing housing tower development offering the same type of homogenous gated community. This project raises questions of how we can dissolve the rigid boundary created by the apartments, and thus trigger the latent network between the public and private proximity in order to form a new type of urban habitation.
The program of the project is a unique type of building typology in Korea called Keunseng (community building), which consists of retail space, after school classes, and various Bangs. Bang, meaning room, is unique to Korean culture. Since there is limited space for leisure activities inside the apartment, different kinds of Bangs emerge to provide space for leisure and entertainment.
An analysis of Wong Kar Wai’s film: Fallen Angels was deployed as a performative design tool. From there, a number of principles were extracted – the ice-cream van can be seen as a Keunseng building; it is an autonomous object floating in the city. The window acts as the threshold, the object starts to be able to interact with outside, the user was dragged-in by the “interface”. The user started to communicate with the outside and such an autonomous object began to create a latent network, bringing in users of different ages.
There are Karaoke Bang, Bathing Bang, PC Bang, Children Bang etc. The Keunseng is intensified by this kind of ambiguous public and private relationship; different age groups and autonomous programs are brought together in this enclosed entity. However, the building often lacks a strong relationship to the street, landscape and the apartments and all the diverse programs and users remain autonomous and isolated from each other.
In the current typology, all these different users remain isolated and never interact with each other. Hence, this project seeks to fragmentize and reorganize the Keunseng building as “Bangs Parasites”, and spread it out into a larger context to create a more open and engaging network of activities.
The key strategy from Fallen Angel’s ice cream van is the “interface”, the force which enacts the interaction. Therefore, the project proposes three individual buildings as an interface that deals with the three problems of the current Kenseng typology, they are: Street Interface, Landscape Interface, and Apartment Interface. Each of these buildings directly engages with a particular condition and at the same time, draw people into the in-between plaza where the most intensive interaction takes place.
Each building transforms its internal programs into a public activity in the plaza, stimulating interaction within the community. For instance, the street interface transforms the typical Karaoke room into different typologies , from typical room into loft space, to auditorium and finally into an outdoor performance space. The bathing Bang penetrates through the apartment tower, creating a unique space where residents and bathing customers can interact .
This project rethinks the concept of urban habitation. By attacking the homogenous apartment development, by decomposing and transforming the isolated Keunseng building into a “Bang Parasite”, the proposal does not simply act as three individual parasitic architectures that deal with a particular condition. It is to create tension between the three autonomous buildings and trigger the latent network of the once disassociated community.
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