The New York Times has a critical article on the efforts of both Samsung and LG, in building corporate facilities in the US. Samsung wins applause – this time – and LG draws the ugly criticism of being a “bad neighbor” due to their proposed office space:
. . . 143 feet high on a site next to the Palisades, which have been designated a National Natural Landmark. That’s several stories above the tree line. The site had been zoned to prohibit anything over 35 feet high, a provision that protects the view, but the company, a hefty local taxpayer, won a variance. . . .
To summarize: the project in San Jose (Samsung) is thoughtful, LG’s is a public shame.
The article is here.
Fans of modern Korean architecture will want to check out these works by Seung H-sang, one of Korea’s top architects.
Seung was invited to last year’s International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, where he was one of only two Asian architects
And the winner of the 2012 Harleston Parker Medal, awarded to “such architects as shall have, in the opinion of the Boston Society of Architects. . . completed the erection for any private citizen, association, corporation, or public authority, the most beautiful piece of architecture, building, monument or structure within the limits of the City of Boston or of the Metropolitan Parks District,” has been awarded to Kyu Sung Woo Architects for a new residential building at Harvard University.
Kyu Sung Woo works mostly in the United States, but it appears he did design the Whanki Museum in Buam-dong, Seoul and the Asian Culture Complex in Gwangju.
(HT to the Chosun Ilbo)
Pyongyang’s iconic Ryugyong Hotel—once called the “Worst Building in the History of Mankind“—is set to open sometime in spring, the WaPo reports.
Now, I’ll repeat what I said earlier about the Ryugyong. I’d found it sort-of-cool actually when it was all exposed concrete. Admitedly, I have something of a hard-on for brutalist architecture, and the Ryugyong had that sinsiter, brutalist/Stalinist vibe in spades. Covered in glass, however, it loses all that vibe.
The NY Times has a good article on the work of Paul Bonatz and the current fight between preservationists and builders in Stuttgart, Germany. It reminds me of Berlin and of course Seoul. The money quote? —
Finally, there is the belief that large-scale infrastructure projects are just what we need in tough times. We need jobs, don’t we? And aren’t the best parts of the old building being saved? (left-over facades from older architectural works) What’s scary about this approach is its familiarity. Engineers, stop watches in hand, calculate the most efficient time between two points. Politicians crunch numbers, estimating that the bigger the job, the bigger the rewards. Developers begin counting the profits to be made when large swaths of public land are turned over to private interests. Meanwhile, those who care about cities and their history are placated with the facadist dodge and architecture is reduced to a picture postcard — an empty, superficial veneer.
Considering the love of big, phallic symbols that South Korean developers love, (and here) Koreans are lucky not to have what Putin wishes to build in St. Petersburg — which is so alien to St. Petersburg and monolithic that the UN cultural agency has called upon the Russian Government not to build.