Kring Kumho Culture Complex
The dance of two drops of water never misses a beat. One after the other, the movement seems to be held in place by the way it repeatedly hits the same target. It digs into the pores of a steel box, like stone, hollowing and then inserting the sea, a sea of new ideas. An imposing presence, for the perplexed faces of a charmless metropolis
Seoul has the talent of a middle zone, and perhaps we will see what it will become. Because the ratrace, plunging and soaring, forces another sort of sustainability, that of the architectural object that generates profit in its own right. Darwin is still here in our midst, facing a glass cylinder, a meeting room suspended over the big entrance lobby. From a distance, he watches the architects Yoon Gyoo Jang and ChangHoon Shin as they discuss things with the management of Kumho E&C, a leader in the real estate sector
Seven times the thickness unveils its layers, revealing its time and that of the next generation. Kring will leave a mark even when we have forgotten its forms, because its program has invented a new way of doing architecture. The first five years of the new millennium were for the new patrons, who thanks to the fever of consumption filled cubes and towers with neon and high fashion. Architecture, the most intelligent promotional message, marketing tool, three-dimensional in look, two-dimensional in perception, mono-dimensional in content, was filled with new demagogic symbols. But not Kring. It keeps the course, but finds another port of call, that of evolution
So a real estate company commissions a multi-target work, and fills it with functional itineraries, apparently distinct from the original aim. The functional program penetrates the facade volume with white reliefs that frame glassy irises, seven like the epicenters of the streetfront. Circular, vertical and horizontal, radiated and reflected, the absolute principle of this project clad in steel passages pointed toward the city. Beyond the threshold, sculpture floats in shiny white, the offices are set back, beyond the cinema toward the internal facade, while the gaze loses its bearings on the three open ramps that climb, excessive, to the first slab and the café zone, the expanded foyer of the multi-purpose conference room. It pulsates, reduces, dilates; the parallelepiped is a frozen lake.
It pulsates, reduces, dilates; the parallelepiped is a frozen lake. Outside, its openings retreat amidst luminous rings that form a vertical amphitheater for the contours of the city. The circular incisions are the reverberations of a drop, another, another still. Inside, from the glazed vertebrate cylinder, one ‘dives’ into the void, in the glare of many suns, satellites of the visitor who, curious, grasps at the ‘porous, suspended tunnel’ of the third level.
The secret of Kring is finally, discreetly, revealed. Wrapped by wooden suspended ceilings and walls, in 6 glass rooms, in 12 round, swiveling chairs, those who wandered through flying sculptures, took part in a conference, listened to music, perhaps with a cup of coffee, can finally, if they so wish, buy a house. They can also think it over, going up to the last level, a lunar landscape, on a long, undulated deck, under drops of steel from a clear blue sky. Seats scattered like perforated ice cubes, a bitten apple in the background, and beyond another oversized eye gazes at the occidental silhouettes of the city, the worksite of changes, and a drop of glass, like a tear, joins to steel skins.
Photos: Courtesy of Unsangdong Architects Cooperation