Seoul Formless_adaptations

Architecture just happens. 

It is the adaptable forms of the city which shape the everyday pedestrian experience in Seoul. Makeshift structures identify as utilitarian only and yet account for much of the cities outward aesthetic. Such small buildings represent Seoul's "commando" approach to urban development (which through the 20th century drove Seoul's quick modernization), whereby necessity and function have clouded any consideration of 'planned'.  

Seoul is evolutionary.

condencity_44 double city

Seoul's double identity is both hidden and exposed simultaneously. Underground corridors extend invisibly (from the city streets above) for blocks, connecting subway riders from sidewalk destinations to subway trains below ground. Lengthy tunnels match length for length sidewalks and streets at ground level. Curiously, few corridors as this are so sparsely populated leaving destination above in questionable limbo until the moment of arrival when emerging into city light.

condencity_43 urban memory

The highest topographical elevation on the Konkuk University campus in Seoul is punctuated with an oddly curious building, projecting an aesthetic and form caught somewhere between Corbusian modern and Eastern Block socialist architecture of the 1960's. The designing Korean architect in fact had studied briefly under Le Corbusier and was undoubtedly influenced in the outcome of what stands today. The building functions now as the campus' foreign language institute but in the recent past served as the school's main library. 

It's exterior white-washed walls have recorded seasonal time with weathered streaks and accumulated dust. The interior, while dated opposite outside, has recently undergone a fresh coat of refurbishment. Painted corridors and newly tiled floors attempt to conceal time. As I moved around the central, spiraling corridor I can't help but remember the long extended corridors of the communist panel-laks of Eastern Europe. Clouded windows, with the collected haze of season's and lives past to my right, mysteriously concealed, oblique spaces to my left; urban memory and the making of myths.