condenCITY_53 seoul adaptations 1.1

His divided life, halved by structures before him that cast dark midday shadows. The other side of the road a world apart. He catch glimpses of through sluggish, unending traffic and towering concrete columns to another world. This industrial city, where workers ceaselessly tire from sun up till evening, the air tinged thick with the smells of determined labor. On a bright summers day it stifles the senses. This is the workers city, built on hand and foot with stern faces. 

My life on the same metro-line, a minutes journey away and yet a social-political world apart. My train glides past above looking down at the city floor below. Speculations and ruminating on an adaptable city. 

Cal Berkeley Architecture: The First 100 Years

There was a time from 1999 to 2003 when Wurster Hall was mostly closed for seismic renovations. I say mostly because a few rooms on the lower non-studio corridors remained open for classes. I was at Berkeley during this strange transitional time. Reflecting back, it seemed disappointing then to have not been a part of Wurster's long history but our class and the others around ours had a history of its own perhaps part of the uniqueness of a Berkeley education (and the departments relatively long history in American Architecture education). 

A recent article and good read at the Architects Newspaper highlights the last 100 years of the College of Architecture at UC Berkeley. With fondness those of us remembering the voices and spaces that shaped our formative years- and still forming to this day.

condenCITY_52 tattered edges

Gwangju in the far south on the Korean peninsula is a city seeking identity. In recent years its outwardly expansive growth has sought to create a new urban center for business, residence as well as renewed image for the city in general. This growth to the western urban edge has now joined efforts with the Korean governments recent campaign to redevelop the four major rivers throughout the country. Political argument has it that redeveloping the river corridors will attract tourism and protect urban areas from flooding. Read more on the history of the projects here at the Joongang Daily. 

Whats most shocking is the processional erasure of natural habitat presently being bulldozed in the name of 'restoration'. Design and development needs to have its limits (if this can even be classified as design). The river corridors are home and habitat to migratory Egrets and various other species now threatened by habitat destruction. The natural 'design' of such places should remain just that. No amount of beautification can claim progress over what nature can accomplish rightly on its own; and the projects are just that unsightly beautification.