condenCITY_103 standing in wait

empty without alteration
out of place it seems without

Like a life sealed up and hidden
-and maybe there is truth in that-
in contrast to the exhibitions
next door
down the street
as it is everywhere

to open is to become stuck
in a daily exposure of routine.

Seoul is rarely so pure in

condenCITY_102 architecture touching-down

Masonry construction never really seems to be in fashion. As I comb through the latest archives of recognized architectural splendor, most of which glistens with sleek metal-fabricated perforations and glazed uniformity; masonry, on the other hand waits for its moments of recognition. To be reinvented in what seems aesthetically pleasing at any given time. It is constantly being rethought in how it touches-down and binds with earth; how architecture becomes heavy in weight and mass. Its moment to shine so-to-speak will happen again as it cyclically seems to surface from time to time, we know by history. There are notable practitioners- works today- perhaps better left working away under the currents of popular architecture culture. 

I have written of the late Korean modern architect Kim Swoo Guen before. I recently paid visit by chance to a lessor known work of his on the campus of Duksung Women's University in northern Seoul. I had not heard or read of this particular building before- home to the art and architecture department of this small private university. It was designed and constructed in the early 1980's. Sized to accommodate modest combined departments in the creative studio arts and environmental design practices. It's layout defines a common central court. Elevated above the surrounding campus grounds by dimensions of brick masonry, the court rises in unit steps. 

Masonry architecture can be hostage to dimensions fixed by the very nature of the unitized material itself. Freedom to explore and transform happen in how the material is segmented and given pause. How masonry parts ways with the ground, in being lifted as if to reveal an underside passage. How it contrasts with voided spaces or other 'soft' material surfaces. Swoo Guen manages all of this within the college; a balancing act on raised heavy ground, seamless with the very walls that define it. 

Kim Swoo Guen's architecture, as in much of his work, was defined by its very material compositions and notably his creations in brick. 

Architecture can touch.