<<…it is simply an environment which is suited to what you are going to do next…>>
Cultural history always has shown a markedly interest in imagining the primordial manifestation of architecture. This quest often revolved around the idea of protection for people and could be summarized in the physical action of "covering” a space. Since decades now several less physical ingredients have been discovered in order to introduce other architectural properties and characteristics such as heating, lighting, accumulate information or convoke people.
Along the 4-way crossing of the Jangdong junction we propose to construct a basic manifest of contemporary architecture. The trees that have welcomed us on the site are already part of the project. The ground level, once cleaned of any unnecessary and interrupting element will be transformed into a neutral background ready to be re-utilized and conquered by the daily activities. Some of its pieces emerge and remain elevated freed from the ground stimulating various uses such as sitting, lying down, meeting others or connecting through a series of benches, tables or ‘urban altars’, without any predetermined functional occupation to be discovered, claimed and re-invented by citizens, visitors and passersby. Pavement and solid ‘urban furniture’ should be constructed out of a single material -monolithic and robust reinforced cast stone or concrete-, toned in different colors and textures. The floating effect of the furniture will be dramatically expressed by illuminating them from below and supported by inset dark steel tubes, enhancing the effect of a heavy mass freed from the ground.
The only thing left is to conquer the air: a big weightless object that lights, heats, informs, makes sounds and emits programmed odors or provides free Wi-fi connection to the passerby while describing a linear course that draws the virtual boundary of space released by the surrounding trees. Three poles, made of polished stainless steel, supporting the structure, blending into its leafy surroundings and allowing the perception of the floating object at the height of the treetops. The exact collocation of the floating object and its ultimate form will be defined by the actual geometry and position of the trees and other existing elements to be maintained (traffic lights, phone booths etc.) to be confirmed on-site.
During the day, the ground takes all the action while the floating element will be recognized only by its reactions and emissions than by its physical presence. At night emerges artificial light without revealing how its source is suspended and the ground remains dimmed out.
Both devices are treated individually in geometry and spirit: paving the ground and accouter energetically are to transform the new structure into a contemporary urban refuge. The dream of a M.A. Laugier transposed into the 21st century meets a historic city in transformation. Past, present and future coincide at a key point of the country's recent democratic movement.
The project is understood as very open and flexible in its choice of materials and construction but should fulfill all (technical) requirements of a permanent construction easily maintainable even after the Design biennale has closed its doors. The treatment of the pavement and its required technical fittings may be of colored concrete, woods and resins according to the local technical, economic or patronage possibilities and conditions available. The masts made of metal and the floating object could consist of a light metal frame covered of any light-conductive material. Budgetary constraints may determine different phases of construction to be described in the constructive description. The same can be said for the technological gadgets proposed for the project both during the Gwangju design biennial and after.
The celebration of the Gwangju design biennial will play an important role in transforming this place into a point of information, rest or other unforeseen occupations of Gwangju’s citizens, visitors or occasional passersby. The Folly will be situated opposite of one of the main entrances to the future Asian Cultural Complex, mutually benefiting from each other, a large crowd of visitors will eventually cross the site and discover the unexpected variety of uses on this populated crossing.
The project’s applications and potentials could be object of unpredictable ambitions. The participation of artists and / or other designers in the definition and programming of the devices is welcomed by the architect.