“Shinseon Play” is the winning project for the first ever YAP (Young Architects Program) in Seoul (and Asia) by MMCA/MoMA/Hyundai Card. YAP which was initiated by MoMA at P.S.1 and has extended to MAXXI (Rome), CONSTRUCTO (Santiago), ISTANBUL MODERN (Istanbul).
‘Shinseon Play’ is architecture based on a charming Korean traditional fantasy. Shinseons(신선) are fanciful Taoist hermits widely shared in East Asian mythology originating from 2500 years ago. They live on top of high mountains or above clouds, transcending the hustle-bustle of the human world of joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure. A rough equivalent to the ancient Greek gods, they occasionally descend to the human world to intervene or work miracles. In Korea, there is a phrase ‘Shinseon Noreum(신선놀음)’ which means playing like a Shinseon-living above clouds without agony, becoming an existence beyond time.
Our project is based on this myth that is still implicit among Koreans’ collective unconsciousness nowadays. It focuses on staging this heavenly feeling, less by an ‘object image’ which dominated the pavilion typology so far, but image as a scene or stage more akin to scenography or mise-en-scene.
Combined with the shade below, we intended a flexible image that can have numerous interpretations; i.e. Su-mook-hwa (수묵화, Traditional Korean black/white ink drawing), cotton flower, mushroom, industrial tank, or trunk, etc…
The experience above and below the cloud would be drastically different, where above one can walk on the clouds, enjoying the summer sun besprent with mists, and below one can be soaked in shadows and lean / sit on the grass and take a nap or read books. We wanted to celebrate in full force not only the shadow but also the light that a pavilion can give to human being.
Each object is an air balloon structure, and carefully controlled so that they would gently sway by the pre-programed air pressure difference or human interaction; the clouds be imbued with life.
A trampoline will be placed under the cloud, and one can jump up punctuating the cloud and mist above; instantly coming up and down heaven and earth.
A wooden bridge to ascend up the cloud will lead to the grass meadow in front of the traditional Korean ‘Hanok’ which will be transformed into a heavenly palace (玉皇上帝 宮) above clouds.
While walking above the cloud with mists coming out from the side, one will experience a magically transformed imagery as well as a wonderful cool down space for this summer. When one looks back from this meadow, you will face the grandeur of Kyungbok palace, Inwang Mountain and the old Japanese colonial Ki-mu-sa building above this Shinseon cloud.
Project team MOON JI BANG (www.moonjibang.org) is a collaborative team of three architectural firms: Choi. Jang Won (FARMING ARCHITECTURE) + Kwon. Kyung Min (PLAIN WORKS) + Park. Cheon-Kang (PARK CHEON KANG ARCHITECTS).