A series of conferences on Anyang's urban development took place earlier this year inside a “bubble” designed by Raumlabor Courtesy Kyong Park

LOT-EK's Open School in Anyang forces visitors to confront the architectural contrasts right in front of them

When asked to direct a large public art project in Anyang, a southern suburb of Seoul, Korea, Kyong Park decided the entire project should be a platform for talking about current urban development in Korea. No surprise there: Park has been thinking big about cities in transition for years as founding director of Centrala Foundation for Future Cities in Rotterdam, founding director of the International Center of Urban Ecology in Detroit, and founder/director of New York’s Storefront for Architecture, among other institutions. Of particular interest to Park in Anyang was Korea’s growing tendency toward tearing down existing neighborhoods and replacing them with big corporate-branded residential towers.

LOT-EK APAP school
Courtesy LOT-EK

Any academic would appreciate Park’s fittingly tongue-in-cheek decision to host a series of conferences on the controversy in an actual “bubble” designed by Raumlabor. But the artists, architects, urbanists, and academics from Korea and beyond who gathered within it to discuss the city remain rooted in real world concerns. Post-conference, Anyang allowed the park (actually leftover space from an adjacent new building development) to be used for the art exhibit and its explorations, including the bumblebee-yellow Open School, an instant landmark/community space for meetings, discussions, workshops, and exhibitions designed by those masters of the shipping container genre, LOT-EK

Built from eight containers combined in a fishbone pattern, LOT-EK’s multi-level APAP School features an enclosed exhibition space, artist studios within the containers, and a terrace that opens up to the surrounding landscape. Its strong graphic treatment offers a bold counterpoint to the highrises Park’s effort critiqued, in both form and symbolism. “We designed it in a few months and built it in a few months,” says LOT-EK’s Ada Tolla. And though it was planned as temporary structure, she happily reports, the building—an instant landmark in the region—is now here to stay.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    How Poor Americans Get Exploited by Their Landlords

    American landlords derive more profit from renters in low-income neighborhoods, researchers Matthew Desmond and Nathan Wilmers find.

  2. Design

    Cities Deserve Better Than These Thomas Heatherwick Gimmicks

    The “Vessel” at New York’s Hudson Yards—like so many of his designs—look as if the dystopian world of 1984 has been given a precious makeover.

  3. Transportation

    China's 50-Lane Traffic Jam Is Every Commuter's Worst Nightmare

    What happens when a checkpoint merges 50 lanes down to 20.

  4. Homes in Amsterdam are pictured.
    Equity

    Amsterdam's Plan: If You Buy a Newly Built House, You Can't Rent It Out

    In an effort to make housing more affordable, the Dutch capital is crafting a law that says anyone who buys a newly built home must live in it themselves.

  5. Life

    The Bias Hiding in Your Library

    The ways libraries classify books often reflect a “straight white American man” assumption.