Friday, 16 September 2016

Shallow Manifesto

Sometimes you just have to laugh. But not because the piece of architecture is funny ridiculous. Rather, because perhaps it does something relatively simply and very, very well.

In this case, Manifesto Architecture dressed up a former gaggingly bland building in the otherwise chaotic Myeongdong district of Seoul. A showy bit of retrofit, mainly for a global fashion brand, but with an intersting, if simple twist.

To quote ArchDaily:
The process of M-Plaza's "volumization" can be described in three steps, each with increasing intensity. First the glass curtain wall was etched with a ceramic frit pattern inspired by stacked cubes giving the smooth facade an initial charge of volume. Then a grid of vertical and horizontal extruded frames was installed to divide the facade into a set of puzzle pieces each 500mm deep.

Finally, a series of “funnels”, new glass openings framed by sloped stainless steel panels that take full advantage of the 500mm depth achieved by the extruded frames, are plugged into various puzzle pieces. These three architectural languages give the facade a greater level of depth and dynamism, but are applied in a consistent manner over the large facades allowing the irregularities to exist within a certain boundary of order.
At first reading, it sounds pretentious. One way of putting it is that this is hardly a profound piece of architecture. Another way of seeing it is to recognise the way the architects applied their core skills of formal, compositional, programmatic and spatial, within an extremely constrained set of limits.

Manifesto Architecture deserves to be taken seriously, with a significant body of work, both built and rhetorical, that spans the scale from wooden cutlery to monumental buildings.

I feel guilty for the cheap shot of my title for this post.


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