This peculiar project is akin to the re-telling of a story, or the re-making of an old B movie. It is as much about architectural language as it is about the creativeness that follows the life-story of the “situational condition” of the site and building.
Located in the northeast part of Seoul (an area saturated with universities), the renovation takes an 1980’s reception hall and creates a hybrid building with dedicated academic office in the main volume, public lectures rooms in the basement and an open-air café on the roof terrace.
Neither a preservation project, nor a classicism creation, the renovation of the main volume “distills” the formal architectural language. The existing building’s classical order was “purified” and the proper “order” of columns re-established, achieving in the volumetric vertically of the major structural bays, which houses academic office and research labs. A former secondary eave line was re-inforced to become the major entablature of the new façade, achieving a balance that was missing.
The awkward roof top volume of the existing building was wrapped in gradient-fritted glass, achieving a cloud like effect. This expresses the disparity in function from the main building; and also makes possible larger degree of view transparency from the roof-top café terraces.
We find this project to be difficult to categorize: Is it a complete renovation? Is it a classical creation? Is it a classic-revival effort? It is none of the above, and is the most interesting reality of the situation.