2017 Skyscraper Competition
Tamin Song, Jin Woo Kuk, Sun Hee Yoo, Bruce Han, Gangmin Yoo, Jun Sun Baek
Senseless, disconnected blocks crowd the urban scape. The absence of dialogue, of emotional connection, brings up the question: where does art end and architecture begin?
Although art and architecture are distinctly different, they share one obvious characteristic: the ability to activate emotional response. In its thousand years of history, architecture spoke of myths and tales through sculptural expression, and tapped into its ability. However, coming into the 20th century’s age of mechanization, the doctrine ‘form follows function’ manifest itself so deeply that now, architecture of raw, honest narrative is hard to be found. The issue at hand in the modern city is not simply the “modern box” aesthetic. The problem is that these structures lack an authentic connection to the ever-changing dialogue in which they exist. To our stories.
The human castell, inspired by the castells of ancient Catalonia, continue the story that was abruptly cut off. By bringing back formal expression in full force supported by new technologies, the tower begins to fill in the blank page.
Using the pure human form the tower builds upon itself, figure upon figure, each layer telling a story. Rid of exterior walls and obstructive barriers the tower opens its insides towards the city. The human castell flips the typical building inside out, bringing out the stories that are hidden within the dark enclosure of buildings. This is enabled by our developing technologies, the forms become the stories but also the structure itself, voiding the need for additional superstructure so no small gesture is lost in translation.
It presents a concrete and very solid depiction of our society as it is: the fear, the pain, the joy, and the excitement. Each layer enriching the other to finally become the most raw, unobstructed representation of who we are and what our stories create. At last breathing a much needed sense of identity and emotion into the grey city.
From the office windows and cramped apartment blocks high in the city sky we see the human castell, an enchanting yet solid reminder of who we are and the value that lies within this knowledge. When times pass and our stories change, more towers such as the castell rise up, telling the new stories and acknowledging the ones that have brought them where they are now.
More than a monument or a busy cluster of stories, the human castell is a cue for the present and a reminder for the future. Recording who we are and picking up the story that was left off far too long ago, that is perhaps the most crucial plot we have missed till now.