Located in Buk-Chon, a quiet and traditional district of Seoul, Songwon Art Centre, designed by the South Korean studio Mass Studies, is a building entirely made of solid strips of steel. It spreads over two levels and it occupies also the basement area (three levels below the ground). “This composition allows the building to be seen as performing a ‘silent acrobatic act,’ slightly floating above ground while still staying close to it.” The building was adapted to the inclining site. Its irregular shape was determined by the shape of the plot, which also determined the building plan. Adopting a contemporary look, the art centre stands out, unveiling a different and a more updated side of South Korean.
The exhibition levels are located underground, allowing the curators to adjust the atmosphere and adapting the artificial lights to each exhibition’s particularity. The upper floors have social functions: there’s a parking area, a restaurant and a gathering place. The art centre is envisioned as a place that doesn’t “suffocate” the visitor but relaxes him. The impeccable interior (polished concrete floors and white walls) showcases a strange mix of shapes and lines. Perceived as a big monolithic structure, Songwon Art Centre “gives an illusion of being casted in a single piece, rather than being an assembly of several smaller pieces.”
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Inside the school, a wall made of cross-laminated timber separates classrooms from the main corridor, providing a space for storage and study. With very little to work with, the architects have managed to create a building that is much more than just the sum of all of its parts
Value for money is not, and never was, the same as being cheap. Value for money means making the most of whatever budget is available. A good example of this is Hayes Primary School in London, by Hayhurst and Co. Having to contend with a tightly controlled 3 million local authority budget, they worked with the existing structure of the primary school to give it a much needed update. A striking polished stainless steel brise-soleil facade installed at the school’s entrance, gives the school’s many different buildings a sense of identity, while new classrooms have been created in a range of shapes and sizes, and are often flooded with natural light