Land Architecture: Architecture of 'Interdependent Nature'
“In our world, we need a clear awareness of the interdependent nature of nations, Of humans and animals, and of humans, animals, and the world. Everything is of interdependent nature. I feel that many problems, especially man-made problems, are due to a lack of knowledge about this interdependent nature.”
The Path to Tranquility, Dalai Lama, 1998
Land architecture is architecture that adapts and conforms to the conditions of the given land. It is an interdependent architecture that does not assert its existence and dominate its surroundings, but humbles itself to permeate the land and revitalize its energy. It is the land architecture that allows our human bodies and minds to dwell in their tranquility and to come to a realization of one another.
TopographyFirst and foremost, when it comes to interpreting the shape and topography of the land, “the bodily relationship” between the land and the human body is more important than anything else. The positioning of the body on the land, its relationship to the shape, as well as its relationship to the surface or cross-section of the land, is the most intensely human experience. Furthermore, it is the most important factor in making the body and soul inhabit the land along with nature. It is also important to consider and respect what has already been built in the place. When a building is constructed, the structure itself already has a temporality. In some cases, a building may have historical significance to the local residents. As such, existing buildings and traces of the land’s history are often as meaningful as the land itself.
Natural Environment and Ecology of the LandEcological and environmental issues will also require a comprehensive understanding and efficient utilization of the shape and condition of the land, the impacts already inflicted on it, and the buildings built on it. Understanding the wind, water, and ecological paths that run through the land is an important ecological consideration. The study of the layout and cross-section of the building is far more important than the visual design of the building itself in order to build such architecture.
As explained, land architecture is not an architecture that boasts its presence. It is rather an architecture of experience through thoughtful relationships, permeating the land or being softly on the land. In other words, it is an architecture of enlightenment. In his essay “Towards Critical Regionalism,” Kenneth Frampton presented critical regionalism as an alternative to modern architecture, emphasizing the consideration of topography and pushing for the tactile and tectonic over the perspective and visual expression. This is distinct from the last few hundred years of Western architecture, which to some extent emphasized the exterior design of buildings. However, a look at the evolution of Korean architecture over the past few centuries reveals evidence that exterior design was influenced by its placement on and relationships with the land. The following factors may have contributed to the fact that Korean architecture is more concerned with establishing a relationship with the land than other countries.
Socio-cultural RelationshipFinally, to a certain degree, sociocultural understanding, interpretation, and care are distinct from the topographical consideration of the land and ecological flows as mentioned earlier. If the latter is physical, the former is humanistic, invisible, and phenomenological. When creating buildings and cities, it is important to consider not only the users but also the neighborhoods and societies that will live alongside them. No matter how well a building or city fits into the landscape and is ecologically sound, it will create a sense of alienation and otherness and an emotionally unhealthy home and society if it lacks thoughtful social and cultural consideration for its users and neighbors. Implementing sociocultural considerations requires sufficient research into the society, region, or culture in which they are used. To this end, it will be necessary not only to understand the historicity and identity of the place but also to analyze and predict the present and future to some extent.
I would like to define “land architecture” as architecture that “realizes the interdependent relationship” to each other through the aforementioned geometric, ecological, and cultural considerations of the land. And I would like to define “land urbanism” as a city made up of such architecture or urban creations.
Curator: Byoung Soo Cho
Venue: Songhyeon Green Plaza, Seoul Hall of Urbanism & Architecture
Byoung Soo Cho
The Sky Pavilion visualizes its connection to the environment: from the top, visitors can understand how Hanyang(today, Seoul) was laid out based on the relationship with the surrounding nature. Seoul was built as an eco-friendly city, with plenty of consideration given to mountains, rivers, wind, and sunlight.
Sky Pavilion Livecam
Architect: Byoung Soo Cho
Coordination: Jiyeon Yoo, Sungmin Park, Hyunbae Chang, Haeran Song, Michele Maria Riva
Earth Collecting Coordination: Hyejin Yoon, Chanyong Lee, Jinwon Park, Johanna Kleesattel
Byoung Soo Cho
Architect: Byoung Soo Cho
Coordination: Jiyeon Yoo, Sungmin Park, Hyunbae Chang, Haeran Song
Landscape: Young-sung Jeon
Occupied Land_Songhyeondong 48-1
Land Architecture Atlas
Nameless Architecture, Dorte Mandrup A/S, Longhi Architects, Rizvi Hassan, Mass Studies, Snøhetta, Archium, Ensamble Studio, Openfabric, WOROFILA, ONE O ONE Architects, Hélène Binet
Interviewee: Nameless Architecture, Dorte Mandrup A/S, Longhi Architects, Rizvi Hassan, Mass Studies, Snøhetta, Archium, Ensamble Studio, Openfabric, WOROFILA, ONE O ONE Architects, Hélène Binet
Research: Elina Zampetakis, Vincent Ahn
Interview Editor: Vincent Ahn
Interview Assistant Editor: Sumin Lee
Translation: Seoul Reading Room