‘ Y ’ category archive



The saturation of paradox is perhaps the wonder of contemporary society. The world has never been so strikingly contradicting. We are more globally connected, shared, and opened than ever. More spaces are locked, controlled, and surveilled than ever. We are able to communicate with the entire world within a closed room. Cities have never been so crowded. Surfacing images now redefine urban spaces as we know it. We walk in streets of unreality. More and more, we run into faceless strangers we will never see again. We have never felt so isolated. Our true emotions are less relevant. We regain a sense of the real in our dreams. Nothing is absolute. Everything is blurry. It is now difficult to grasp what’s real from what’s visible. Women are men. Men are women. The unreal has never been so real. The real has never been so unreal.

Cocoon is a house in which everything we know of a house ceases to exist. A house divides a space into smaller finite spaces of different events. Cocoon is in itself a space of infinite events. A house is situated somewhere and provides us with the sense of stability that tells us where we belong. Cocoon is nowhere and everywhere. It exudes the sense of identity. It is our body. A house is physical in that it has clear material distinctions among windows, walls, ceilings, and doors. Cocoon is both material and ethereal like light in that it has ambiguous boundaries. A house is fenced and gated in human efforts to ensure security and to protect privacy. Cocoon is a form of human desire to relate and to connect.

with Dong-wook Hwang


Chengdu Towers


Beijing Catenary Tower


Gwangju Urban Folly

Recent competition entry with Jiwon Hur


PechaKucha Night Seoul

Some images from the PechaKucha event last month.




The two silos at the expo site are standing at an outstanding location- situated between the ocean and the mountain- and also surrounded by two large public plazas. It is critical to redesign the current silos with foundational understanding for the importance of its current location. Since the silos stand at a focal point in viewing the ocean (from Silo A) and the mountains (from Silo B), this connection to its surrounding nature must be kept intact even when advances are made to its current design. Our design exploits the territory between the natural and the digital. The two silos will become an interesting destination where the world between nature and technology becomes strangely ambiguous without subtracting the original element in each.

In our design, the two silos are wrapped by bundles of semi-translucent plastic tubes/pipes, thereby creating a new space, a third void, in between the silos. This design is representative of the concept behind our project- the merging of the two different spheres in today’s world (the digital and the natural). Our design is unique in that when the two spheres blend, one does not necessarily take away from the other or dominate the other. Just as the two silos are standing intact, it is possible for the two cylinders to exist separately while in harmony. The void created by wrapping the two silos is a middle ground, a unique third space situated between the two silos. The plastic pipes are dichotomous, acting as a railing towards the edge but when it reaches towards the middle (the third space), they also act as a fibrous screen where images and movies can be projected. The pipes are manmade and artificial but by acting as a railing, provides an unobstructed view looking out towards the ocean and the mountain. Because the fibrous screen is porous, when the digital art is projected on to the screen, the landscape behind the screen is also vaguely visible through the gaps between the pipes- an ambiguous spatial experience of digital and nature. The screen is visible from both front and back (or from outside and inside) of the building.

The oceanic landscape pierces through the fibrous pipes that connect the silos, enhancing the visibility of nature through the screen during daytime. The digital world becomes alive at night, in the dark. The projected art on the screen is accentuated as the day turns into night and as the scenery fades away. Interestingly, the inside of the silos are always dark. However, this does not mean that the digital world has won over in the dark stillness. As scenery still seeps between the digital screen, nature exists in the seemingly lifeless interior of the silos- it is an ocean without water, a dark void filled with robotic fishes, another merging of the nature and the digital. These robots are equipped with helium balloons and built-in mechanisms to maneuver around the silo as well as to communicate with other robots through wireless telecommunication technology. The robots will illuminate an eerie but comforting light (resembling a glowing jellyfish) to the people who enter the dark void to climb up the stairs on the way to the observation deck. The robots will follow after the fish-swarming rule, a behavior of aquatic animals moving together in a similar pattern. There are three main rules for the swarming behavior found in nature- 1) the fish will move closer to its school when it gets separated, 2) the fish will move away if it’s too close to another, and 3) the fish will be attracted to its attractors. The robotic aquatic animals will imitate these behaviors and will be systemized to be attracted to the visitors made possible by sensors embedded in the stairs, which will signal the robots allowing them to cast guiding light around the visitors’ footsteps.

Visitors have an option to choose between three different speeds for reaching the observation deck situated at the top of the silos. Walking around the ramps wrapping the silos is the slowest way to reach the top. The ramps are also handicap-accessible and act as a facade for the silos; as people slowly spiral up, one can experience the surrounding nature and the third space sandwiched by the fibrous screens (front and back), a space where nature and digital coexist. To speed up the ascending process, one can also choose to cut through and enter Silo A to access the stairs (steeper than the ramps) and experience the robotic ocean. The fastest way to reach the observation deck is to take the glass elevator installed in Silo B. The swarming fishes are also positioned in Silo B but they move faster in tune to the speed of the elevator.

The newly designed structure will stand in full view from the plazas below, capable of housing various installation arts and exhibitions in addition to the projected screen for public display. The structure can also hold office/maintenance space on the first floor of Silo A, inside the structural walls. The first floor of Silo B will be the main exhibition space with easy access to the glass elevator. Once at top, visitors will be able to relax at a Sky Café or enjoy the view by looking through movable binoculars stationed on top. The binoculars will be attached to tracks, which allow for the visitors to slide them and view the desired angle of view. Outside of the building, the ground floor surrounding the silos will be filled with landscape (trees, plants, grass, etc). In order to provide seating area and a viewing spot for the fibrous screen outside of the building, an amphitheater will be built as well, providing ample opportunity for various performances to take place.
Renovated to embrace the two domains critical to today’s world- the nature and the digital- this highest structure at the expo site, providing the best location for observation decks as well as taking stance at a place central to the site, will become a signage and a distinctive emblem for Yeosu.


Fibrous Art Bridge

The Fibrous Art Bridge was chosen as Special Selection for the Emerging New York Architects  International Ideas Competition (http://www.enyacompetitions.org).

The Fibrous Art Bridge envisions to turn the High Bridge into an art complex that can house exhibitions displaying the entire process of art production-from its inception to its final form. Anyone can appreciate the glistening display of a finished art piece but it is a rare encounter to come face to face with the struggling moments of an artists’ hands when the sculpture was just barely beginning to take form. It will be a highly inspiring moment for the audience who have been invited to appreciate the full stages of the artists’ touch through the crossing of this bridge. On this bridge, the process of making art, therefore, becomes an act of art in itself. This art is then displayed to the public. The way in which we experience art will transform completely, for the audience will soon throw away the old habits (of glancing at a single art piece and proceeding to skim a paragraph of description written next to it) but rather learn new ways to engage in art, by sharing the profound understanding experienced by the artists in their moments of creation. The local neighbors who cross the bridge on a regular basis can witness this very art of creating, and perhaps the excitement of participating in such an event will spark dialogues between both the fellow bystanders and the very artists- which is a greatly beneficial activity for the community as well as for the artist society. Through these regular interactions and conversations and full participation in the creative activities, the bridge will seek to draw people together in hopes of physically and culturally reconnnecting Manhattan and Bronx.

This rather untraditional way of experiencing art is spatially achieved through the art pods. The artists work inside pods that are floating and visible through the permeable fibrous structures, which allow the viewers to get a view of the aritsts’ ongoing works from both below and above. Once an artist is finished with the work, the pod is opened to the public  so that they can enter it and interact more closely with the final production. After the public viewing is over, the pod can be removed from the structure and placed elsewhere in the city. Other artists can start their work in the available empty pods. The pods can be made in various sizes and shapes, meeting the specifications to best fit the project it is housing.  Attached to each pod  is a viewing port, embedded into the floors and sticking out towards the bridge gallery and hovering over the walking surface. These ports are more visible from the main pathway and the artists can therefore select parts of the process that they desire to be more exposed to the public.

This design, proposing an exhibtion of the evolving processes of art production, is highly symbolic of the evolution of the bridge in itself. The High Bridge was first built as an aqueduct using mansory arches in 1848. Such structural system to carry water best fit the time, since the tunneling technologies were not as advanced. The bridge continued to evolve structually; in the 1920s, several of the arches were replaced to allow for larger ships to pass. The newly added steel structures were also best fitting for that time-this addition of modern technology allowed bridges to be thinner, stronger and more porous. And now, as the bridge is being considered to be reopened as an art complex, what better transformation can the bridge take then to continue this trend of reforming structure by introducing to the public the next new technology? Rather then obstructing the advancing nature of the bridge by labeling it as an old artifact of the past, the bridge needs to preserve its legacy by continuing its adaption to the newer needs of current times. Under this design, the bridge becomes a museum in itself- a museum of structures, living on its destined fate to showcase how structural logics have continually evolved and benefited history.


Fibrous Art Bridge

These are some images from a recently finished competition.



These are already more than a year old. This is what I miss the most. Doing what we love. Time surely flies.















Pixel Forest

This is a recently finished competition in Yongsan, Korea. The project was shortlisted: http://www.yongsanpark.org




Avicular Colonies


This is what we submitted for the Evolo Skyscraper competition. Our design imagines of a world where birds evolve to nest skyscrapers. We didn’t end up winning any prizes, but it was a fun process nonethless. You can view the winners at: evolo-arch.com








Our final boards can be viewed here:

0223 02232


Concept Statement:

This is a proposal for a skyscraper that perhaps will emerge in the near future, which will surface without the contribution of human effort.  Although it will be the unintended side effect of technological progress, and therefore can ultimately be considered the result of human activity. It is a skyscraper nested by birds, out of man-made materials including cars, missiles, buses and tanks and other detritus of the human population. Our materialist and capitalist society tells us that if it is economical and convenient enough, then it is permissible to destroy nature and wipe out natural habitats. Will nature’s environmental refugees continue to face extinction, or, as this structure proposes, will they innovate in their adaptation to survive in this world that is changing faster than ever?

Birds are known to be incredibly capable of adapting to adverse environments. They have continued to evolve in human habitats (or habitats that men have taken over) and have become stronger. Bower birds recognize plastic and metal scraps and decorate their nests with bottle caps, straws and other trash thrown away by people.  Many species have adapted their wings to maneuver through tall skyscrapers and they have become comfortable dwelling within the human-made architectural spaces. They are becoming like us. Male Lyre birds imitate the sounds of their environment in order to attract a mate, even if those sounds include man-made noises such as sounds of camera shutters, car alarms, or the high-powered chain saws of foresters intent on destroying their habitat of trees.

What next? If they learn to flock in bigger colonies and learn to use heavier materials for building their nests, being the excellent architects they already are, what could limit them? To imagine birds building skyscrapers out of humanity’s disposable culture seems laughable. But history is full of ideas and inventions that sounded ridiculous at the moment. Who would have imagined thousands of years ago, when people used to live in huts built of mud and straw, that one day, there would be towering skyscrapers filling the sky? Just as mankind started constructing taller buildings to accommodate the growing population and crowded living conditions, birds, the master builders, will soon need to implement a new typology of nesting as their survival mechanism. As they are losing surface area, birds will need to start extending vertically for higher density. In fact, it is their very anatomic design which defies gravity, that allows them to reside in vertical structures better than human beings, who were designed to circulate merely on two dimensions.

The evolved skyscraping nests will emerge in a few selective areas where birds still recognize as their habitats. An ideal place for the avicular colonies to build their first structures would be the demilitarized zones, where wildlife is unintentionally reserved. There is a long stretch of this DMZ in Korea, the Korean Demilitarized Zone, separating the Korean peninsula in half. Humans have not entered this land for half a century. Unlike the other places in the world, more and more non-human species thrive in the DMZ. It is ironic to see how animals have found their own little Eden in between the war zones. The avicular colony will build an ineffably grand skyscraper and it will be created with piles upon piles of men’s failed dreams and broken hopes in preserving this earth.



This is still under a lot of progress. Just exploring ways to randomly populate a surface with mesh objects in this case with bikes and tanks.



Some images of an on-going facade design. Same-sized fins. Varied rotations.
Under progress, progress, and more progress.


Magok Process

This is the recent competition that we finished recenlty. Unfortunately, most of the bigger Korean companies ended up winning the competition. These are the pages that we submitted.

Click to View all Pages

MAGOK PROCESS (Albu, Kim, Rui, Yam, Yin)


Trancoso Bus Terminal

Sorry for the late update and also for not replying to some e-mails/comments. I’ll get to them soon. Also I’m not sure why, but my blog was blocked by the Chinese government for a while. I couldn’t access it from China. Now I’m back in Korea, so it’s all good.. but anyways-

We’ve been working on a few different projects lately. This one is a bus terminal in Trancoso, Portugal. Y’s first design. The physical model came out quite nicely. It was a huge chunk of plexi glass that was milled out of a CNC machine based on a nurbs-model built in Rhino and Maya.

We also finished a competition recently for which we are now waiting to hear some results. I will post some images of the competition in the near future.

Trancoso Bus Terminal
Trancoso Bus Terminal
physical model

Trancoso Bus Terminal
night render


 Some earlier images from the form finding process

Trancoso Bus Terminal

Trancoso Bus Terminal

Milling process

Trancoso Bus Terminal
maya sub-d model of the base brought into rhino for final check-up. the entire base was made of transparent acrylic. red/green indicates which parts to be frosted.

Trancoso Bus Terminal
iges model brought into a program before the information was sent to the machine

Trancoso Bus Terminal
the machine working hard

Trancoso Bus Terminal
crazy milling factory

Trancoso Bus Terminal
before the paint job

Trancoso Bus Terminal
the final look

and lastly, here’s a render of the space underneath the roofTrancoso Bus Terminal