Seoul, Republic of Korea – A unique building has taken up a spot on the hidden gem of Ulleung Island of Korea. The ‘Healing Stay Cosmos Resort’ (Cosmos Resort) is that building with soft curves. A design piece created by a Korean architect, Chanjoong Kim (The_System Lab), it has also been recognized by an English design magazine as the best hotel at the Wall Paper Design Awards of 2019. Headed by architect Chanjoong Kim, The_System Lab is a Korean design studio known for employing unique design techniques. The_System Lab’s most recent project, Hana Bank in Samsung Dong, has also enjoyed being chosen for the iF DESIGN AWARD of 2019.
Chanjoong Kim, the head of The_System Lab, is well known for applying unique techniques into building designs. He has combined experience from Seoul, Cambridge and Boston, and had also been invited to the 10th Venice Biennale in 2006. In the same year at Beijing Biennale, he had been chosen as one of the 6 most watched young Asian architects.
Many people refer Chanjoong Kim as an exploratory architect. He is famous for using unusual, experimental materials, in addition to the unique architectural visuals. Some of his design projects are perceived as being more of artistic master pieces, rather than just buildings. His products are represented by flowing, curvy line designs, which display his unbounded imagination. His preference, influenced from drawing abstract paintings from his early age, is certainly expressed out in the open.
As expected, flowing curvy lines are clearly visible in his recent projects like The Healing Stay Cosmos Resort and Hana Bank in Samsung Dong. The reason for drawing attention to his works goes well beyond the shape of such buildings. The Cosmos Resort in Ulleung Island was constructed with Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC), created with reinforcing steel fiber, allowed the construction to be done free of any steel bars. UHPC is a new material that functions as structural support on its own, and the technique of pouring the concrete into prefabricated molds was used. As a result, even the required construction time was shortened as well. It is also the subject of high interest as to the potential of what slim curvy lines of concrete can bring out.
Hana Bank in Samsung Dong was also constructed by using UHPC. Although it was a remodeling project, the building’s unique appearance has won many awards. The exterior of this building was built in absence of steel bars by using UHPC panels and the rounded protrusions make it very attractive. The exterior’s curvy lines flow into the interior space as the patterns of the stairs, floors and even the edges maintain the rounded looks.
There are certainly accompanying risks in using exploratory forms and new materials. It isn’t easy to convince the property owners and construction firms either. However, the accomplishment and joy that can be felt by creating architectures in such a way would be priceless. Chanjoong Kim considers construction materials as in terms of industrial design. His work, combined with dedication, exploratory techniques and efforts in continuing to produce designs that lend to rich user experience, is highly anticipated.