The Dutch Architectural Firm MVRDV, has created an extremely offensive and shall I say, idiotic and ugly, design for a Developer in South Korea. The design was created for the Yongsan Business District and according to the designers, it’s “Cloud-like” concept was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city.” Others say it has way to much resemblance to the Trade Center Towers as they were engulfed by smoke after the 9/11 attack.
I agree with the dissenters. Being Dutch, is no excuse for not having empathy for Americans and no person living on earth can honestly say that the FIRST image one would take when witnessing the design of the “Cloud” is that of 9/11. In fact, one MVRDV official, Jan Knikker, was quoted telling the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, “I have to admit that we also thought of the 9/11 attacks.”
So they admit that they knew this might be a problem … but did they care?
It is typical of elitist, snob architects to ignore Louis Sullivan and put “Form” ahead of “Function”. These types work, not in the best interest of the project, but to create some grand architectural statement to puff up their own ego. Is it possible that MVRDV cared more about their design than they did about offending the American People?
Architectural snobs are easily recognized by the way that they start a project. Not with a space plan and a list of requirements – but with an elevation of some “grand vision” of what they want the finished structure to look like. Later, they will “figure out” how to stuff in all those pesky details – like spaces, rooms, structural systems, mechanical systems etc. in a way that is the least destructive to their magnificent design. I wonder how MVRDV started this project?
Let us review the ridiculously offensive “Cloud” design that is the focus of this controversy from a practical viewpoint. What happens to the “Cloud” section when wind (or seismic activity) moves one high rise tower 2 feet in one direction and the other tower 2 feet in the opposite direction? Obviously, each structure must be able to move independently of the other. But with the “Cloud” section connecting the two towers, how is this possible?
But it is not only the Structural Elements that have to be flexible. Every single connecting element, including: water lines & fire sprinklers, sewer lines, electrical lines, floor and ceiling systems, wall finishes, flashing & waterproofing and dozens of more systems all must be flexible enough to move with the structure – in ALL directions. Furthermore, these “connections” have to be able to last through the lifecycle of the building.
It is precisely for these reasons that we don’t see too many high rise towers inter-connected. It is not that these problems are insurmountable, it can and has been done before. It is just that the cost associated with dealing with them is extraordinarily high. Too high for most developers who’s goal is always “profit”. In addition, few Architectural firms are stupid enough to accept the liability exposure associated with such a design.
Did the progressives at MVRDV consider these conditions? If they did, it is certainly not evident in the conceptual design images that I have seen. There is certainly no seismic joint visible in the renderings. Such a joint (in reality) would stick out like a sore thumb. In all likelihood, such a joint would need to be several feet wide. Which means that they either intentionally left it off (presumably because it would reveal what a crap design it really is) or they simply didn’t think that far ahead (which would be even more disturbing). Although we can’t rule out the possibility that the genius’ at NVRDV have developed some new way to handle this situation that is not evident in the renderings.
Other easily notable issues with this design:
So this project is not only offensive, it is not very practical. Futhermore, in my opinion it is also just downright ugly and doesn’t really solve any problems that couldn’t have been solved by lowering the “cloud” down to the base.
Two Thumbs Down – For Design
One Finger Up – For insulting the People of the United States