Lab Life: Headquarter of Beauty
Speculative Urbanism for New Industrial Life in Seoul, Korea
To be published for Pressing Matters 4, top grade
PennDesign Advanced Research Studio V
Advisor: Simon Kim
Plastic surgery, the practice of reshaping body tissues for reconstructive or aesthetic purposesdates back to antiquity. Derived from the Greek plastikos, meaning “to mold,” plastic surgery holdsa critical place in culture. For centuries, tribes would disc their lips, stretch their earlobes, bind theirfeet, file their teeth, and tattoo and scar their skin. It thus constitutes a cultural artifact, and dealswith its durability, utility and beauty. This is not any different in architecture where decisions aremade to constitute an artifact that responds to the human environments - socio-cultural, politicaland technological domains. Architects make decisions also on its aesthetic concern which makeswhat architecture interesting and distinguishable from building.
Alteration of the body, its surgical procedure thus runs parallel with the discussion on architecturalprocedure in its essence; durability, utility and beauty (aesthetics). Here I propose architecturethat struggles to become beautiful yet becomes uglier and not accepted by the society. It is acritique on current idea of beauty driven by Korean beauty industry owned by the largest corporatesystems in the nation.
Architecture that ages, decomposes, decays and eventually face death like humans do. Architecture that survives and grows from the debris from human and human dwell along withthis new species. Is this a frightening nightmare or a new urban vision? It is located in Seoul,the kingdom of plastic surgery, where the equipment production industry dominates within theselected site, YeungDeungPo.