The Dancing Water Pavilion is a design by SUS&HI office for the city of Seoul, in South Korea. As if it were floating over the mighty Han river – the river that brings life to Seoul – we find what the authors call a “fossilization of nature”. The never-ending rippling of the water and its dance with the wind is what gives birth to the building’s forms and geometry. It’s meant to translate the water’s dynamic energy into solid form, a form that very closely interacts with the river itself.

Courtesy of SUS&HI

Courtesy of SUS&HI

This design represents a space that floats on the water and is open to the public. It holds a swimming pool, a restaurant, service facilities, a rooftop terrace and a cafeteria – all floating over the Han river. The building is placed on a floating concrete structure, which in turn supports all the programs and the roof structure. The access is made either by boat or by a pier-like access.

Courtesy of SUS&HI

Courtesy of SUS&HI

The most interesting feature of this design has to do with the fact that it floats on water. Were it anywhere else, and I would be tempted to judge the structure’s attempt at sculptural virtuosity as a repetition of a repetition of something that, in itself, is not even that interesting to begin with. And, in a way, i still do. Yet, this structure actually does what the architect’s say it does – it is born from the water. Often, what the architect’s say about their projects is somewhat removed from reality; be it due to their attempt, by means of the written word, to amplify the building’s good points, explain away the bad ones, or simply to give way to their secret inner poet (a lousy one, in most cases).

Courtesy of SUS&HI

Courtesy of SUS&HI

But in this case, we actually see, without much creative effort on the part of the observer, a building that rises from the waters, that interacts with the ripples of the river and its dynamic energy. That’s more than most of the straight-to-the-internet projects we see around can say. SUS&HI office have designed what seems to be a hybrid between a building and a boat.

(Note: Straight-to-the-internet is the architectural analogue of the 21st century of those straight-to-video movies, whose attempt at quality is second rate, and whose motive is more related with making a profit than with making a decent movie. This is a Straight-to-the-internet project because it lives as an image, as a number of clicks, made to garner readers. I can’t imagine this design as being an honest attempt to be decent architecture – it is too intertwined with the logic of the market. Like one brand of shampoo sitting on a shelf where you have 50 other brands of exactly the same thing, shampoo – you do what you gotta to do in order to sell, baby. Capitalism.)

By :Daniel Anthony Fraga

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