location: expo 2010 shanghai - zone A
Han-geul, the Korean alphabet, is the prime element of ’signs’ within the pavilion. The overall volume, lifted 7.2 m above ground level, is created by converging these Han-geul letters, allowing signs to create the exhibition space, and so that the visitors can experience their geometry through horizontal, vertical and diagonal movements. The primary geometries that compose the Han-geul letters are universal to other cultures, thus acting as a sort of ’open’ set of signs that is engaging to everyone. The exterior surfaces of the Korea Pavilion are clad in 2 types of pixels: Han-geul Pixels and Art Pixels. Han-geul Pixels are white panels with a relief of letters in four different sizes whose combination forms the majority of the exterior, mainly the peripheral surfaces. Most of the non-peripheral surfaces are composed of Art Pixels, which are 45 cm x 45 cm aluminum panels created by a Korean artist, Ik-Joong Kang, who is renowned for creating massive art walls out of small hand-painted tiles, either self-produced or by gathering from around the world. About 40,000 of these panels will texture the façade, contributing a bright palette of colors, hope, and unity throughout the Korea Pavilion. The art pixels, individually autographed by the artist, will be sold at the end of the Expo. The surfaces will project different atmospheres during the day and night, with light and shadows creating different textures. Sequential lighting is installed behind the Hangeul Pixels to highlight the individual letters on the exterior façade at night, further animating the pavilion as a sign on a larger scale.
Mass Studies was founded in 2003 by Minsuk Cho in Seoul, Korea, as a critical investigation of architecture in the context of mass production, intensely over-populated urban conditions, and other emergent cultural niches that define contemporary society. Amid the many frictions defining spatial conditions in the twenty-first century, namely past vs. future, local vs. global, utopia vs. reality, and individual vs. collective, Mass Studies focuses on the operative complexity of these multiple conditions instead of striving for a singular, unified perspective. For each architectural project, which exist across a wide range of scales, Mass Studies explores issues such as spatial systems/matrixes, building materials/techniques, and typological divergences to foster a vision that allows the discovery of new socio/cultural potential.