Mass Studies pulled no punches in this South Korean shop design for fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester, going from an entirely offbeat green-covered building decked in geo-textiles to form living walls and roofs. In its scale and proportions, this sustainable retail design seeks a balance between the existing residential texture of the neighborhood and the new layer of commercial being introduced.
Outside of those gestures, however, this is a green building like few others. It is perhaps less about sustainable than about bringing the comfort and camouflage of nature into the heart of a busy urban area, as illustrated by the sectional drawings shown below. Nonetheless, its perennial wall plants will improve air quality and reduce noise – at least for those within the building – thus cutting down an air and sound pollution at the least.
Within the building it quickly becomes evident that the purpose was not just to create an attractive and unusual object from the outside but also a series of rich spatial experiences within the building, one in which the horizontal bleeds into the vertical and nature moves through architecture. Curved concrete surfaces share spaces with sweeping slopes of green, all mingling in an interior not revealed in the comparatively simple facades.
“This proposal is an attempt to incorporate as much nature as possible into the building within the constraints of a low-elevation, high-density urban environment of limited space (378㎡),” the architects explain. “The building defines its relationship between natural/artificial and interior/exterior as an amalgamation, rather than a confrontation.”
“Diverse interior spaces designated for its three main programs were made to be perceived and utilized as a part of the outdoors in a variety of ways. This building is not meant to be just another ‘object’ to be experienced externally, but rather as a synthetic organism of nature and artifice.”