Thumbs up Building / B.U.S Architecture


© Kyung Roh

© Kyung Roh
  • Architects: B.U.S Architecture
  • Location: Yonggang-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Lead Architects: Jihyun Park, Seonghak Cho
  • Area: 2315.0 m2
  • Project Year: 2016
  • Photographs: Kyung Roh
  • Designers: Byungyup Lee, Hyemee Park

© Kyung Roh

© Kyung Roh

From the architect. The land of the building adjoining the main street (the well-formed commercial area) was in the form of the reversed letter of “L”. It was not so wide for pedestrians; easy access to the building, for which I felt sorry to the client. We proposed the way of using this narrow land to attract more pedestrians, but it was excluded from the agenda because it meant a reduction of a lot of rentable space. First of all, it is important to maximize the rentable area by securing as much coverage and floor area ratio as possible. We satisfied the client’s desire first and then infiltrated our desire into it inch by inch. At the time, we were just like diligent bees incessantly flying over flowers to get their desired honey. This was the way that we got our so tasty and authentic honey.

Once enough area was secured, the volume was naturally decided on right away, except that some device was needed on the narrow land adjoining the main road to attract pedestrians. This narrow land becomes a road that traverses the ground back and fro or is divided into the two roads: one for crossing the ground to get behind the building and the other for climbing the building to rise far into the sky. The door to the road is always open, sometimes serving as a short cut for pedestrians to cross the street or sometimes as a small yard for pedestrians’ brief rest.


© Kyung Roh

© Kyung Roh

The client’s demand that the building sides all should be built with curtain-walled windows put us at a little bit embarrassment. The side overlooking the Han River was fit for the demand to some degree, but the other sides were likely to create a little bit disconcerting situation in which one would be forced to see the backward appearance of the behind building adjoining the nearby land. The land was located in an area of no interest, and according to the deliberation criteria, the building had to have a less than 60% of window area. Laws are sometimes a good means to persuade clients. We decided to find a way to let the client know that the curtain-walled windows are not appropriate regarding the laws or the land situation and to bypass his demand. It was the client’s single demand that the front side of the building should have a window, and we wondered what the fundamental reason for the demand was.


© Kyung Roh

© Kyung Roh

For the client, the windows were a way of exhibiting the city (or the surrounding landscape). He wanted to see them all – the Han River at the frontal side of the building, the nearby streets, and the neighboring buildings. We needed not design the windows as a means of exhibiting the city. We modified the sizes of the windows according to the direction in which you saw them from each of the corner faces of the building and accentuated the sense of speed of the panorama when you get to each of the floors through the vertical traffic line.


Panorama Window

Panorama Window

As a result, the windows get smaller as they are going backward from the side overlooking the Han River. When you get to each of the floors, the surrounding appearances are unfolding like a panorama and the perspective drawing phenomenon is further distorted as the sizes of the windows of each side vary..


© Kyung Roh

© Kyung Roh

A shy yet sensual desire of seeing over there, with the eyes slightly covered with the fingers, is being expressed. As all these desires are fused into one, the building softly thumbs up. To someone, it may be the highest compliment or an expression of the encouragement saying, “You all worked hard. You did a great job.”


© Kyung Roh

© Kyung Roh

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