Álvaro Siza Hall . Anyang Pavilion
YEAR2005 - 2006
LOCATIONSouth Korea, Anyang
February 2005: The invitation, urgent and unexpected. A small town of 300.000 inhabitants had initiated the development of a cultural centre at the entrance to a natural park, located amidst beautiful mountains. As an addition but central to the composition, a multifunction pavilion, accessible to all, would be required. The name of Álvaro Siza was mentioned and the invitation arrived hand delivered to him in Porto.
March 2005: The urgency was real and I went directly to the site to survey and accumulate the information necessary for the architect’s work. The brief was sparse, it included a multifunctional space, a small office, perhaps for the police, and toilets for use by people visiting the park and the nearby square and restaurants.
On my arrival, Jun, a Korean architect who had studied abroad and worked in Porto but was now established in Seoul was waiting for me. We had been friends for over 20 years and our friendship and common profession created the necessary link.
On my arrival I feel the presence of urgency; the urgency of urgency, because the country is like that, like the people and their lives. There’s time to decide, but once the decision is made urgency begins. There is great euphoria for the APAP2005 – Anyang Public Art Project 2005, many artists and some architects have already confirmed their participation. One senses a certain preoccupation; will the many invited participants of so many different nationalities understand the urgency? In our own time we gather information, take photographs, request maps, look for documentation. We investigate what kind of architecture had been produced here before its almost complete destruction by the wars and identify current architecture of merit, we search …, our friends help us and show us examples.
The location is an opening/open space made in the mountain, a square yet to be created. There are already compromises made, but maybe we can get involved and even eliminate some of the existing features, we will see.
Back to Porto and the West, I try to transmit the experience, the happenings, the tastes and the background for the work. Siza receives, understands questions and interprets like no one else. The first work session produces some sketches, still tentative and interpretive. The second session supported by a site model becomes more precise, the form begins to take shape with the resolution of the brief. Other sessions follow, typically on Saturdays and Sundays. The atmosphere is great. Models are made, the scale is brought up, further sketches indicate changes to the plans, models and 3D drawings. We must go back to Korea and make a presentation to the Client.
July 2005: on arrival we are informed that the presentation will be at 17.00hrs. At 17.00hrs the meeting begins; the mayor of the town, relevant councilors/commissioners, council technical staff, some local architects and other guests. There is a short presentation of Álvaro Siza’s work, presentation of the proposal, some translation, some intelligent questions, a requirement to increase the size of the public toilets element, but nothing that would prevent the formal approval of the proposal, for of course we are technicians and will make the necessary changes as requested.
There are thanks for the quality, but also for our response to the urgency. The works must be begun, it is necessary to build, it is urgent and what about the snow…
19.00h a dinner to confirm the satisfaction with the project, its acceptance and official approval.
On returning home, the process, although identical, is different, as we move on to working drawings. The form is adapted to the small programmatic alterations required. The drawings gain scale and rigor but always following the sketch and the sketch following the rigour required by construction.
The construction works begin and the drawing goes on. The Internet allows for exchange of information but also allows us to see the building growing, although at a distance.
Despite the urgency, there is pleasure in seeing the building arise, without the usual bureaucracy, for ours is a different reality.
November 2005: we’re back again for the opening of the park and to visit the work. The basic volume is complete in grey concrete so fine it’s almost white, allowing one to anticipate the quality of light. Execution is perfect despite the urgency. The place was made for this volume and the volume grows out of it.
Of the rest of the square, it wasn’t possible to change much, we’re left with our half.
The park, vanity fair is pleasant… ; but unpleasant, and surprising to me is the ability to build. Very little of this is well done, a lot has a temporary character, almost throwaway. Only the best will last, time will not forgive.
We discuss infra-structure, services, finishes, materials, we prepare for the next phase, which is the finishes. In Porto we follow the completion of the works, almost in real time, with complicity.
July 2006: Back in Korea, our surprise is great, despite the exchange of photos. Entering the finished space is sublime, as is the light. The space is not static and when we move it sings as Siza would put it. It is introverted when it needs to be, extroverted in its perspectives, its routes, in its volumetric form and in the materials.
It rains and rains, it’s the monsoon, which dramatizes things a bit, but it’s fine.
Despite the necessary corrections, which are few and basic, such as a work by Álvaro Siza requires.
And we have the exterior to get to yet.
The Client, the city, respectfully makes the necessary request and the pavilion takes the name of Anyang Álvaro Siza Hall. Already in use the inauguration will take place soon.
Jun Sung Kim
Office in Portugal:
CC&CB – Architects, Lda.
João Figueiredo (3D)
Office in Korea:
SUN WOOD –
Engineering & Consultant Co. Ltd.
JUNG MOLING –
Engineering Group Co., Ltd.
Construction CO, Ltd.
Fernando Guerra – FG+SG
Fotografia de Arquitectura