The Bujang-Li house is composed of the first floor where the old couple will stay and the second floor for their children visiting them occasionally. The first and second floors are separated so that they should use stairs outside the house. I hoped to make the second floor, which will be used once in a while, like a different house or a neighbor still these are one house.

The impression was strange and dreary at the first when I had visited the site. The old house stood by itself on the field where harvest is done. Houses were scattered sparsely in the large field.

On the second floor, there is only one room and most parts of it are opened to outside as terrace. It is enjoyable to look around the wide field with a open view when standing there. When lying down in the shade of the roof, I can see the sky and feel the wind blowing from all directions. I wish that the place becomes a multi-purpose space for eating meals, taking a nap, drying peppers and having a village party.

The client wanted to change the old soil house which was constructed by himself without a floor plan of it to  a cozy rural house. The only one thing he asked for was to build “a not-cold house” since he has lived in a house that was not insulated at all. I guess that he may expect that a warm house will be built with a red tiled roof and bricks like habit. However, I had second thoughts.

Architects: Oh Jongsang
Location: Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea
Site Area: 1,279 sqm
Area: 135 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Courtesy of Oh Jongsang

After Speculation, Empty Density
Currently occupied by the municipality and destined to become empty within the next few years, the Europoint towers, or Marconi Towers, located in Marconiplein at the fringe of the European port city of Rotterdam, is emblemic of, yet only a fraction of an ever increasing number of vacant office towers in Europe and beyond. In Holland alone, 6.74 million square meters of entirely occupiable work space exists in high-rise towers as of 2011.

Dense Urban Vacuum, Our Tabula Rasa for the New City?
The case of Europoint and similar towers only seem to highlight the irreversible demise of indiscriminate speculation and expansions in the recent history (and near future) of our cities, but the effective infrastructure of readily available, densely linked vertical sites in these distributed urban towers may be the inadvertent but potent apparatus that can redefine the city. Ready to be deployed behind a benign facade of glass panels, each new “slate” liberally stacked in the form of a dense urban vacuum is an underexplored Tabula Rasa of the present, which challenges its own origin and provokes the possibilities of the new city and its new productivities.

(No) Stop Marconi
Engaging the site’s extraordinary history of speculations and uncertain future, (No) Stop Marconi urges for the acknowledgement and discussion on the significance of the underutilized spaces in the city and their repeated and unchallenged reproduction. Bringing forward the endless programmatic potential of density and verticality, the multiple proposals demonstrate prototypical solutions for the new typology of new slates in the existing tower. Deployed throughout the empty towers in the city, the strategies explored in Marconi will afford intensified nodes and networks of activities that encourage the possibilities of the new city (the Slate City?), re-making the city. The circumstances explored in (No) Stop Marconi, although rooted in local politics and specificity of the post-bubble economy, also examines a general condition that contemporary architecture and urbanism operate on, where large shifts and dramatically changing conditions often create a mismatch between the speculative world and the actual. Rather than passively accepting the unquestioned route of standardized solutions, design can play a nimble, mediating, active role in transforming the seeming predicament into a civic opportunity.



Taking advantage of the stalled Filene’s construction site at Downtown Crossing, Eco-Pod is a proposal to immediately stimulate the economy, and the ecology, of downtown Boston. Eco-Pod (Gen1) is a temporary vertical algae bio-reactor and new public Commons, built with custom prefabricated modules. The pods will serve as bio-fuel sources and as micro-incubators for flexible research and development programs. As an open and reconfigurable structure, the voids between pods form a network of vertical public parks/botanical gardens housing unique plant species- a new Uncommon for the Commons.

Micro-algae is one of the most promising bio-fuel crops of today, yielding over thirty times more energy per acre than any other fuel crop. Unlike other crops, algae can grow vertically and on non-arable land, is biodegradable, and may be the only viable method by which we can produce enough automotive fuel to replace the world’s current diesel usage. Algae farming uses sugar and cellulose to create bio-fuels and simultaneously helps reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions, since it replaces CO2 with Oxygen during photosynthesis. While the bio-reactor process is currently in an experimental phase, recent advances in single step algae oil extraction and low energy high efficiency LEDs make the algae bio-reactor an extremely promising prospect on the renewable energy technology horizon.

In addition to being an active bio-reactor and local source of renewable energy, the Eco-Pod is also a research incubator in which scientists can test algae species and methods of fuel extraction, including new techniques of using low energy LED lighting for regulating the algae growth cycles. The central location of the Eco-Pod and the public and visible nature of the research, allows the public to experience the algae growth and energy production processes. As a productive botanical garden, it also functions as a pilot project, a public information center and catalyst for ecological awareness.

An on-site robotic armature (powered by the algae bio-fuel) is designed to reconfigure the modules to maximize algae growth conditions and to accommodate evolving spatial and programmatic conditions in real-time. The reconfigurable modular units allow the structure to transform to meet changing programmatic and economic needs, while the continuous construction on the site will broadcast a subtle semaphore of constructional activity and economic recovery. This is anticipatory architecture, capable of generating a new micro-urbanism that is local, agile, and carbon net positive.

This proposal envisions the immediate deployment of a “crane ready” modular temporary structure to house experimental and research based programs. Once funding is in place for the original architectural proposal, the modules can be easily disassembled and redistributed to various neighborhoods around Boston, infilling other empty sites, testing new proposals, and developing initiatives with other communities. Designed with flexibility and reconfigurability in mind, the modularity of the units anticipates future deployments on other sites. An instant architecture, designed with an intention towards its afterlife(s), this is a pre-cycled architecture. In our ongoing, synergistic scenario, the growth of the algae propels, and is propelled by, technologically-enabled developments that literally and metaphorically “grow the economy.”

Höweler + Yoon Architecture is a multidisciplinary practice specializing in the integration of architecture, new technologies and public space. Their work has been widely published, exhibited, and awarded. Their recent books include: Expanded Practice, a monograph published by Princeton Architectural Press; and Public Works: Unsolicited Small Projects for the Big Dig published by Map Books. Eric Höweler is a Design Critic in Architecture at Harvard Design School. Meejin Yoon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Squared is a digital design laboratory producing work across the fields of architecture, industrial design, online interactivity, and film. Among a variety of projects, they have been serving as design and visualization consultants for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City since 2003. Co-founders Josh Barandon and Franco Vairani graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with degrees in Architecture, Design, and Computation.

Architectural Design 2009 Boston, MAUnited States The Boston Globe

Höweler + Yoon Architecture

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