Florian Beigel + ARU London, Choi JongHoon + NIA Seoul

A City Cluster of Publishing Houses in Paju Book City, Korea

Paju has a unique sense of civility which can be experienced in a special public realm comprising the wetland canal unifying the entire estate, a number of cultural building clusters, the city views of the Han River landscape and the Simhak Mountain and the street spaces running north south parallel to the river. Some publishing houses on the main streets make gifts to the city with little public squares and public courtyards extending the space off the street.

ARU has completed three publishing houses at Paju Book City, two for Youl Hwa Dang Publishing House and one for Positive Thinking People Publishing House. These buildings sit along side each other on Bookmaker’s Street, forming a city cluster in Paju with a generosity of spirit and sense of civility.

YoulHwaDang Book Hall Building
The third building in the Cluster of three buildings is the recently completed Book Hall, an extension of Youl Hwa Dang Publisher to the north of the original black building.

The Book Hall building also makes an offering to the city in form of the Art Yard, a little public square off Book Maker’s Street. The Book Hall opens to the Art Yard under a small portico building. Entering the hall gives a feeling of stepping into a contemplative memory place. The little portico building nestling in the Art Yard can’t deny its parents.

Similar to the language of Positive Thinking People Building and in a more archaic way, similar to the black Youl Hwa Dang building next to it, the façade of the Book Hall Building facing the Art Yard speaks a friendly classical language of vertical differentiation. It is composed of closely packed buildings next to each other or on top of each other with different characters and architectural proportions. They are all simple wall and window buildings. A closer look at the façade reveals 3 or 4 different architectural characters in the Art Yard façade. The different characters to some extent reflect the essential spatial differentiation behind the facades: Book Hall, Mezzanine Lounge, Reading Room, and Book Café, with double storey Apartments stacked on top.

Design study sketch of the architectural composition of the public façade facing the Art Yard and the city. Drawing: Florian Beigel, May 2007.

Architecture Research Unit, London

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