suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
TheeAe LTD. (architect Woohyun CHO): The site is located in an urban area close to the downtown of Daegu, one of the biggest cities in South Korea. In contrast to its locality, this town is isolated from the major city development. The community gets older, and young couples have been moving out to other towns to provide better education for their children.
Its new design is mainly reasoned to help those people in the town to see a better place with its unique and landmark architecture from their home. This small change would say to others: “The town is not abandoned.” Thus, seniors in the church are outnumbered among church members. Yet, its mountain hill entrance hinders accessibility for them and its lack of parking space even makes its condition worse. Designing the new church is an attempt to offer solutions to those problems.
Based on the limited budget about 2.8 million USD for a 3,500 square meter building, it was a big challenge to design a landmark for this region. The overall space requirement is separated into two major elements which are: 900 square meters of parking area and 2600 square meters of non-parking area. On the one hand, the parking grid was mainly applied to limit the design to the utmost efficiency and to maximize available space; on the other hand, we had to interpret the church as another symbolic element so as to create a landmark for the town, differentiating it from the usual icons of church design in Korea (such as red bricks, symmetric plan, and the gabled/steepled roof topped with a cross).
Not to mention, we had to deeply contemplate about Christianity. The symbolic idea of Christianity had to be revealed and had to align with the conception of Christians’ life in this world. Our thought was limited by the definition of Heaven referred to in the teachings of Christ on the mountain, when he taught: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” Meaning that heaven is among us even if we are poor. Despite various circumstances confronting us as always, our life should experience this heaven.
Architecturally, the sloped site becomes catalyst to express the obtuse or acute angles of the exterior shape as a form of life. It represents anguish, pain, sadness, happiness, and so on, which become eased or disappeared, or even rectified in a better way through the reflection of the sky of the box (worship area) in the middle of the building—as if people see the heaven in the present moment. Because of it, they may overcome situations worse than anything they might wish to face. They are blessed. They are people who are poor in spirit. They know their sinful nature. Therefore, through the sky reflected by the mirror stainless steel, we believe it will give them a moment to pause and think about their victory already assured. That was the icon that we desired to create for this new landmark.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
TheeAe LTD.: “The creativity is the ability to introduce order of the randomness of nature.” — Eric Hoffer, philosopher.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
TheeAe LTD.: Nothing, specifically, I am reading or listening. Just from various design studies by functions.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
TheeAe LTD.: N/A. (There are many architects I like, not specifically one.)
Location: Daegu, South Korea
Site Area: 2,700 sm
Construction Size: Level 1 ~ 5
Total floor area: 3,800 sm
Building Cost: USD 2,700,000. 00
Status: Commissioned / Unbuilt
Architect: Woohyun Cho
Design Company: TheeAe LTD.