We are pleased to announce that one of our favorite archictecture firms, LOT-EK, has just won the New York AIA Chapter Honors Award for their APAP OpenSchool in Korea. The school which was inaugurated in the summer of 2010 is an art school featuring an open-air covered amphitheater, studios and exhibition space. Positioned over the popular Hawoon Park pedestrian walkway, along the Anyang River, the school is a welcome addition blending boldly with the tranquil surroundings and creating a salient burst of color set against a backdrop of monotone edifices. The criteria used by the AIA jury included design quality, program resolution, innovation, thoughtfulness and technique. There were 433 entries in four categories, including 184 submissions in the architecture category alone.
LOT-EK’s design for the Open School focused on activating the open space at the river edge. Set on a site that included an incredible sloping hill and extended water and rock path, the architects were provided an unmatched opportunity to create a beautiful space for visitors, spectators and actors to showcase their curious and artistic endeavors.
Constructed from 8 shipping containers carefully arranged, the program features three different and interconnected areas each evoking a different spatial experience mainly driven by the natural environment. At the ground level sits the amphitheater, which easily benefits from the natural slope of the site; the lower section of the incline takes advantage of the view of the rivers edge and seamlessly connects to the existing stairway, while the upper level leaves ample room for open exhibitions and community exchange against views of the park and cityscape. The second story of the building has been lifted 3-meters above ground and encompasses each of the 8 containers. Here one can find a large multipurpose room, exhibition space, artist-in-residence studios and ample research space. Large glass windows sit on the ends of each container providing varied views across the north-east and south-west axis.
Overall a striking design given its colorful and graphic nature, what in fact makes this a dynamic construction is LOT-EK’s choice to form an angled overhang at the top of the structure. Not only does the tilt provide for a lively and interesting aesthetic, but by creating a window puncture at the top of the tilt, in addition to a deck, the architects create a unique user experience that draws upon carefully framed light and inimitable views of both nature and urban life intermingling.