Florian Beigel + ARU London, Kim JongKyu + MARU Seoul
(building completed Dec. 2003)
The YoulHwaDang building was commissioned by Mr. Yi KiUng the President of YoulHwaDang and the Chairman of the Culture Foundation & Cooperative of Paju Bookcity to be a prototype demonstration of the urban stratification strategy for Paju. Roughly speaking the first and second storey of the new Book City (up to the 10 meter height of the adjacent motorway embankment) are part of the lower urban strata belonging to the ground, to the wetland, the streets and public space. The third and fourth storey of the city are the upper urban strata belonging to the horizon, with large views of the Han River landscape to the west and the Simhak Mountain to the east.
The two-storey base building of YoulHwaDang takes up the full area of the site, and has patios carved out of it. Its roof terraces support the pavilion of the horizon.
Youl Hwa Dang Publishing House is built as a bridge over the original wetland terrain. The ground level is the landfill level, roughly one storey above the original wetland level. The car park of the building is at the former wetland level of the land.
Generally one wall in each room is a wall of light. These walls of light are built of light diffusing materials, a double layer opal polycarbonate material with vertical fluting on the inside, and cast glass panes 'standing' on horizontal steel shelves fixed to the outside of the building. The light that comes through these transparent walls is quite soft. The walls of the building that do not face inner courtyards are constructed with a dark stained timber rain-screen.
The concept of space within the YoulHwaDang building can be described as a cluster of studio houses arranged around several courtyards or madangs, (the space that is formed by the arrangement of rooms in a traditional Korean house). The studio houses are all double-storey, each with its own staircase. Youl Hwa Dang is a house of good rooms where one goes from room to room, including outdoor rooms (madangs). It is not a house with an open plan and it not a house of corridors and rooms. It is very flexible in use and at the same time has strong architectural identity. The rooms bring a domestic character to the publishing house.