Growing Forest is located at the foot of the Achasan Mountain in Seoul. The Growing Forest developed in a point at the foot of the mountain, which was interrupted by the Cheonho-daero then reconnected, where an observatory and a public artwork are located, forging a relationship between the natural and artificial. The observatory begins by following the flow of the Achasan Mountain. An artificial forest consisting of columns has been created on the slope where the terrain begins its ascent up into the mountain.
A path through the artificial forest opens through the leafy elm trees, and as you enter guided by the small columns, you reach a sequence of upright vertical columns enclosing the space. As you reach a large, tall space, you are prompted to look up at the sky where you can see a forest space of inestimable height. This is a space where light and a breeze pass through the columns, and you can lean back in a small chair to take a moment’s rest. Then you contine to climb the path again. Located in the corner of the forest is the winding stair, a vertical promenade from which you can observe the surrounding area from various viewpoints and slowly begin your climb. Following this path, once you arrive at the observatory space, which is like a house above the woods, you will see the low, flat terrain of the Achasan Mountain, the Han River, and the changing scenery of Seoul. This forest has a different texture to that of other natural forests. Interpreting their difference could be another pleasing moment during the visit. Vertical columns form a forest-like space. Once you go up to the upper space of the columns, the observatory space unfolds before you.
The all-season vines that are planted at the lower reaches grow along the columns, create a landscape that grows together with the surrounding environment. The artificial forest is created through architectural intervention, but the changing landscape is overseen by nature. At night, through the subdued lighting installed on the upper part of the columns, you experience a view of fireflies glowing in the forest full of darkness. The structural landscape, which will become part of the forest over time, is located in a liminal space between nature and the artificial.
NAMELESS Architecture (Na Unchung, Yoo Sorae), Chu
Lee Changsoo, Lee Jungho, Lee Mingyu, Kang Daehan
401-14, Gwangjang-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, Korea
observatory, public art
painting on steel pipe, exposed concrete
DAEBO engineering & construction
Dec. 2017 – Aug. 2018
Aug. 2018 – Jan. 2020
Seoul Metropolitan Government
design studio loci
NAMELESS Architecture is an idea-based design practice. Na Unchung and Yoo Sorae each graduated from Hongik University and Korea University. They both received M.Arch. from the University of California, Berkeley in the United States. After establishing NAMELESS Architecture in New York, they expanded their office into Seoul. They run a practice committed to simplicity in an unpredictable world, where they explore the realms of architecture, city, and global cultural phenomena.