Light and shade form a psychological boundary in the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea. The Morning Glory cloud is a rare natural phenomenon that animates the buffer zone as an artificial cloud
Hanyang University and Hongik University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Teacher: Heejune Whang
The project reflects on how daylight can contribute to the unification of Korea. The Korean demilitarised zone is the strip of land running across the peninsula which serves as a buffer zone between North and South Korea. Protected by barbed wire, the existing demarcation line is inaccessible, so the border is more a psychological than a physical barrier.
The design concept of an architectural border is inspired by ‘the Morning Glory Cloud’, a rare meteorological phenomenon occasionally observed in the morning for a few moments. When heated by the sun, warm modules of balloons will rise into the sky and create shadow at sunrise. After sunset, they are brought down and start to illuminate the surroundings, charged by the sun during the day. Light and shadow created in the process serve as a new barrier that stimulates speculation about the meaning of borders and the hope that they will ultimately disappear.
With this narrative, the students’ aim is to tell a metaphoric story that encompasses awareness through light, connecting light to air in an ephemeral way, and how to tie fantasy to the real world. It is even infused with humour.
The project is incredibly exemplary and poetic as well as impressively presented. It is fantastic in the best sense, animating a demilitarised zone as an artificial cloud. It has an extraordinary knockabout quality, which the jury did not see in other projects, yet it also explores the idea and significance of a border in a very contentious part of the world.
The project articulates the political and physical boundary in a way that is playful, but also with a serious undercurrent. It uses technology in a dramatic way and also aims to make a wider political point.