Prodded by President Trump, the cold war between North and South Korea – which never formally declared a truce – threatens to return to boiling point, with potentially world-ending consequences. What solutions can architecture offer to the crisis? This is of course a ludicrous question; nevertheless, architectural research group Arch Out Loud recently held an open competition to design an underground bathhouse in the demilitarised zone, with the aim of emphasising the shared culture of the two Koreas, and the potential of the type as a place where people, stripped of their social signifiers, can mingle without fetters. In the winning entry, a double-helix ramp draws people from both sides of the 38th Parallel down into a vast subterranean void – shaped like the traditional kiln sauna of the Korean jjimjilbang – to be united at the bottom in a circular pool of hot water and brotherly love.
Crossing parallel(s) by studio mrdo and studio lam drawings
This is a case study from Typology: Bathhouse in AR February 2018, click here to read now