The Living Light Illuminates Air Quality in South Korea


[image via The Living. Click to expand.]

“In the future, buildings will talk to one another.” So say The Living. Founded by David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang, New York based The Living have a practice that could perhaps best be described as techno-utopian open-sourced design. Seriously. That’s the best way to describe it. Their recent project in Seoul proves that, yes, it is possible to create forward-thinking architecture that is more useful and much more elegant than the multi-formal Prada Transformer in the same city. Living Light is a public pavilion that merges architecture with media and the graphic representation of data. In this case, the specific data relates to air quality in the South Korean Capital.

[image via The Living. Click to expand.]

The dome-like structure is made from transparent luminescent panels etched with a street map of the city. When air pollution levels improve in one area, that neighborhood’s corresponding panel is illuminated with LEDs. The casual passerby, therefore, begins to understand their city on an entirely new level – a largely invisible level. The same system that controls the illumination of the panels is also connected to a SMS hotline, so the “users” of this piece of architecture can essentially text message the building to get information about air quality. A building that talks to you.

[image via The Living. Click to expand.]

The Seoul project relates back to The Living’s earlier work, Living City, in which the firm equipped buildings with exterior air quality sensors that could communicate with one another via the internet. The Living develop their ideas through a process they’ve dubbed “Flash Research.” Flash research is “an architectural project that involves: 1) a budget under $1000, 2) a duration of less than three months, and 3) proof-of-concept through the creation of a full-scale functioning prototype. Previous Flash Research projects are River glow, which asks the question “What if architecture produced it’s own energy?” and Living Glass: “what if architecture responded to you?” But The Living don’t just want us to sit back and watch them answers these questions, they ask that we seek our own answers as well, and even improve or repurpose their work. Participatory Design. Open-source architecture. To this end, they’ve published Life Size, a two volume set that essentially acts as an instruction manual for their Flash Research projects. Curious about breathing buildings? With Life Size you can make your own gilled glazing.

Their architecture is siteless. Their ideas universal. The Living aren’t so much concerned with a building’s form, as with how the building work. Or perhaps more importantly – how they could work. The architecture of the future won’t have a singular style, but it might just share a . The Living’s techno-future isn’t far off and their series of cheaply-made prototypes serve to show that not only are their ideas possible, but within our ability to produce at larger scales. They’re designing the future. We just need to catch up. Luckily, there’s a instruction manual.

&#183 The Living [website]
&#183 Living Cities: From Sci-Fi to Sentient Buildings [Design-build Network]
&#183 More Than Meets The Runway: The Prada Transformer [Life Without Buildings]

1 reply on “The Living Light Illuminates Air Quality in South Korea”

Uh… this is an interesting implementation of ideas Toyo Ito already exposed 20 years ago. Which is awesome, but it adds a new dimension to the whole “we need to catch up” thing.

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