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The Cloud, South Korea

Monday 12 Dec 2011

Head in the clouds?

The Cloud by MVRDV in South Korea
All images: MVRDV 
The Cloud by MVRDV in South Korea The Cloud by MVRDV in South Korea The Cloud by MVRDV in South Korea The Cloud by MVRDV in South Korea The Cloud by MVRDV in South Korea The Cloud by MVRDV in South Korea
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 34

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20/06/13 Riika, MA
OK, so I get where all the hate is coming from, but really, get over it. It's a building inspired by a cloud. It's not like the designers said "Hey we're gonna design a building to look like the twin towers falling to insult America". It was a CLOUD. If South Korea wants a building that looks like a cloud around a skyscraper, let them do so in peace. Besides, they apologized for something they didn't even do. Isn't that enough? The incident is behind us. Whoever can't even deal with a cloud inspired building because they haven't moved on needs to stop living in the past. Really.
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24/01/12 Richard, Johannesburg SA
Ummm, okay, they didn't quite stick an aeroplane tail out the side of it. Sorry MVRDV, but you can't stick two towers of those proportions so close together and not see an allusion to the WTC. It seems deliberate to me.

The pity is that I really like the concept of the cloud bridge, and I like the way it works and opportunities it provides. It seems a little sad that you have shot yourselves in the foot. But then again, your Balancing Barn also struck me as being more intent on seeking public attention than serious architectural discourse. In the end you do a disservice to our profession. You owe us at least one good building.
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23/12/11 reza taghavi, mashhad
the "swastika" is seen at the facade!!!!
20/12/11 Shashank Jain, London
I think it looks cool like any other work of MVRDV's

I have visited their buildings in Netherlands and their work is different from many architects... truly have revolutionized design

I agree that it resembles WTC attack but its stupid to abuse the architects with terrorist accusations
16/12/11 Chris, Calgary
This project isn't being built in Manhattan, nor the US for that matter. Americans might be surprised to know that most Chinese and Korean people have no idea what happened on sept 11th, do americans watch asian news? No. I look at this building and see it as the culmination and execution of a design concept in one of the few parts of the world where interesting design and construction actually happens, and I think it is quite and compelling. I hope it does get built and that people have the opportunity to percieve it their own way. The US needs to stop contextualizing everything that happens in the world in American terms.
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15/12/11 Wade Zimmerman, New York
Now the towers are excellent but the cloud is lacking in originality. it should be a cloud that is it should contrast with the materials and the surface of the towers.

They accomplished what they wanted but failed to develop it aesthetically it should really be light it should float it should engulf the towers in a mystical way.

I think what is evoking this reaction is that it looks like not a cloud but more a explosion. I just think they have it wrong if being a cloud is what they are trying to achieve?

I like the the buildings are hard edged but the cloud should not be so hard edge.

The concept is right their program falls short.
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14/12/11 Santos, Barangaroo
This is just a case of terrible choice of material and in turn had their whole design misinterpreted..... Had they use a different material probably offer a better resemblance to their concept image than what everyone now would see is a building exploding or imploding..... Definitely a poor design choice but the sad part for SK is that the building might still get built because of all the controversy and publicity its getting already....
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14/12/11 Poang, Helsinki
Frankly, that it might upset Americans is neither here nor there. It wasn't designed by, nor for, Americans. America is not the centre of the universe, all roads do NOT lead to America, and not everything in the world has some tenuous connection to the country. This building neither insults the people who died, not those who were left behind - it has nothing to do with them. It's being designed for a city halfway around the world. I'm not denigrating the atrocity of that terrible day, I'm just pointing out that there's a whole world outside of the USA's borders and we are in no way to conduct ourselves in a manner just to please them. If that upsets or offends you, go and speak to a therapist.
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14/12/11 Mike, Nicosia
There is no doubt - connotations are intentional. It's not only the cloud, it's also the square- in- plan towers and their diagonal layout. The architects should be honest enough to admit their intentions rather than attribute the design on other parameters.
14/12/11 Norbert Mezei, Prague
I personally find it interesting design, someone dares to give up on the boring , tall boxes. The evening scene has pleasant atmosphere. Agree to earlier comments, no one should confuse it with 9/11 , this is a metaphoric design and for sure 'clouds' can be generated by air humidity and explosion , as well.
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MVRDV's newly unveiled residential project in South Korea said to resemble 9/11 attacks 

Last week Dutch firm MVRDV presented their latest project - a pair of elevated residential towers in South Korea - which was met with much controversy from the international press. One after another, online and print publications blasted building’s architects, saying that the connecting ‘cloud’ between the two pillars ‘bears similarity to the fireball that engulfed the twin towers in New York 10 years ago’ [The Telegraph].

The concept itself includes two giant towers at 260m and 300m in height connected by a ‘pixelated cloud’ which incorporates a number of additional amenities and external spaces. This central 10-floor bridge is the area that has acted ignited such fury as it is said to reflect the plume of smoke that was ejected as the hijacked planes hit the Twin Towers in New York during the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

MVRDV are famous for their ambitious design concepts, many of which are seen through to completion. When WAN posted news of the recently completed Balancing Barn scheme in Suffolk, UK, we were flooded with honest comments dissecting the design of the cantilevered countryside home. The firm’s Alphabet Building in Amsterdam with met with equally harsh criticism.

This said the pair of South Korean residential towers for the Yongsan Dream Hub Corporation may take the title of most controversial concept. The design has been met by fury from those who have termed the release of these designs ‘a cheap publicity stunt’ to the point where MVRDV has admitted on its Facebook page that ‘we receive threatening emails and calls of angry people call us Al Qaeda lovers or worse’. Several hundred users of the social media site have left their heartfelt comments under a recent post on MVRDV’s Facebook page.

In response to the backlash the practice has published an official apology on its website which reads: “MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evokes regarding 9/11. The Cloud was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city. It is one of many projects in which MVRDV experiments with a raised city level to reinvent the often solitary typology of the skyscraper.

“It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologise to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, it was not our intention. The design inspiration of The Cloud is visualised in the first image on our website, a cloud covering the centre of the skyscraper [see left].”

Despite gathering controversy, MVRDV has confirmed that the project will press ahead with a completion date set for 2015. MVRDV is the lead architect and is working on the scheme with architect of record Siaplan, Arup, Benoy Retail Architects and Martha Schwartz Partners for the landscape.

Unfortunate oversight or ‘cheap publicity stunt’? Let us know in our Your Comments section [see left].

Sian Disson
News Editor

Key Facts

Status Concept design
Value 0(m€)

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