Architect Moon Hoon of Moonbalsso, who’s based in the Gangnam district in Seoul, South Korea, is known for his sculptural, whimsical designs like the Wind House featuring a duck-head robot shaped observatory tower to the commercial-residential hybrid project dubbed K-pop Curve. And then there is a Star Wars-inspired house.
One of his latest projects, the YDP Tower, is slated for a Seoul neighborhood south of the Han River. It looks like a tube of lipstick covered with a swirling fingerprint—if we’re being sedate and G-rated—or perhaps it resembles the medieval round structures mainly found in Ireland that are thought to have been used as refuges or bell towers. (We’ll leave other associations for you to imagine.)
And no, it is not an office building for some futuristic tech company, as this writer first thought after viewing the renderings for the first time. Part of it will serve as a residence for a South Korean actor. “The penthouse at the top is where the client is going to reside (four floors). “The bottom four floors will be studios for rent,” Moon Hoon said. “The building has a high piloti (surrounding buildings are three to four floors high). The first floor will begin at the neighbors’ rooftops.” The ground level is reserved for parking, with prominently-displayed stairs and an elevator.
“The project aims at providing a dynamic house with a roof garden and studios with high ceilings with bare interiors so that new tenants can design it for themselves,” Hoon explained. Perhaps Moon Hoon is like a modern day Friedensreich Hundertwasser—the Austrian architect and artist who designed playful, colorful buildings like the Hundertwasserhaus, that was originally an apartment building in Vienna (and reportedly a pro-bono project for Hundertwasser). Moon Hoon is also an artist, with drawings exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale that won the Golden Lion Prize.
On the unusual residential design, Moon Hoon said: “The client wished for a unique tower with some curves. We provided various schemes and the one with the client’s fingerprint as a facade and structure won his heart. At the moment we are collaborating with structural engineers. The tower will most likely be a double skin building with a hybrid construction method—steel and concrete mix. The fingerprint facade will be a metal finish screening a curtain wall behind it…”.
Currently the project is in the design development phase and Hoon expects groundbreaking will start this fall or early spring 2017.