Daily digest: The architecture of Squid Game, the National Space Center in Moscow revealed, and more

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Daily digest: The architecture of Squid Game, the National Space Center in Moscow revealed, and more

The sprawling, multipurpose National Space Center in Moscow will be anchored by a 945-foot-tall triangular tower. (Courtesy UNK)

Good morning and welcome back to the last roundup of the week as we bring you the art, architecture, and urbanism news to know.

Here’s what to catch up on as we head into the weekend:

Director Hwang Dong-Yuk breaks down the inspiration behind Squid Game’s “fairy tale” set design

Squid Game has been a historic success for Netflix, as audiences flocked to the South Korean drama best described as Battle Royale meets Parasite where downtrodden workers voluntarily put their lives on the line in deadly children’s games for a chance at a major cash prize. Aside from the performances and prominent themes of oppression and constant dehumanization under capitalism, a major draw has been the massive (practically realized) sets, funhouse versions of classic childhood refuges. In a new video interview with Netflix, director Hwang Dong-Yuk broke down the inspiration and construction process of each of the show’s iconic sets, including the warehouse-like holding area where contestants are stacked like packages to sleep between games.

UNK reveals the National Space Center in Moscow

A nearly 2.7-million-square-foot space center has been unveiled for the heart of Moscow, that, once complete, will serve as a major office hub for Russia’s state rocket agency. Designed by UNK, the glass-clad National Space Center will serve as the central office and situation center for the Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities. The complex, which from the renderings includes several boxy glass volumes anchored by a 945-foot-tall, 47-story tower, will include outposts for Moscow research universities, an education center, room for rocket and manufacturing offices, a “production diversification center,” and more. Aggregating so many disparate programs in one building created a tangle that UNK chose to address by building out the center with modular blocks docked to central corridors.

The National Space Center broke ground in 2019 and is expected to open later this year.

Grimshaw’s pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai draws sustainability complaints

Grimshaw Architects’ Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is, ironically, drawing complaints that it’s disproportionately unsustainable. Despite achieving LEED Platinum certification, the pavilion, which consists of mushroom-like steel shades around a massive upward spiraling exhibition hall, reportedly contains twice as much embodied carbon as the sustainability standards laid out by the London Energy Transformation Initiative for a building of the same size. However, Grimshaw has shot back, and chairman Andrew Whalley claimed the pavilion’s unique project typology and novel form exclude it from the “regularity of form or economy of scale” afforded to residential or commercial buildings to help hit their embodied carbon targets.

H/t to Dezeen

A $7.5 billion “clean coal” plant in Mississippi was just demolished after years of failures

Speaking of sustainability, one shining testament to the failure of “clean coal” technology is currently being torn down in Kemper County, Mississippi. The Kemper Plant began construction in 2010 at a cost of $7.5 billion and the goal of converting coal into natural gas to burn for fuel—and the plant’s owners promised at the time that 65 percent of the carbon emissions put out would be captured and sequestered. Now, 11 years and $4 billion in cost overruns later, the towers that should have converted the coal to gas have been imploded. After failing to come online in 2017, three years after it should have, that part of the plant was axed after troubles scaling up the technology were revealed by an SEC investigation.

H/t to Gizmodo

Tavares Stracha will debut a large-scale social justice piece in front of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center

Artist Tavares Strachan will debut a major new work focused on racial justice in front of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on October 23. Two 45-by-18-foot neon signs will be slotted on top of the SHoP-designed center’s green roof, reading “You Belong Here” from the front and “We Belong Here” to guests leaving.

Three new buildings join the University of Denver campus  

Three new academic buildings have opened at the University of Denver just in time for the fall semester, courtesy of Lake|Flato, Moore Ruble Yudel, and Colorado’s Anderson Mason Dale Architects. The Community Commons (Moore Ruble Yudel), Dimond Family Residential Village (Anderson Mason Dale Architects), and Burwell Career Center (Lake|Flato) are all part of the DU Impact 2025 strategic plan to modernize the campus.