23 No. 8
publication of the International Sculpture Center
Sung Ho Kim
William & Florence Schmidt Art Center,
Southwestern Illinois College
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Ho Kim, The Slavery Memorial.
Sung Ho Kim recently exhibited 10 models that explore alternative design
strategies relevant to sculpture. His unique forms based on non-linear
thinking, intuition, and abstraction respond to cultural, spatial, technological,
and human needs. At 33, Kim is just starting his career. This digital
whiz kid develops his virtual building designs using complex modeling
and animation tools culled from the automotive, aerospace, and film industries.
Like Daniel Libeskind, Frank Gehry, and other leading architects, he has
Ove Arup & Partners engineer his complex projects. But, in contrast
to Gehrys monumentality, Kim uses scale to create intimacy between
the viewer and each structure.
Admotiv Headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, is a poetic and elastic grid-like
skyscraper of steel, concrete, and glass. Its slender 27 stories seem
to float in space above an urban footprint with green spaces and parking.
The undulating designs moving up the face of the building in fact indicate
structural elements. The engineered hyper-surface bends and warps at the
upper levels to hold, for example, water for a swimming pool. There is
also an indoor climbing walla big sport for Bangkok executives.
Because of the high water content of the site, the support system is structurally
flexible and specifically designed to interact with its geography. The
building is a new type of branding for Admotiv, an advertising agency,
and is estimated to cost about $85 million.
Slavery Memorial in Nantes, France, is notable for a design that integrates
public and private space. Its horizontal structure embodies the urban
condition and hovers at the waters edge, like a streamlined yacht
or the bow of a large ship designed to hold and release water. Images
from the history of slavery in the region are projected onto multiple
surfaces, so that the face of the building blurs and dissolves in relation
to the images on its skin.
Ho Kim, The Book House.
Book House, for a client with a beach site in Narragansett, Rhode Island,
has interior surfaces that fold, changing from wall to floor to terrace
and transforming into furniture like tables and shelves. The structural
skin holds this column-free building together. Its like a
Miesian space, but each section is freeform rather than static,
Kim noted. Our buildings challenge architectural practice. I have
nothing to lose. I ask myself and my students to redefine the world. If
we rely on practical reasons or operations only, we wouldnt need
Ho Kim is the Design Principal of Axi:Ome LLC, a design studio in St.
Louis that boasts a seven-person design team of young talent from top
institutions. He is also Assistant Professor of Digital Media & Design
at the School of Architecture, Washington University. Kim was educated
at the Art Students League of New York, the Rhode Island School of Design,
and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His cutting-edge concepts
derive, in part, from his education at the Architectural Association in
London, where Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas, and Nicholas Grimshaw also studied.
Kims models emphasize engineering and craftsmanship as part of their
process, yet also seem like sculpture scaled for human occupancy.
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