Georgia Tech at the Venice Biennale

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Professor Sung Hong Kim, a doctoral alumnus, along with Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects showcase their talented work at the Venice Biennale 2016 exhibitions.

Professor Sung Hong Kim, a doctoral program alumnus, curated an exciting exhibition at the Korean Pavilion of the 2016 Venice Biennale.

The Korean Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale focusses on the creative ways in which Korean architects respond to the accelerated growth of urban density in Korean cities. The exhibition “The FAR Game – Constraints Sparking Creativity” represents an exciting response to the general theme established by Venice Biennale curator Alejandro Aravena: “Reporting from the Front”. Aravena calls architects to reflect on the way in which they respond to pressing contemporary issues such as urbanization, climate change and social or ecological sustainability. The Korean Pavilion exhibition is curated by Sung Hong Kim, a professor of architecture and urbanism at the University of Seoul, and an alumnus of our doctoral program (1995). Kim and his team show that while responding to economic, real estate and demographic pressures within the constraints of zoning regulations, Korean architects have been able to create a new sense of spaciousness that not only enriches experience and comfort but also takes advantage of and responds to emergent forms of urbanism. While the “FAR (Floor Area Ratio) Game” is played according to external rules, it results in a sense of intrinsic cultural richness and in a great diversity of forms and of interpretations of program. At the core of the exhibition are 36 models of recent mid-sized buildings juxtaposed to 36 models of the theoretical solid dictated by zoning for the particular plots. Consistent diagrams are used to explain how architects have departed from the prescribed volume in subtle ways to benefit those using the buildings and to add value to the designs.  The exhibition catalogue includes essays by two Georgia Tech professors. Marc Simmons, Thomas W. Ventulett III distinguished Chair of Architectural Design, contributes the paper “Simple Math: Envelop Economics and the FAR Game”. John Peponis, working with doctoral students Chen Feng and James Park contributes the paper “The City as an Interface of Scales: Gangnam Urbanism”. At Professor Kim’s invitation, Professor Peponis also acts as the counselor for the overall endeavor. The Venice Biennale is open to the public from May 28 to November 27, 2016.


Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects showcased project site Mexicantown: A Liminal Blur at The Architectural Imagination exhibition in Venice Biennale 2016.

"The project is no les or more a building than a Mexicantown is or is not a place. It is an attempt to embody the poetics of Mexicantown through the discipline of architecture. For the architects, these poetics flourish within a humanely motivated social contract that recognizes the value of civility across the distinctions of diversity and in the face of limited resources.

Mexicantown is defined by its thresholds: physical, cultural, and spiritual. Rather than make a building, the architects propose a program that supports all of Mexicantown's constituencies. The program is a collection of centers and opportunities open to appropriation and change. The essential elements include spaces for existing and future community organizations, open plazas of various sizes and configurations, a tower to give residents a privileged view to the far horizon, and a grotto below grade - an escape from reality. Other elements are to be determined by the community." - The U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale - 


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Tia Jewell
  • Created: 09/20/2016
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 05/26/2022


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