Apr 22, 2009
Shape-shifting Transformer makes debut at ancient palace
Apr 22, 2009
SEOUL, April 22, 2009 (AFP) - It looks like a giant tent pitched by aliens who landed overnight in the yard of one of Seoul's ancient royal palaces.
Artist's impression of the Prada Transformer Cinema (www.prada-transformer.com)
Welcome to the Prada Transformer -- billed as the world's first shape-shifting building -- which can be lifted and rotated into different configurations to house art, film, fashion and other events.
"It's a kind of statement that architecture doesn't always have to be heavy... stable and repetitive," Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas told journalists at a preview Wednesday.
The structure, funded by the Prada Group, has four different shapes -- a hexagon, cross, rectangle and circle.
Construction cranes will lift and rotate the structure into different facades and floor plate configurations to create a new venue for each cultural event.
"When you rotate this building, its floor becomes walls and walls become the floor," said Alexander Reichert, senior architect of the Dutch-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture.
Situated next to the 16th century Gyeonghui Palace in the busy South Korean capital, the Transformer is also a visible symbol of the contrast between modernity and tradition, he said.
Koolhaas said architecture must accommodate many different activities. "That is the essence of architecture," he said.
"Waist Down - Skirts by Miuccia Prada" will make its Korean debut on April 25 at the Transformer, showcasing a collection of skirts by the Italian fashion powerhouse.
The exhibition space will be transformed into a cinema in June.
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