UNStudio dresses up IPark towers to the nines

IPARK towers by UNStudio. Photos Edmon Leong, Rohspace and Hyundai

DAEGU – Lined up along the likes of the Muralla Roja of over-instagrammed architecture, colour just got a little bolder and bigger with UNStudio’s intervention on the IPark Blocks in South Korea. Tapping into the lyrical nature of polychromy, the architects create a textured and articulated pattern along the facades of two mega-blocks.

The two mega-blocks consist of over 25 apartment towers of 24 to 30 storeys. Block 1 has 1296 units with two main courtyards, while Block 2 houses nearly the double with an extra courtyard. The two new developments house a whopping total of 3430 units.

Rapid urbanisation of the country brought about a sea – correction, an ocean – of drab and ageing tower blocks. Like the other Asian Tiger nations, the South Korean urban sprawl is defined by the copy-pasted apartment blocks, forming a continuous and monotonous grid over the last decades to sustain the growing cities.

Colour makes a big come-back into our visual feeds as a communication tool to better understand and appreciate the urban context and its possibilities for mass wellbeing.

‘Contrary to popular belief, many of the luxuries commonly associated with high end residential developments are no longer limited to the affluent alone,’ explain the architects. ‘Today’s residents want convenient shared amenities which encourage a sense of community and promote physical and psychological wellbeing.’

Alongside the design of the facades, the architects conceptualised and produced the lobbies and courtyards. Landscaping and public ammenities are used to create a hierarchy in the greenery and entice people to get out of their now colourful and unique apartment.

Allocating different health and wellbeing circuits within the mega-blocks, UNStudio fits in community centres, libraries, pools, and fitness centres. Each main courtyard focuses on a different touch on health: from nutrition to physical exercise, as well as recognising the importance of mental health.

Distinct identities are given to the apartment facades of the two IPARK developments, enabling dialogues between the two by ‘colour zoning’ them. Impressionism and textile design – Daegu is considered to be the ‘Textile City’ of South Korea - inspired the patterns and were then blown up to the proportions of dozens of towers.

In Block 1, layers unique to each opening are overlaid at the height of the guardrails. Once zoomed out it forms a series of horizontal bands of a multitude of shades offset from the face of the wall. Block 2 sports a diagonal pixelated colour scheme filling all the space between each window, the overall pattern ranging from vibrant blues to emerald greens and pale yellows. In both blocks, warmer tones are chosen for the courtyard facing walls.

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