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The Utilitarian Mountain

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Site: Seoul Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism 2021


City/State: Seoul

Country: South Korea

Year: 2021 (FINALIST)

The Utilitarian Mountain is based on the research Dalia Munenzon, design partner of the project, developed at MIT. The exhibition consists in a cylindrical 7m tall translucent fabric tower which is a metaphorical representation of Gibraltar mountain and a tool for displaying the content of the proposal for Building the Resilient City, The Utilitarian Mountain. Visitors can enter and pass through the tower structure where on two 180mx150m aluminum composite printed panels they will be able to see two opposite narratives: a utopian transformation of a resilient Gibraltar and a dystopian metamorphosis of an overly abused environment. The open passage through the tower signifies that the two narratives can be read in any order. Also, the utopian-dystopian drawings facing each other will encourage visitors to question the dramatic changes that opposite human practices can have on the natural and built environment.

The tower where the narratives are exhibited is a metaphorical representation of Gibraltar’s mountain and its interior composed by natural and artificial caves and tunnels. Indeed, the tower is carved with a series of biomorphic shapes that simulate the mountain’s porosity. Those forms and the outer skin of the cylindrical tower are realized with a white translucent lycra stretchable fabric which makes the whole structure (and its internal carved forms) completely visible from outside. The fabric will be held by a custom-made aluminum pipe structure that acts as the main skeleton of the construction. Not only the transparency of the tower structure refers to the aim of the proposal of revealing the inner and hidden nature of Gibraltar’ mountain and its unique character. But the architectural lightness of the structure is also a visual representation of the fragile equilibrium and the ephemeral landscape of Gibraltar’s Utilitarian Mountain.

Team: Dalia Munenzon

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Drawing of Francesca Liuni

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