14. Korean Pavilion – The FAR Game: Constraints Sparking Creativity
Commissioner: Arts Council Korea. Curators/Exhibitors: Sung Hong KIM, Eungee CINN, Keehyun AHN, Seungbum KIM, Isak CHUNG, Daeun JEONG.
“The FAR Game is a kind of self-portrait of Korea. Rooted in our past, it will continue to exert itself on the development of architecture in Korea well into the future. A far game, indeed.”
In Korea, most clients and landowners are paying for the invisible quantity of the building, not the visible quality of the architecture. Buildings themselves are often not valued in the real estate market. The average lifespan of a building is shorter than that of a human being. If a new building can provide an increase in FAR, then demolition and reconstruction are sought. It is not uncommon to see celebratory banners when a building fails its structural stability test, because it means the demolition will be approved.
On seeing that Alejandro Aravena proposed the theme “Reporting from the Front” for this year’s Venice Biennale. The fact is that 99% of Korean architects must play the game in order to survive. An architect rarely gets a commission unless they can convince clients that their design proposal has larger rentable floor areas than their competitor’s.
The FAR Game Exhibit at the Korean Pavilion is designed to track changes in the game after the global economic crisis of 2008, and highlight the best examples of creative responses to the demands of FAR. Aravena explains the curatorial tactics as a “team of six curators that have analyzed the data and have worked to enroll participants and select materials that will illustrate not only the harsh realities facing Korean architecture and cities, but also the ways that our industry is making small changes for a better life”