Imagination Cubed

Imagination Cubed

FRP offers the designer two seemingly opposite benefits.  On the one hand, it provides an economical way to create one-off shapes that only existed previously inside a computer design file.  On the other hand, it offers an economical way to make repeated shapes with high precision.


Cubrick, a pavilion/sculpture made of FRP exhibited at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (NMOCA) near Seoul, South Korea in 2012, takes advantage of both, to a degree.  The structure, the work of architect Chanjoong Kim, was part of the exhibition Art Folly 2012.  A work that straddles the realms of art and architecture, it is a 4m x 4m x 4m cube composed of 42 copies of a single block.  The block is a cube that has been scooped out and perforated so that each of its six surfaces is different.  By rotating the orientation of the blocks and stacking them, a kind of fun-house masonry is achieved, with sculpted walls and unexpected views.


The prominence of FRP in the creation of temporary pavilions, generally, is probably attributable to the same property of being able to execute a unique shape accurately and economically, as well as the material’s excellent strength-to-weight ratio.  The temporary pavilion is a form that invites experimentation and exaggeration, both activities with which FRP is highly compatible.  Once the lightweight FRP elements are cast and finished, they can be shipped relatively easily, and assembled without very heavy equipment.


(The irony of using FRP for a short-life-expectancy pavilion is that some FRP structures are turning out to be quite durable.  Modern FRP only dates back to the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, so its true longevity is still being discovered. Two resurrected FRP structures, from the 1970’s and early 1980’s, were recently profiled here.  In both cases, large, thin FRP shells were left essentially abandoned to the elements for decades, and were found to be substantially undamaged and easily restorable.)




The work was created by stacking 42 cubes made of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP). The architect made only one type of 3D-cube, which has six different kinds of surfaces. By rotating & stacking 42 3D-cubes, the architect finally generated 4mx4mx4m giant cube with dynamic facial expression. Each tapered open window of 3D-cube captures various scenic views of the surrounding area in a unique manner.


The floor of the art work is made of LED, and various patterns and information about exhibitions and cultural events at NMOCA are projected onto the floor, providing dynamic images in real time to spectators who are standing on the floor or looking down through the gaps between the windows.


Architect Chanjoong Kim (currently serving as a professor in the Department of Architecture at Kyeonghee University) also runs ‘The_System Lab’ to achieve the specialization of production and design systems related to space, ranging from small-sized housing to large-scale urban environmental projects. “Cubrick” was created in the process of exploring new materials and fabrication methods for the contemporary industry, and will provide a special space that crosses over the boundaries between architecture, art, and industry.


Curator of NMOCA, Dahyoung Chung who planned this project, said, “These outdoor installations will provide a unique spatial experience to the general public for a certain period of time,” adding, “”Art Folly” will capture people’s mind and eyes as an open venue and a new window to art.”


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