Previously, the various elements which compose a threshold were discussed. This section will analyze how the components of these thresholds are combined at various locations in the Arario Museum. This allows for the verification of the complex combinations crossing the classification system identified in Table 1
, and demonstrates how the combination method can either enhance or blur the threshold’s function. The main task of Section 4
is to analyze the situation and status in which the thresholds of multiple states are complexly distributed. Through this, it is possible to grasp the various ways in which Arario Museum’s unique value as a cultural property is related to its method of organizing internal and external spaces. In the Space Group Building (Arario Museum), there are no clearly defined elements of space; instead, Kim Swoo Geun tried to create subtlety by squashing boundaries [9
]. It also shows that the building is not isolated into a closed unit space; instead, it is connected to a continuous unit space [22
]. Through this, architectural vocabulary attempted in modern architecture of Korea in the 1970s will be analyzed.
That is, Section 4
aims to analyze how the individual elements of the thresholds listed in Section 3
are articulated and show a comprehensive effect, as shown in the study flow chart in Figure 2
. The way that the particular threshold situation in Arario Museum that this section is paying attention is articulated as follows. In the process of combining the strategic omission of some boundaries, disassembling into small pieces, and distribution of them, as well as induction of fluidity between the front and rear surfaces through the insertion of structures with intermediate characteristics, we will analyze these three types of situation. The method of aggregating thresholds makes the overall character of the Arario Museum special. For instance, when a building has interesting aspects that drive visitors’ discoveries, such as exotic detailing, spaces enclosed by partitions or screens, enticing eye-catching, and attractive passages to the view, the architecture closely examines and explores the surroundings to convey a message [11
]. In other words, when there is a small space hidden in the building space and we can explore and reveal its secrets, we become active seekers, not mere occupants of space [11
]. Thus, we examine the clues, intentions, and spatial messages scattered in various places in the Arario Museum according to the relevant categories.
4.1. Concealed Thresholds
Concealed Threshold is a state that intentionally omits a specific element or line to break the existing general spatial relationship. Through this, a tension that was not previously present with the erased boundary is generated, thereby creating a sharp visual tension. First, this tension creates the effect of integrating the surrounding spaces by making the boundary as thin as a membrane. Second, it stimulates the existing memories and perceptions to induce sensory interactions that renew the original boundary sense. These two phenomena will be analyzed in turn.
First, we look at the process of erasing the boundary that leads to the effect of integration. The omission and concealment of thresholds play a tremendous role in a space as a foster producing one large organic membrane. This is particularly true within Arario Museum, which eschews typical openings and continues spaces through different levels and mismatching walls. Concealed thresholds are not merely a phenomenon limited to the point in which spaces meet. This is because it affects the surrounding structure through the interaction of each. As shown in Figure 6
a, the typical window frame and mullion were omitted in the second floor lobby. This allows for the maximum permeation of light and forms a filmy boundary by removing the visual threshold line between existing elements. Suddenly, the separation between solid and void disappears, leaving only a vague boundary, like a lightweight membrane.
Effaced certain objects also stimulate the sense of boundaries, pervading vanishing process. The stairs in Arario Museum have a partially extended wall rather than typical stair banisters. The stair (Figure 6
c) in each floor without handrails strengthens the concept of visual integration between a main body and its additional parts by effacing the attached. Even the underneath brick material (Figure 6
d) also matches the surrounding walls to enhance the visible synthesis; the scene is created by visually integrating certain properties while mixing in the middle of differences—it creates selective common elements from various formative forms that inevitably appear in a given space. For example, in Figure 6
b, the materials at the bottom and the periphery of the stairs are unified in the context of numerous anomalies, protrusions, and recesses in the wall, or the combination of arch form and grid patterns. Through this, it creates a surprisingly balanced atmosphere of integration. This is a method of transforming the existing typical spatial relationship by ingeniously mixing the same as the difference. This is an example of a scene that is visually integrated by the same properties that are mixed in the difference maintained. This combination of similarity and difference is an example of what is meant by “the subtlety by squashing the boundaries [24
]”, which is Kim’s approach to establishing order for space in the midst of differences.
The second feature relates to a scene that provokes existing senses and memories to create a new sense of space. First, let us observe the process of integration of Figure 6
b, that is, the same effect in Figure 6
a,b illustrates the various effects of concealment using the wall as a medium. The walls within this museum sometimes act as bookshelves, photo frames, and shelves as itself. The photo in Figure 6
b eliminates the threshold between the walls and furniture while the walls and shelves are unified into an undivided volume. In fact, most of the walls inside the museum are niches created by bricks with varying intervals. Demarcation is eliminated by unifying the fixed structures such as the wall and media or the furniture and photo frames. The glass wall in the front (also Figure 6
b, same as Figure 7
a) enhances the sense of organic connection between the spaces by using these glass walls to create the division between levels, as the same process with in Figure 5
a. However, the white opening on the right side (Figure 7
b,c) displays another aspect. In the white opening on the right side, the brick section’s thickness is concealed by being covered in white. By erasing the thickness and textures, the embedded qualities are dematerialized; the massive external wall is forgotten and the permeation of light is maximized by the inherent brightness created by manipulating the awareness of the actual brick properties. This treatment pattern used by Kim in this area accesses various prior memories of the viewer to control the threshold’s thickness. The controlled strength of threshold creates a brand-new sensation.
The description in Section 4.1
applies to concealment on the threshold itself as a boundary line, not referring the erasure on the opposing elements composing the boundary. The process of concealed thresholds strengthens the difference among the various existing elements, exposing the diverseness. Kim’s methodology treating the diverse features connects to Section 4.2
, as a broader view expanded from the observation in Section 4.1
4.2. Segmentation and Juxtaposition
As a design strategy of Kim Swoo Geun, segmentation and juxtaposition refer to the attitude of treating diverse heterogeneous elements within Arario Museum. The title of segmentation and juxtaposition is a description of visual and morphological tendency. And it covers the scope from a small scale such as floor paving tiles to much bigger size such an entire single building itself (Figure 7
b) Partial differences are more proactively employed within the diversity of Kim’s space. And its purpose is to extinguish the hierarchy of space, through the emphasis on mixing. The treatment of combination and mixture of the Arario Museum is revealed in multiple scale situations. In this chapter, the processing method is classified into four situations and approached. The first is to deal with the difference [25
] in floor height or floor level of each room in a cross-sectional situation, and the second is to handle the difference in time that occurs between the group’s buildings. The third is the method of handling the properties when heterogeneous materials are connected, and the last four is the analysis of the overall atmosphere of the architecture, which frequently mixes sensational changes such as light and darkness [26
] from the perspective of “segmentation and juxtaposition”.
First, the difference on the floor height or level in the building provides multisensory impression. For instance, inside this building, there are 15 different intertwining floors with differing heights and levels [4
] that sometimes employ memories connected to relevant timelines through the adoption of specific objects. In the case of a studio office, depending on the number and types of users, it has a variety of heights, from a friendly height 2.3 m to a height 5.6 m that gives considerable openness. In addition, through the insertion of a large space (Figure 7
a) penetrating through these various layers, the change is visually exposed dramatically. This third-floor office (Figure 8
a) from the original Space Group Building is classified as two different spaces due to level separation and the adoption of stairs. In addition, one of these spaces is perceived as three heterogeneous spaces with differing densities. Sections with different ceiling heights coexist within one space; this is a clearly intended space structure. In order to match the ceiling heights on the old first building (Figure 8
b), the functionally unnecessary ceiling height was lowered to less than 1.5 m in order to create a service space [10
]. Kim eventually tied together heterogeneous elements without hiding or severing them, and made them coexist to form multi-layered threshold surfaces that display differences through juxtaposition. These intentions present Kim’s idea of considering space as a series of thresholds, avoiding simple connections and mere grid layouts.
The second case presents the architectural methodology how Kim delivered the message of time difference. Figure 8
b is an early building from the first period, which had a singular box volume. When the additional volume was attached to this old box-shaped mass, a narrow gap (Figure 8
c) was left as Kim’s way of exposing the cleavage of time. And the activeness of the disclosure is also evident in the way of experiencing this narrow gap. For example, on each floor, this gap is exposed as a visual aperture; it is made into an actual window (Figure 8
d) the exact width as the gap itself. On the third floor, the gap was also manipulated to be a short passage space (Figure 8
e) which penetrated through the two massive walls and indicated the time transition. This is a good example of Kim’s approach regarding differences in time. In other words, he consistently and actively exposes the gap of difference in small units, juxtaposing it with the surroundings. The small, segmented juxtaposition ultimately extinguishes the hierarchy and draws spatial homogeneity in a larger range. This is different from the previously discussed method, but it shares the same intention of trying to integrate space.
Another aspect of the strategy of segmentation and juxtaposition is the how to address the material differences in Arario Museum. The threshold status repeats the patterns of small pieces by the line of unevenness and protrusion. The application of segmentation into small pieces emphasize and expose the differences of the basic raw material itself by repeatedly displaying the boundary line. For example, ground paving including the structure of steps and small size division (Figure 9
a) displays fragmented layouts. The alteration on the layering pattern of bricks, the material transition from stones to bricks (Figure 9
b) presents repeated layers of threshold. The situation of the material, brick and concrete, dispersed in small pieces (Figure 9
c) is also a scene showing this phenomenon of repetition and juxtaposition.
Fourthly, from a phenomenological point of view, Arario Museum provides a multisensuous experience, juxtaposing the contrast [28
] on light and shade and delivering sound, memory, and movement. As Louis Kahn wrote, the plan of the building should be read as a harmony of spaces in the light. Even in the space where darkness is intended, it is necessary to admit enough light through some mysterious opening to tell the extent of darkness. Each space must be clearly defined according to the structure and the nature of natural light [26
]. The intended contrast, the combination of structures and openings offers an inevitable coexistence in multiple levels of light and darkness, rendering its particular mood as a whole. The photos in Figure 10
are underground spaces, and the basic mood is the intended darkness. As the space under the ground, the only means of attracting natural light is the opening from the upper area. Figure 10
a provides the brightness at the top, the gradually descending darkness, and the brightness beyond it, once again contrasting, thereby recognizing the darkness at the midpoint. The mechanism of Figure 10
b is the same. In a dark room with all four sides closed, the only natural light from the upper floor illuminates the partial brightness. Due to this partial brightness, the darkness that falls on the farthest background is reinforced with maximum of darkness. Figure 10
a,b are exactly the situation of the “mysterious opening” mentioned by Louis Kahn in that the shape or location of the opening providing natural light is not visible. It is an atmosphere of darkness that is dramatically emphasized due to the juxtaposition of partial brightness [29
] and darkness that is frequently repeated. Thus, Arario Museum is a series of spaces that actively juxtapose differences and contrasts. It may refer to either physical division by wall, level difference, strategic exposure through material alteration, or visual apertures as a design concept that indicates temporal transitions. Regardless of the category, the guiding principle is accommodating differences through segmentation and juxtaposition in order to extinguish hierarchy and pursue spatial homogeneity.
4.3. Flexibility and Fluidity
When there is more than one interpretation in a space, the space becomes multipurpose and alternately suggests other possibilities [11
]. When Kim used the word, “The Womb Space”, it was a metaphor for structural variability and flexibility [4
]. This concept applied to the Arario Museum is so dominant that it presents the multi possibilities accordingly. The variable nature of Arario Museum can be divided largely into structural flexibility and functional fluidity, as well as phenomenal changes following time and light. This museum contains various places where flexible structures provide adjustable settings. Regarding Korean architecture, Kim said, “There is relaxed place in the Korean architecture without any severance. The external and internal spaces are naturally integrated with the space of “Maroo”, as the median space. This space is very flexible. It can be turned into an internal space in the winter by closing the sliding doors hung at the top. It becomes more like an external space in the summer by opening the sliding door.” [9
]. Here, Kim showed interest in the flexibility of the devices in which different structures, internal and external, are switched between each other. Arario Museum also attempted a similar space transition and connection. First, when entering the entrance hall of the building (Figure 11
a), you will see the external space penetrated into the interior. The space is one of the most dominant place that characterize the architecture. That is, it is a semi-internal and semi-external space [31
] that mediates various spaces. Its function is very complex [15
]. Kim also intended to produce the semi-voids in the middle of solid volumes embodying the notion of the ambilaterality. Again, the west entrance hall (Figure 11
a) presents a simultaneous experience inside and outside, creating a sense of both openness and enclosure.
Another variable attribute can be discussed regarding functional adaptability. Kim discussed the variable use patterns, referring to the “Moonbang” space in the Space Group Building, the original designation of the architecture. He mentioned, “The Moonbang space was the third space. That is to say, it was a space of creation. If the main bedroom is the living zone, the Moonbang space is the space for authorship, art, and contemplation. This is leisure arising from time and space. This is the non-productive space, a space where things happen [30
].” The behavior and use pattern under the variable functions describes diverse pieces of memory in specific spaces. Furthermore, Figure 11
b, titled as “Space Sarang” by Kim, demonstrates the layout of functional fluidity moving in space through the use of overlapping patterns. Kim considered this Space Sarang in the basement as an empty blank zone for the happenings that he mentioned above. Flexibility and fluidity of both physical structures and temporal functions intensify the multilayering effects of visible and invisible senses of boundaries as a whole.
Another of Kim’s architectural devices for creating invisible thresholds is to defer time. Situation oriented transition on thresholds creates a variable perception of spatial cognition. The narrow width of the east stairs (Figure 12
) demands that individuals wait when the stairs are temporarily occupied by another person from the opposite side. Deferred behavior [33
] means the temporal delay that provokes the sense of passing by, in that it is a staircase designed with a special size, this space is recognized as a space for passages, a space for delay, and a space for entanglement depending on the situation.
In Section 4
, the concealment, juxtaposition, and flexibility are ultimately expanded to the architectural value, which is unique to Arario Museum. Concealment began with the observation of the threshold’s surface, and juxtaposition is the relational interpretation among the various elements of the threshold. After analyzing the dispersion and contacts, the status and phenomena of thresholds in the architecture were concluded to be flexible, which connects to the museum’s heritage value. This follows the principle Kim referred to of being “surrounded but never blocked;” this will become a new interpretation of his architectural methodology. The threshold within Arario Museum is so dominant that it is not merely a means for designing, but for space itself.