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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Living Light

  • On October 19, 2009


Living Light by David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang (aka “The Living“) is a permanent outdoor pavilion in the heart of Seoul with a dynamic skin that glows and blinks in response to both data about air quality and public interest in the environment. The skin of the pavilion is a giant map of Seoul with the 27 neighborhood (gu) boundaries redrawn based on existing air quality sensors of the Korean Ministry of Environment–each shape in this new map encloses the air closest to one of the sensors. Then the map illuminates to become an interactive, environmental building facade. Citizens can enter the pavilion or view it from nearby streets and buildings, and they can text message the building and it will text them back.

Living Light (Seoul, 2009) from David Benjamin on Vimeo.

This structure in a public park not only provides a canopy and a tactile enclosure, it also suggests that a building facade itself can become a new kind of public space. It can offer important real-time information about our shared resources and our collective concerns. The Living are also showing their work at the current Toward the Sentient City exhibition in New York. See previous post for more details.


  1. This project is creative in that it uses environmental maps to formulate the physical structure, while infusing that structure with information. The ‘text message’ and ‘real time navigation’ however seem to indicate that the physical/virtual identities are not fully merged, but in fact remain apart. The building ‘skin’ seems to act very much like a computer screen, and its physical value cannot go far beyond such. The pavilion is designed as a autonomous object ‘on display.’ Perhaps if it was connected to a functional program it would be more impacting. Could changes in air quality translate into spatial deformations? Could virtual interaction (text messaging) have spatial implications?

    Regardless of these small critiques, the concept of representing environmental qualities via an architectonic structure is a challenge, and The Living have done a very creative job tackling the situation.

  2. Edilene

    It´s so beautifull, Congratulations for the architects or designers..

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