A spectacular cage-like structure made from strips of mirror metal and red plastic encases an office building in central Seoul. Known as the Red Mirror Building, this striking work was designed by Wise Architecture for the Gangnam district of Seoul.
Slender bands of mirror, glass, steel and translucent red polycarbonate plastic form a grid that fully encloses the two glazed levels of the building and rises through the ground floor to the building’s roof garden.
These strips are arranged in alternating horizontal and vertical sections to create a lattice, giving the building a cage-like appearance.
Inside, a narrow staircase with transparent risers is sandwiched between two wafers of lattice, linking the ground floor with the roof terrace. In the words of the architects, the interplay of transparency and reflection and the layered strips of different materials create a powerful visual illusion.
The long strips of grey metal and red polycarbonate are designed to quiver when the staircase is used. In combination with the multi-toned colouring and pattern, the aim is to disorientate visitors. Ascending the narrow staircase between the wafers, visitors may feel dizzy, explain the architects, not only because of the optical repetition but also because of the quivering of the strips.
The lattice extends above roof level to form stripy translucent balustrades for the roof terrace.
At basement level, the lines and patterns of the lattice are reflected in distorted form on the surface of a pond.
In a narrow well that runs along one side of the building, large, randomly-disposed boulders are bedded in moss to form a kind of rock garden that’s visible through the glazed walls.
The project was recently featured in the exhibition ‘Out of the Ordinary: Award-winning Works by Young Korean Architects’, organized by London Metropolitan University’s Cass.