BCHO Architects is about twenty to thirty people firm. Founded in Seoul, Korea in 1994, the firm started as a design-build office with a focus on simple structures and strong regard for nature. The design team has been working very closely with contractors and multiple fabrication specialists in various disciplines; including stone masons, product designers, wood workers, potters, and engineers. The firm also has multiple professional collaborators throughout the world in North and South America. BCHO Architects believe that buildings, furniture and art are made, not created. Each architectural project, encompassing various scales and programs, explores the phenomenon of light and space, fabrication and construction methods, recycling and reusing, and a broad sense of sustainability (social/cultural/physical) which uses collective creative energy to reduce the demand for grid energy.
ByoungSoo Cho has taught at various universities including Universitat
Kaiserslautern, YonSei, HanYang, GyoungGi and Harvard University.
He has received KIA Award, Cri-Arc Award, AIA Honor Award, in Montana Chapter and in N.W.Pacific Regional. His recent works include Shaped Concrete Box House, Ramp building, and be.twixt. His firm has been selected an one of eleven Design Vanguard Firms by Architectural Record(Dec, 2004)
Licensed and Registered in the state of Montana, USA ; Illinois, USA
Member of American Institute of Architects, AIA
Member of National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, NCARB
Registered in Seoul, Korea (KIA)
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
1991 Master in Architecture (M ARCH II)
1991 Master of Architecture in Urban Design Award/ Activity
1990 Attended Harvard-ETH Student Exchange Program, Zürich, Switzerland
1990 Traveling Scholarship to Turkey, Federal Government of Switzerland
Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA
1986 Bachelor of Architecture Award
1986 Winner, New Sweden Student Urban Design International Competition
Arhus University, Denmark
Arhus University, Denmark
Chair Professor (Velux Professor)
University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Architecture, Hawaii, USA
Colombia University, New York
Design Studio, fall
Lectures-Harvard, University of Hawaii
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
Option Studio, Topic : Investigation in Materiality
Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, USA
Architecture Design and Theory, Seminar
Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea
Architecture Design and Theory, Seminar
Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea
Workshop, Co-Tutor with Shigeru Ban
Universitat Kaiserslautern, Germany
Studios: Low Income Housing in Etringen, Germany
High-Rise in Frankfurt, Germany
Lectures: High-Rise; Tradition and Future
Idea and Architecture in the Far East
Han Yang University, Seoul, Korea
2nd year Architectural Design Studio
I would like to talk about my works by looking at some of the things that I like and things
that I made and ask myself why I like it and how I made it. I have worked on many projects
in a short period of time so far and some of them have realized. I would like to say that the projects that are realized in the way I wanted them to be weren’t necessarily related to the amount of time I have put in. Among those, I am glad that the residences that are completed within last two years are on the list. I would like to talk about some of my sculpture works that would be helpful to understand my thoughts before I did these residential projects.
I have been interested in Lao-tzu’s Taoism. I like the very first line on the first chapter of the Taoism which goes like this, “Dao(Truth) can be talked about(theorized in any manner each person considers viable), though hardly of these theories will be eternally valid. I guess I like it the most because it fits my headlong personality the best.
Dao(Truth) can be talked about(theorized in any manner each person considers viable), though hardly of these theories will be eternally valid;
Names(Descriptions) can be ascribed [to Dao in any fashion each person deems workable], yet hardly of these names(descriptions) will last forever.
The beginning of the Universe(Heaven and Earth) [is beyond us, so in all honesty it] is indescribable;
[Nevertheless, ] whatever happened to be nameable(describable) by us is the mother(origin) of myriad(all and every) things and creatures.
I constantly refrain from my selfish(subjective) desires for the purpose of exploring its(Nature's) manifested(objective) wonder;
I also constantly maintain my will [to seek objective knowledge] in order to pursue its(Nature's) deep-seated enigma.
These two(Dao and De) were originated from the same source, but they were described with different names by us.
They are both depicted as profound [as each is extricated in its own right];
The profundity(complexity) intensifies as we fathom its mystery further and deeper;
Eventually, it will [lead us] to the gateway of all mysteries.
It might be because it is not too systematic and can be harsh (rough? Or coarse?? Wild??)
that I am into Taoism. Even in painting, I prefer chicken scratch looking sketches or even cartoon-like drawings to those by conventional and formal paintings. I am in the same way when it comes to looking at Chinas.
I like the blandness of a white porcelain than the elaborate work of a celadon. Even I hear laud pulse from the coarse work like dirt colored Ijojawang(Pottery, Yi dynasty)-about 2000 of them were made by one ceramist/day- by a potter.
“Skull” was the work I tried to put those ideas into. I felt the same kind of pulse with my brush strokes on tens and hundreds of pages. These were done on a poem book from 1921 by a unknown poet which I found at a corner of a used bookstore. These book were cheaper to buy than a sketch book with similar paper quality. I felt the time-pass from the autograph of the poet and the original book owner. The book was the site for me to express the skull with Indian ink. The studio residence, which used to be shady house when I purchased at a bargain and converted into my studio space, gives me a pity.
It was a pleasant thing for me to look at the traces from making little changes from each renovation. All the elements attached to the ground that keeps their own little stories in them. Some coarse but more natural surfaces here and there revealed after removing ugly and old finish materials makes me reminiscent the condition of every little detail of the house when I just moved in to the house.
I valued roughness of the traces and leave them as they are. The area between my work space, which used to be the heating room with coal, and the room that used to store coal briquettes into a outdoor solarium for bright sunny days. I made a little desk out of pine-wood that would fit into the solarium. The pine-wood desk surface will wear out as time goes by from the sun and rainfall. The original rough surface that didn’t have any planning done would have more humane feel to it later on. This table became one of my favorite things along with my table I made out of a railroad track as legs with a acrylic panel top. If the studio residence is the project that keeps the existing structure and the trace on the ground, The “ㄱ-shaped house” in Pyoungchangdong and “ㄱ-shaped house” in Ilsan are the works that respond more on the surrounding of the site and clients’ needs.
The first impression that I got from the client, was rigid, well-refined, and the same note directly to the design of the house which led me to try to find the comfort feel within restricted and refined simplicity. The circulation, which is centered by the “Madang(a Korean term for a outdoor open space)”, connecting from the entrance, corridor, bridge to the stairs becomes a very important elements that allows the residents to make a relaxed and comfortable living.
What interests me most in my architecture is how the user can participate in it and live within it. In other words, how it will be experienced and how it will change and be perceived with the passage of time, rather than how to decorate and how to make it look nice. Moreover, I regard such experiences of using architecture as a phenomenon that has an organic relationship with memories and emotions from the past, as possessed by people, and expectations for what will take place in the future in a specific time. It thus continuously evolves in a novel manner, rather than being something subjective that changes according to different situations and people. The process that creates and presents this phenomenon is the architecture I seek to realize. Thus, I place more value on its relationship with history, culture, and social reality, in broad terms, and on programs of the project, users, and realistic problems of surrounding conditions, in narrow terms. As I stated earlier, my goal is the completeness of the building itself. Consequently, I do not hesitate to introduce with boldness what is normally considered non-beautiful, in order to induce stronger relationships.
A series of urban renewal projects, including projects in the cities of Lugano, Boston, and Montreal, are relatively large-scale projects that attempted to present memories of the cities, of the places, and a direction for the future. However, the origin of the concept of each project was extracted from very small, delicate, and common things. This is presented in individual building projects in the later phases. Also, elements that are like seeds of the extracted concepts are projects that consider old buildings, whether they are big or small, or physical prototypes of the site as a starting point for architectural projects. The employed architectural methodology intends for the importance of the place, the era, and the aesthetics of the prototype to be perceived more strongly through minimum modifications. More specifically, while a physical prototype of the site is maintained, it is intended to offer a taste of the old prototypes as they were, and to make available the experience of a time quality offered by something new within the framework of the old prototype.
Such relationships should be something in which the objects, humans, as well as the qualities of time and place, are organically entwined, like a single creature, breathing and alive. Moreover, they should not be understood as independent entities, but should be understood within their contingent relationships, namely how the user can participate in it and live within it.
City Development Memorial Hall, Piazza della Riforma, Lugano
The medieval city of Lugano, which is part of Switzerland, yet is under the influence of Italian culture, has a lake dividing the two countries. The city, formed by the building of villas belonging to wealthy Italian merchants, has hills in the background and has been formed in a charming manner, with alleys and piazzas. However, as it became an independent city, the city came under incessant invasions from the Italian side; at the center of fierce battles was the Piazza della Riforma. As a road was being built along the lake, which had evoked a romantic atmosphere up until the 19th Century, the boundary along the lake consisted of monotonous geometric lines. Neighboring buildings and piazzas along the lake that grew in close relationship with the lake had started to lose their relationship with the lake. He purpose of this project implemented by the Lugano City was to make citizens realize that the lake was an important asset of the city. As part of the project, the city planned to build a city development history museum in the Piazza della Riforma, which has rich history. Over the past half of the century, since the construction of the road, numerous architects had presented various proposals. However, most of them were about creating an orderly piazza by filling the vicinity of the currently disorderly piazza with ways to merely extend the city’s patterns. They were merely calling for selecting remedies, without any notable aspects in some sense.
What I propose in 1990 for the city was to closely review four elements existing on the site- namely, the old underground passage, the water fountain, the fortress that used to exist, and a theater building-and to modify and compliment what constituted problems, thereby developing the proposal to revive the urban and historical characteristics of the site. Yet, the long walls blocking the piazza were the only element that had not existed on the site and was introduced to recreate the tranquil atmosphere of the piazza of the past and make aforementioned four elements be perceived more strongly. More specifically, by visually blocking the piazza from the lake, I intended for people to strongly experience sunshine and the horizon seen when one emerges from the underground and proceeds toward the lake. I intended to make the experience of the lake more strongly seen through the walls created by reconstructing a theater building that had existed in the past.
This project uncovered the generation and history of the site and analyzed current problems of the site. At the design phase, I directly utilized the history of the site, future expectations, and existing structures in complementing the analyzed problems. I intended to transform the site into a new place, which could remind one of the memories and unique features of the city, by eliminating problem-causing aspects and regenerating existing elements with slight modifications, rather than transplanting completely new cells to heal an important, yet ailing part of the city. On the other hand, I expected that the project would present a future development direction for the city of Lugano.
Perfect Chaos, Boston
Large city renewal projects implemented from the 1960s through the 1970s were considered a tremendous urban monster in 1990, only 29 years later. The Boston government complex, covering 96 acres, was part of a project to eliminate poor villages around the former slaughterhouse. The structures, which were expected to become symbols of the latter part of 20th Century, fulfilled their respective physical functions to some degree, yet completely erased the originals, thereby ignoring the relationship with peoples experiences, perceptions, and memories of this old area of the city. The downtown features and humanity of Boston, one of the U.S cities with the most tradition, were obliterated. The State Health, Education, and Welfare services Center designed by Paul Rudolf has almost become a slum, being neglected as if it were a nightmare in the downtown area, although partially used. In particular, attempt to create public squares like Piazza del Campo Siena in Italy turned out to be an ideal however unsuited to the old context. My project was a work that focused on restoring lost elements of the city.
This project was about proposing an open-air theater and its auxiliary facilities, which would revitalize this part of the city by partially cutting off the massive concrete building if the empty State Service Center, which failed to be used properly, and recycling the existing structure in its entirety, This theater was a place designed for the theatrical performance “Perfect Chaos”. The drama proposed along with the building was to be a satire on the rigidity of contemporary American social structure. Like the play, which called for restoring humanity through order in chaos, rather than the rigidity of America’s social structure, this building was metaphorically sown as a seed to soften the hardened heart of Boston.
The heart of Boston, which had undergone something akin to “a large operation as if cutting off decayed cells” from the 1960s to the mid-1970s, was considered a hardened, cancerous thing, failing to provide adequate urban functionality in the 1990s. Our question at that time was how to heal this central part of Boston, which would enable
the heart of the city to achieve organic harmony with changing conditions for more than 20-30years. The sections cut-off were finished with transparent glass, revealing the severed, and filled again with steel structures or finished by other walls. However, it was planned that the structures would require an open design to facilitate recycling in the future and to efficiently respond to changing conditions of the city and change with the passage of time.
Old Port of Montreal
This project was about how to develop large-scale (spanning 3.5 km) wharfs, piers and their neglected vicinity along the scenic St, Laurence River in Montreal. Such projects, which are readily found in the United States and Canada, target industrial areas that had prospered when the sea and rivers were major transportation means. However, they had gradually started a decline with the rapid expansion of highways starting in the 1950s, and are currently almost empty and neglected. Most of these sites are located on rivers adjacent to the sea (e.g. Brooklyn Pier in New York), and thus add both a romantic atmosphere to a city where a river flows through, and rough characteristics of industrial areas, thus often making it difficult to set the direction of the projects.
I intended to transform the site into a place which features not only an industrial sort of beauty, another layer of beauty for the city, but also into a place where one can experience memories of the early days; this would be done by locating recycling facilities in industrial districts containing beautiful buildings built in the 17th and a 18th centuries, lined in the background. It would be a poetic beauty bolstered by industrial facilities and reminiscences about the once-prosperous maritime era, different from the visual beauty offered by romantic buildings of the 17th and 18th centuries seen in postcards. The proposal was an attempt at architecture in which massive concrete wharfs serve as basic framework of the site, as a means of reviving the dynamic industrial atmosphere of the past. The was for the central part of the gigantic pier50m wide, 10m high, and 100m long to be detached from the wharf and removed, and to be used as an exhibition space for a maritime museum. As a result, when one would walk through the space, one could view the new horizon formed by the wharf, cut off sections, and display of shabby boats that might have navigated the ocean against rough waves, evoking feeling of nostalgia and sadness in those who might reminisce about the prosperous maritime era of the past. For new generations who have no experience of the maritime era, the experience would be one of dynamism, a spirit of adventure, and fantasy of a maritime era seen through vistas of the massive river and the sky unfolding through every corner and hole of the cut-off wharf. However, reviving the traces of the wharf and renewing its memories to create something new seen through the past and present means never going back to the past.