Awkward new building in Seoul looks a lot like the twin towers on September 11, 2001

Does this look familiar to you? It looks familiar to me, too. And the association is not a good one.

This building was drafted by the Dutch firm MVRDV, and is slated for completion in 2015.

I definitely think art and architecture should be progressive and thought-provoking, but these buildings still struck me as “wrong” in a 850-foot-high-fashion-faux-pas kind of way.

Take, as a parallel example, early Americana artwork. For instance:

Early Americana art pieces are considered valuable collectibles (mostly in the South) and were highly sought-after when they were first produced.

Should this art exist? I guess, since it’s “part of American history” and represents an important (again, largely Southern) spirit of the times. Should the artists have been more sensitive? Probably, but they weren’t. Would I display this art in my home or make a racist caricature of a black man into an apartment building? No. A thousand times, no.

Part of me suspects the Dutch firm that designed this 9-11-reminiscent building was not innocently ignorant of the evocative design they proposed and that they were trying to garner attention for their design company. But if this was meant as a serious proposal, they underestimated Koreans.

Many Koreans value the US as a dear ally and know 9-11 is a sensitive landmark in our history. They would likely be humiliated if a creepy memorial of this attack were erected in the heart of Seoul.

View this and other images of the drafted building on


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Filed under Art, Ethics

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