THE PARADOX OF MASS
Buildings surround and dictate our daily existence, without buildings humans cannot function. The fundamental difference between buildings and architecture is the notion of concept. Architecture is a conceptual act, the manifestation of an intellectual thinking process transformed into a physical reality – a space. Buildings, on the other hand, simply constitute the mass that forms the city, functional envelopes made for humans to operate inside. Buildings are relentless, tiresome and don’t allow you to escape.
Mimesis is pure unadulterated escapism, a moment where you can detach yourself from the cacophony of the metropolis; in this case Seoul’s frenetic and at times hallucinogenic pace. Like when reading a new novel, you slowly start identifying the characters of the book with your personal surroundings then quietly the story mutates into the strangest hybrid narrative, Mimesis is a building that superimposes different concepts upon the visitor. The initial oppressive mass of the building, on turning a corner, becomes a void; the solidity of the outside merges into an aquatic emptiness on entering the front door; the materiality of the outside concrete becomes an immaterial field of white and the list is endless…
Rather than a building Mimesis is a paradox, an architecture of where every element of the building is presented and immediately contradicted. A labyrinthine system of interstitial spaces that leaves you pondering how they were created: did Siza imagine of the interiors first or were the interiors product of the volume? There is no answer; the intentions of the architect become surmounted by the architecture. To conclude it appears that Siza in designing the Mimesis (the Greek word for reproduction) building has created an architecture that is impossible to reproduce.
Article published in "Mimesis art and Museum"
Mimesis Edition 2013