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design competition / essay


Walmart Inc.

inspiration hostel 2018, opengap



Driving down the hill, I encountered a filed of asphalt spreading out filled with rows of vehicles.

As if put by someone up there, the vehicles were sitting within the white lines.

No trees, no shade, but only white lines on the grey asphalt.

I stepped out of the vehicle and right away walked towards the building, feeling the field was not for the feet.

The building was completely enclosed.

No windows, no clocks; time was trapped there. 

The building was completely filled.

Everything was repeating; blue carts, shelves, fridges, concrete floor modules, truss units on the ceiling. 

And everything was arranged in rows; aisle of clothing, aisle of grocery, aisle of seasonals, aisle of entertainment.

Unlike the asphalt field outside, it was too obvious where to move around and where not to. 

Like everything else, I started to move in rows.

Walking forward and backward, suddenly I got confused if I was moving or the surrounding was.

The aisle of shelves as a screen wall, the picture was moving forward and backward as I stepped forward and backward.

Without any purpose, I lost the sense of orientation in the maze of commodities.

All I can hang on was the aisle number with categories; aisle A2 Dessert, Ice Cream, Frozen Meals.


Taking Walmart Incorporation as an example of the least humane environment, artists' retreat was proposed with a skepticism of modernization. Since the 1920s in the United States, the modernization has been rapidly adopted with the change into industrialization, defined by the process of adapting something to modern needs or habits. As the industrialization gets along with the capitalism, spaces have started to be designed for something else but humans; to maximize usage of given square footage. Humans disappeared on the blueprints. Many commercial spaces were considered for the products, merchandises, and commodities. For the sake of efficiency, humongous space was taken into rows of the grid, as if drawn up there disregarding any physical sense on the ground. Turning the devastated environment into the one for the artists, the project launches with destructing the system of the grid.

Once the interior gets removed, the neutral grid space is manipulated by treating the columns as points of encountering. Each point of the column becomes an anchor for defining new territory with “internal” and “external” tangents. Introduced inscribed and circumscribed geometries encounter the existing grid, and debate whether to fight against or surrender. While the two volumetrics conflict each other, one from the grid and the other from tangents, a hybrid monstrous complex demonstrates a contradiction between the existing environment of efficiency and the proposed one of creativity; between what has been forced and what has been offered. 

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