Condensation pavilion

Demilitarized Zone, Korea 2017

Condensation pavilion is made of its own environment: the wind, the fog, and the forest come together to create a tranquil space. The pavilion engages directly with the cycles of the surroundings, collecting the fog that occurs naturally on site and condensing it into a spiralling stream that flows into the passing river, crosses the DMZ, and disappears into the sea.

Condensation pavilion is part of the larger project Dreaming of Earth, initiated by artist Choi Jae-Eun, which aspires to use architecture and design to bridge the divide between North and South Korea, making peace. The project envisions a series of open-air 'Jung Ja' meditation pavilions built of and in the DMZ and connected by a pedestrian bridge elevated above the thousands of landmines below. Condensation pavilion is one such space and forms a part of the larger collaborative project, with international architects such as Shigeru Ban and Studio Mumbai.

Made from entwined strands of bamboo, each ring of Condensation pavilion frames a shimmering sheet of fabric mesh designed to capture moisture from the fog. The water droplets that form on the mesh are then channelled into a small stream that flows from the centre of the pavilion, coiling outward until it reaches the Imjin River, which divides North and South Korea. The weather directly triggers this process of fog harvesting, with no need for human involvement.

Central to the pavilion's design is the act of walking. The structure is not conceived to be a single, static point along the path, but rather to follow the shifting perspectives of a journey through the landscape. As visitors move along the bridge, the pavilion materialises and evolves. Approaching from either direction, people reach a point where the seemingly scattered distribution of rings suddenly coheres into a symmetrical pattern – a vision of harmony shared by visitors from the south and the north.

Client: Jae-Eun Choi
Project: Dreaming of Earth
Location: Demilitarized Zone, Korea
Date: 2017