The Void is surely a strange choice of name for this community centre in Sinan-gun, Jeollanam-do, South Korea. Designed by Hyunjoon Yoo Architects, this is their first project built on an island, where majority of the population is elderly.
The Void consists of a restaurant and a public bathhouse, due to rising demand of proper bathing facilities that local housing lacks. This new public space acts as a main gathering place for the islanders, where main activities happen around an open courtyard that leads in natural skylights. The Void’s façades have little to no openings; while the beautiful landscapes are spectacular, they remind the users of the work needed to be done, completely negating the relaxing experience that the designers wanted to convey. Therefore, the architects shifted views inward, toward a centralised pond that is surrounded by concrete flooring and white plaster walls (thus The Void became the project’s name). Complemented by unique partitions made of gridded concrete blocks, the minimal appearance gains a new geometrical depth.
Placed on a red-dirt hill, The Void stands out and acts as a new landmark for the local community. Its public purpose and complexity, covered up by a simple and effective exterior, has introduced a new level of life quality for the islanders. It heightens the importance of a basic luxury that the inhabitants, and even outsiders like me, can now truly appreciate.
Photography by Park Young-Chae.