Project team:

Client: City of Busan
Architects: Coop Himmelblau – Wolf D. Prix
Lighting design – concept: Har Hollands Lichtarchitect Eindhoven/NL
Lighting design – realisation: Humanlitech und Future Lighting Solutions
General contractor: Hanjin Heavy Industries

22. Oct 2013

From Florence to Busan
From the distant past to an already existing future

Text: Moritz Gieselmann
Photos : Coop Himmelb(l)au

When you see the “Busan Cinema Center” for the first time, it takes your breath away: the massive volumes appear to have become detached from any real foundations and are floating above the banks of the Nakdong River like a gigantic spaceship about to land, like a science fiction movie come true. Thanks to state-of-the-art lighting technology the cinema experience is no longer confined to a cosy little space with coke and popcorn, but can indeed become a colossal event.

With 3.6 million inhabitants, Busan is the second largest city in South Korea and is located on the southeastern-most tip of the Korean peninsula. It is home to a number of significant manufacturing plants and rated as the world’s fifth busiest seaport by cargo tonnage.
But the City of Busan is looking to develop a new image and landmark that is not linked to industry and trade, a centre of attraction in the form of a prestigious, even glamorous building. This developed into the idea of establishing a centre for the “Busan International Film Festival”, the most significant film festival in Asia. BIFF attracts over 200,000 visitors and stars from the international cinema industry every year. The project was therefore to be geared more towards the future than the history of the city and those who live and work there, as well as taking into account technological change. To understand what this means with regard to the future of cinema, it is worth taking some time to review the history of cinema architecture.

The “Busan Cinema Center” actually combines all types of cinema buildings and types under one roof. Cinemas, or movie theatres, were from the start not only places where films were shown but also centres for people to gather socially, and the films shown tended to correspond with the venues. The first films comprised short movies that were shown in marquees and booths at funfairs. The work of the pioneering American film director and producer D.W. Griffith introduced classic drama to the film world. The films became longer and the need for designated venues in which to show them became imperative. The first “movie palace” was the Strand Theatre in New York, which was opened in 1914, seated around 3000, and offered stage shows in addition to movies. Alongside these large cinemas in city centres that showed first viewings of films, a number of smaller, simpler movie theatres began to appear in the suburbs, showing films weeks or months after the premieres. […]
The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 90
And our PLD magazine app (iPad App Store) contains a media-enhanced version.

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