Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Presentation at Kyung Hee University

This is view from 24th floor of my hotel.
Today was a beautiful sunny day in Seoul, although cool and windy. I decided to take a quick walk after breakfast, rather than review my presentation for this afternoon one more time. I wanted to take some photos that I couldn’t take yesterday because it was so dark and dreary. The area around the hotel is very modern, as is most of Seoul, and I wanted to capture this. Next to my hotel, the Grand Intercontinental, is CoEx the largest convention centre in Korea. At the other end of CoEx is another Intercontinental Hotel. There are other major buildings adjacent including the World Trade Centre.  Following are a few photos that illustrate the character of the area, including some bold architecture and some that seems somewhat ‘over the top.’ There is also an amazing display of flowers in front of the CoEx complex that my camera just couldn’t resist.

At 11:30 I was picked up by Jae Choi, who is QA and Program Coordinator for Canada Wood Korea. We headed out to the Kyung Hee University campus in Gyeonggi-Do, about 40 km south of Seoul. We joined Professors Kwansoo Kim (PhD, Harvard) and Ilhyum Kim (PhD, Venice) for a traditional Korean lunch which included miso soup and breaded whole fish (mackerel). Coincidentally the restaurant was located in a building that I thought was part of the University because of its institutional appearance, but turned out to be a luxury seniors facility built by Samsung. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to tour the facility, I did learn that its amenities include a swimming pool and gymnasium. It advertises itself as a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) and appears to be a life lease project with refundable deposits of US$360,000 to US$450,000 required. Monthly fees are $2,300/month which includes 3 meals/day, healthcare, etc. (see http://www.samsungnc.com/). Two 20 storey towers include 540 Independent Living suites and 72 Assisted Living suites. There is also a 120 bed Nursing Home and a Doctors’ Clinic. The grounds are beautifully developed.

After lunch we returned to the University where I presented 'The Design of Multi-Unit Wood Frame Seniors Housing' to the architecture students. The technical nature of my presentation was a challenge for them and I sensed it. Fortunately, I had anticipated this and had arranged for a copy of 2010-2011 Wood Design Awards, prepared by Marianne Berube, Exec. Dir., Ontario WoodWorks, which I then showed them. The design quality of these winning projects was something they were able to relate to. After my presentation, Professor Kim presented me with an honorarium, which I donated, in the name of ft3, to Canada Wood Korea, to be used as prize money for the next wood design competition to be held for the architecture students. It seems Professor Kwansoo Kim has become an advocate of wood buildings.

-Rudy P. Friesen

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