Mark #31 —
As befits a quality architecture publication, Mark has a particularly structured way of laying out its offer of short punchy items on the latest developments in international architecture, longer feature articles and a section that focuses on the essence of individual practitioners and practices.
With regard to this last category, issue 31 includes a fascinating feature on the Köbberling/Kaltwasser, the Berlin-based practice that approaches everything from temporary theatres to shops with a mania for recycled materials very much informed by environmentalism. Part of what makes the work of the duo so interesting is that it has a fairly low-tech approach; one part Mad Max post-apocalyptic foraging, one part the scheissegal Berlin aesthetic of make-do-and-mend. If only all supermarkets could take on the form of their shambolic structure colonising a parking lot.
Consumerism is also the theme of another of the issue’s many notable articles. Thomas Wortmann’s article on Ben van Berkel’s realisation of the new UNStudio department store in Cheonan, South Korea, however, reveals an architect who is less interested in an architecture that herds people into a shopping frenzy and more preoccupied with abstract principles like reclaiming public space within an increasingly privatised environment. Van Berkel’s Guggenheim-like arrangement of void space falling through all storeys into a central atrium is most certainly an unexpected oasis compared with the elegant but fundamentally opaque exterior.
And British readers in particular will be pleased to see that Gant Gibson’s somewhat unlikely ‘Letter from Weston-Super-Mare’ achieves an appropriate level of poetics necessary when considering UK seaside resorts that have seen better days.