Sung Su Kim

Sung Su Kim

Los Angeles, CA, US


​Ensemble Adorné: Finite Boundary and Infinite Patterns

Sung-Su Kim, Yongjoon Kim, and Nathan Wesseldyk looked to pattern as a means of understanding and conveying how multiple complex systems can be overlaid to find moments of interaction. But that analysis of pattern resulted in more than just the decorative scheme that adorns their center. It also serves as the basis for an organizational logic: that the growth of a pattern in plan over time—both at an urban and building scale—can respond to the spatial needs of CERN while maintaining a sense of continuity through the campus.

Investigation | With some 16,000 scientists, CERN is one of the largest and most famous facilities of its kind in the world, but until now it has not been noted for its architecture, let alone for being open to visitors from outside the academic world. But plans for a significant expansion in the campus size—including a new, 100-kilometer particle accelerator—and increased public attention after the discovery of the Higgs boson make well-designed reception facilities for tourists a must.

CERN already had a relationship with the University of Michigan and one of its associate professors, Matias del Campo: He had been an artist in residence in 2016, and after his tenure there was complete, the center asked him to devise a studio to develop ideas for the proposed expansion.

Such a project was perfect for architecture students, says del Campo, who ran the studio with assistant professor Sandra Manninger. Not only did the center offer a wide mandate for the design, but the nature of its research gave students a lot to chew on. “Architectural issues connect to issues in physics, because both disciplines are trying to understand space and matter,” del Campo says.

The professors and CERN encouraged the students to design the visitor center to be more than just an exhibit space and a gift shop. In one example, the students behind the Wanderweg project devised a network of trails that drew visitors far beyond the campus itself and into the mountains around it, below which run, invisible from the surface, the current and future particle colliders. All three of the submitted projects have an intricately patterned quality to them—the result of the studio’s focus on reflecting the sophisticated, mathematical nature of the campus and its uses.

The site visits proved crucial, and led to projects that spoke to a deep understanding of the needs and ideas underlying the CERN effort—“not the kind of things you see in student work,” said juror Eric Owen Moss, FAIA.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Geneva Switzerland
Additional Credits: TEAM: Sung-Su Kim, Yongjoon Kim, and Nathan Wesseldyk

University of Michigan