Late last week, Dutch architecture firm MVRDV unveiled renderings of a proposed green luxury apartment complex in Seoul, South Korea, dubbed “The Cloud” that consists of twin high-rise towers joined at their 27th floors by a pixilated, cloud-like structure housing "a large connecting atrium, a wellness center, conference center, fitness studio, various pools, restaurants and cafes" that TIME describes as “billowing out like a tutu around two legs.”
As you may have heard, more than a few people didn't initially see tutus or legs but the Twin Towers, on fire and on the verge of collapse during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York City. The (unintentional) resemblance is uncomfortable, uncanny — and has left many people, particularly those who survived the attacks or lost loved ones on 9/11 — appalled.
Yesterday, Inhabitat posted multiple times about the “The Cloud” and the controversy surrounding it with Bridgette Meinhold writing: “Unfortunately the media has been focusing not on the towers' eco amenities but rather on their eerie resemblance to the former World Trade Center in NYC.”
When I caught a first glimpse of the inflammatory project before the proverbial poop hit the fan, I immediately thought of the WTC. Of course I didn't want to think that but I did ... place two long, slender towers side by side with something protruding from their mid-sections and the comparison is sadly inevitable — even if the designers had absolutely no intention of evoking such a thing. I sent along an image of the project to a friend asking “what do you see?” and it was his initial reaction as well. And this seems to be a primarily American reaction as MVRDV reports that when the renderings were released in South Korea, they were met with dropping jaws of the positive variety.
MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evokes regarding 9/11, it was not our intention.
The Cloud was designed based on parameters such as sunlight, outside spaces, living quality for inhabitants and the city. It is one of many projects in which MVRDV experiments with a raised city level to reinvent the often solitary typology of the skyscraper. It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, the design was not meant to provoke this.