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.” 

Well, yeah.

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.  

This is all a shame because the project, due for completion in 2016, is crazy innovative — read more about it here — much like other projects from the sustainability-minded urban futurists at MVRDV (the mixed-use Rotterdam Market Hall is particularly dazzling). And in other renderings of the project, it's pretty hard to draw any kind of comparisons to the Twin Towers. It's also worth noting that "The Cloud" is part of Seoul's massive Yongsan Dreamhub project designed by none other than Daniel Libeskind, the lauded architect responsible for the original Ground Zero Master Plan. Additionally, several MVRDV buildings exist or are in the works in the U.S., including a home designed as part of Brad Pitt's Make it Right rebuilding efforts in the hurricane Katrina-ravaged Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.
After coming under fire and being tagged as "Al Qaeda lovers or worse," Rotterdam-based MVRDV issued a public apology stating:
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.
Despite the uproar, it appears that the project will move ahead as planned, unaltered. Let me know what you think about the outrage over "The Cloud" in the comments section. Do you think it's justified and that MVRDV is being rightfully vilified? Are you yourself offended by the design? Or are you surprised by all the negative attention that the project and the firm behind it has received over the past few days?

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Sustainable architecture firm issues apology for WTC-esque design
Dutch architecture firm MVRDV issues an apology after 'The Cloud,' a proposed eco-luxury development designed for South Korea's Yongsan Dreamhub complex, remind