Borders hold tremendous meaning, however, at times they are just lines. Throughout the Korea’s history, the definition of territory has remained a fundamental determinant of power. North Korea and South Korea have fought many years and have created the DMZ: The Demilitarized Zone. The DMZ is no ordinary border as it is 4 kilometres wide and is one of the most heavily militarized and fortified borders in the world. It represents the nature of one of the most high-tensioned, ongo-ing, conflicts. During the Korean War, the Air Ministry issued a two-man naval fighter aircraft called the Fairey Firefly, in which changed the tides of the Korean War. The Fairey Firefly has created an immense historical, political, and cultural implications with a border – A center of conflict. The firefly was used to create tension between two nations; however, is now being used to create a sense of unity between nations and gender through the unification of light within a bath house.
A bath house in the Korean culture, is called a Jjimjil-bang; meaning steam room. The bath house in Korea is well known for its bonding experience. The locals gather to unwind, hang out and engage in a whole host of health and beauty rituals that break boundaries of a quick bath.
The facade was inspired by the structure of traditional Joseon architecture and mimics the light production strategies of a firefly, infused with high technologies. The firefly’s lantern is com-posed of three layers: a luminous layer, a nanostructured cuticle, and a dorsal layer. The cuticle would control the bioluminescent light emitted from the luminous layer, and light reflects internally, later leaving the precise patterns of the nanostructure producing light efficiently. The luminous lay-er in this facade is replaced by natural sunlight rather than bioluminescent light. The dorsal layer is represented as reflective pillars; similar to that of a traditional Joseon roof structure. Sunlight enters the luminous layer, reflected internally, energy is absorbed by transparent solar panels, and exits the facade into the bath house efficiently. The absorbed energy will be used to sustain and power the bath house.
Each floor of the bath house is stylized differently according to the architectural history of Korea. The reception area offers an experience of traditional Joseon architecture that feature; brick structures, wooden floors, open gardens. However, this classical architectural style was destroyed after the Korean War. After the war, Korea went through a phase of constructive architecture; also known as, Post-war architecture. In order to quickly rebuild what was destroyed. The second floor expresses these characteristics with various types of concrete. Concrete is ideal for this floor as the material will not be affected by the various temperatures of the different baths available. Ko-rea currently, is one of the most developed countries within the world, as well as their architecture. Contemporary architecture is highly on the rise within the small country of South Korea. The third floor encompasses these new contemporary elements as it houses various saunas, sleeping rooms, a cafeteria, and areas to just lounge around. Throughout the bath house experience, the facade will create an experience of being together with nations and genders.
The border between North and South Korea hold tremendous hate, memories, and stories. Biomimicry can be used to sustain the environment, however, it has capability to bridge the gap be-tween enemies as well. The bath house emphasizes on creating an experience of unity and retelling the history of Korea.