Posted on 12/9/2011 9:46 AM by Robert Nieminen

UPDATE: MVRDV has issued an apology and has taken the images off the firm's website.

As I surfed through my usual session of news sites this morning, my ride through the web came to an abrupt halt when I came across the following story about two luxury residential towers that are set to be built in Seoul, South Korea in 2015. Take a look at the following image and tell me what it reminds you of:


The architects at MVRDV suggest that it’s supposed to represent a pixelated “cloud” structure, but honestly, who is not reminded of 9/11 when seeing this for the first time? I’m not suggesting that the architects did this in bad taste intentionally, but how did this not illicit some kind of objection by anyone on the design team?

With the hypersensitive, politically-correct culture that we find ourselves in these days, it begs the question of whether or not architecture should also follow suit. If a building risks offending someone’s sensibilities, should the design be altered?

Many would say no—that architecture is art, and therefore subjective and open to interpretation, which I tend to agree with. The traditional, un-politically correct era in which I grew up, and which still resonates in me, also suggests that if I don’t like it, don’t look at it. Plain and simple. Just because it offends me doesn’t mean it’s anyone else’s problem but my own, and why should an otherwise interesting architectural concept be changed to appease me or anyone else whose sensibilities might be offended, even if evokes the memory of a horrific event in my mind?

Because once you get past the exterior, the interior is actually quite aesthetically pleasing, filled with light and green space, and it captures perfectly the airy feeling I’m sure the architects and designers wanted to evoke. So maybe this is just a brief morality tale about not judging a building by its shell. But what else do we have to go on, really?

What do you think about the “cloud” towers? Sound off in the comments section below or on our Twitter feed (@InteriorsSource).