Posts Tagged ‘commute’

The Morning Commute #3

Commuting as an experience.

It’s about a 10 minute walk from the subway station to my office. The simplest way is to take the main streets around the outside of the block, populated by office and retail buildings, as indicated by the red line.

Map of walk from subway station to work

The more interesting path

The walk from subway station to work The walk from subway station to work

The more interesting way is to take the green line, through the block, into the housing, and the urban fabric. If I hadn’t taken this route, I would not have discovered that there is a bakery at the first turn. You can smell the freshly baked bread as you approach it. It’s a point in the trip that is anchored by smell. I pick up a croissant for breakfast there.

Another reason I prefer this route is because there is less noise. I can hear my iPod better. There is also less people, and feels less like a rat race to get to work. I can take my time.

What’s interesting is that there are quite a few others seem to share my preference and have found this route through the block. So the lesson here may be that optimal is not the necessarily the best for all. There will be others that will seek a more rich, different, or in this case peaceful experience over the simple, optimal but noisy experience.

As for me, I just like the smelling fresh pastry in the morning.

The Morning Commute #2

Spells E-Z Ham

As I noted in an earlier post, Korea has no lack of ugly signage, adding to the urban cacophony. This one I found hilarious. It’s a sign for a cosmetics company: “LJH Cosmetics”. They were wise to go with the acronym: I assume that the company was set up by 3 partners, whose last names are: Lee, Jee and Hamm, which are common Korean last names. But when you phonetically read the Korea name for the company it sounds like: ee-zee-ham Cosmetics :-)

The Morning Commute #1

Seoul’s eclectic architecture

Now that I have fully embraced my role as the tourist, I intend to have fun.

Let’s start with today. Since everything is new to me (the tourist) and in part because of my architectural education, I actually look at buildings. I read them, measure them and place them in a style. Most building in Seoul doesn’t have much of a vernacular to follow, so on top of the corbusian domino system of columns and slabs, people slap on the style (or more correctly ornamentation) that makes most sense with the image they are trying to project, especially if you are retail store. Over the course of time the ownership retail space change hands and whomever comes in afterwards is forced to deal with the what was there before.

This is the case for this store that sells Simmons beds and furniture. My guess is that the store was originally built to house a store that catered to the wedding business (how else would you explain this architectural style?).

This makes for a strange clash of ornamentation. Now it has a modern floating, translucent glass box growing like an alien entity which is obsessed with battling the baroque armed with simplicity and order.