asif khan’s pavilion for the 2018 winter olympics is said to be ‘the darkest building on earth.’ coated in layers of vantablack VBx2, the building absorbs more than 99% of the light that hits it, creating a beautifully deceiving illusion. 

asif khan winter olympics
all images © luke hayes

 

 

the exterior appears flat, but it isn’t. it’s quite curved. rods of different lengths — holding small lights — jut out of the parabolic pavilion, toward the viewer, like distant stars. at this scale, each inch could represent a lightyear. the vantablack pigment. asif khan’s execution. together, they’ve made a simple, near-perfect ethereum of stars for olympic attendees to wonder at, in south korea. it may be the closest thing to space we have to visually experience on earth.

asif khan winter olympics

 

 

and when it opens — february 9 — viewers will experience a full spectrum of light and dark. after entering a dark portal, viewers will find themselves blinded by a bright space. eyes adjusting, viewers inside a juxtaposingly white room will watch and softly listen to a hydrophobic installation, also designed by khan, using water and corian. widening viewers’ awareness to the spectrum of light may have been khan’s intention. it is a pleasant side effect nonetheless.

asif khan winter olympics

 

 

visitors will trigger sensors and sensors will trigger water droplets — 25,000 per minute — to fly and meander along tiny, satisfyingly-minimal aqueducts. the drops will entangle with one another, split apart, and continue on their paths into a larger body of collective water: thus becoming a white, quantum-scale-version of the building’s dark, celestial exterior. once the eyes are fully adjusted to the white room, once you’ve felt the grand hugeness of the universe, the illusive darkness, the smallness and the lightness of everything, you can walk back outside and stare once more at the darkest building on earth.

asif khan winter olympics

asif khan winter olympics

asif khan winter olympics

asif khan winter olympics

asif khan winter olympics

asif khan winter olympics

asif khan winter olympics

 

 

project info:

 

name: hyundai pavilion
client: hyundai motor company
design: asif khan
main contractor: hyundai engineering
interactive engineer: iart
facade coating: surrey nanoSystems
corian fabrication: cutting edge
structural engineer: AKTII
environmental engineer: atelier ten
environmental sound: why do birds?
interior contractor: GL
local architect: USD
agency: innocean worldwide

  • The darkest building on earth is the White House.

    Mark Seattle says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
LOG IN
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news