Thursday, February 11, 2010

Immanuel Methodist Church, Seoul's PPG Place.

Across from Olympic Park in Seoul's Bangi-dong is Immanuel Methodist Church (임마누엘교회), shaped like a large glass castle.


Churches in Korea tend to be large, gaudy, and ostentatious---more often than not they're capped by neon crosses---but this one first caught my eye back in 2006 because it looks almost exactly like PPG Place, perhaps the most distinctive building in Pittsburgh.

PPG Place opened in 1983 and 1984, Wikipedia says, and the new church building ten years later. The church's website, as far as I can tell, doesn't acknowledge the resemblence or the inspiration. Here are a few pictures from my visit on January 24th.


PPG Place consists of six builidngs, the largest being 40 stories. The church has two buildings, a 16-story education center and a four-story church, and doesn't enclose a courtyard like its Pittsburgh counterpart. Behind the church is an alley full of motels and singing rooms.


Roy Melling said...

I'm sure the congregation gather at those singing rooms and motels after service for an extra service! I mean an extra extra service :)

For those of you who just happen to be religious I think you should wake up to the enlightenment period. You are all deluded by the church, all of you!

Please watch this and learn!

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

Yeah, the alley is a stark contrast to the church (and it'd be awesome if there was a courtyard like the real PPG Place). But, I'm not going to be crass and suggest that the congregation uses them, so let's get off that tangent, and keep it focused on the building itself.

Roy Melling said...

It looks lovely and magnificent doesn't it? I'm sure it's very peaceful inside but isn't this the start of something more sinister. Isn't it the start of homophobia, or the young man with a bomb in his rucksack boarding the tube? Isn't it the start of massive problems with aids in Africa.

Yeah, the building looks amazing but one needs to ask 'exactly, what is it for? What is it for?'

By the way, I'm quite a strong atheist!

yehjee said...

I'm always rather sickened by the Korean church communities... they are unashamedly materialistic, greedy, and ostentatious.
I never see them doing much for charity, but I always see churches springing up in every corners of the street. More annoying are those middle aged women who give out foodstuff and flyers to come to their churches even when I tell them I am already going to another church, or that I am not a Christian.

Robert said...

In consideration of Brian, I won't troll Mr. Melling. But boy, it's tough.

To imagine that church has its architectural roots in the 19th neo-Gothic movement via 20th century Pittsburgh. Architecture can be funny that way. It's said Moscow's Stalinist architecture is based on the Municipal Building in New York, which in turn is based on a church tower in Spain, which in turn was modeled on a mosque tower in Morocco.

Roy Melling said...

I've just juxtaposed the buildings of the one in Seoul and PPG Place. I agree that Immanuel Methodist Church appears to have been modeled on PPG Place!

If I were to pass the 'Immanuel Church' would you forgive me if at first I thought it was just like any other office building. It looks just like the Samsung or LG tower here in Sangmu.

The church official obviously wanted his (sic) church to look like a city building. I have to admit that the look of it is pretty impressive. At least, for a few seconds until my thoughts turn to...well, that's a previous post.

Great photos!