A city is often invisible to those who inhabit it. Adapting its facade to each new location, the In-Between Hotel quietly inserts itself into the residual pockets of Gwangju's urban neighborhoods. Commissioned by the Kwangju Biennale to contribute a public art installation, Doho Suh conceived the temporary dwelling as an anti-landmark. This temporary dwelling instead observes the life of the city—its memories and histories that often escape the notice of its inhabitants. Suh Architects was asked to design the actual transportable hotel from design to operation.
When the hotel-room-on-a-truck drives into each lot, the site is transformed both physically and psychologically. With its plumbing and furniture customized to fit on a truckbed, its interior provides all the convenience and amenities of an ordinary hotel room. Adjacent houses or shops become part of the greater hotel, as does the hospitality of Gwangju’s citizens, who become an important part of the artwork itself. Camouflaged by patterns of bricks and slates, the In-Between Hotel thus merges with the surrounding neighborhood. When neighbors learn that a single-room hotel might occupy an empty lot next to their house, they begin to see these neglected spaces and their own homes in a new light.
In an age where relationships are forged much more readily on the internet than with next door neighbors, this nomadic dwelling proposes more than a whimsical stay; inserting itself within the local fabric of a city globalized by an international art biennale, the In-Between Hotel turns art into hospitality. Its arrival garners dialogue by presenting a fresh perspective on Gwangju’s own identity as a collection of similar yet distinct neighborhoods. Gwangju and its guests meet on a mundane, intimate level where the old is new again, as visitors sleep, eat, and explore.