Thirty eight containers arrive at Inchon-ro 99 after their trip around the world
Steven Jobs started his journey in his father’s old garage. Made from old shipping containers, π-Ville also aims to be such a place for innovation. These containers, which have travelled around the world, constitute the framework and rooms of π-Ville. Its interior is also furnished with recycled items: the tables and chairs are reconstituted from the old ones that have witnessed the past 50-60 years of KU. The tables all look different from one another since the scribbles of yesteryear on them still remain. And the chairs, made from sheets of felt stacked up, bring to mind tree rings, which symbolize the accumulation of creative ideas. Just as the past and present mingle in π-Ville, the distinction between the interior and the exterior is also blurred. Crimson paint has been applied to the steely and cold containers, transforming them into symbols of the passion and energy of the pioneering intellectuals of KU. Evocatively structured, π-Ville is a warehouse of the exuberant ideas germinating in the minds of KU students.
Tables renovated from old ones at the College Auditorium at Seokwan (College of Liberal Arts building)
Felt chairs produced in the College Auditorium and moved to π-Ville Auditorium
A Space Anyone Can Share and No One Occupies
No one is judged in π-Ville, for there is no single right answer. Anything is possible here even if you have only a rough objective, or no specific idea. New ideas produced in KU flood into π-Ville to be shared. For instance, the π-Ville open-plan studio will exhibit student essays, artworks and various portfolios from students' courses and research projects produced each semester. “Knowledge should not only be delivered in lecture rooms, but should also be created and accumulated in every corner of the campus. And the creation of new forms of knowledge requires a new space,” said KU President Yeom Jaeho, adding, “π-Ville, as its name suggests, is the starting point of the limitless journey of our students’ creativity and spirit of innovation, and will facilitate committed debates, discussions and contemplation on the part of our students, thereby boosting the pioneering spirit of KU to the fullest.”
The π-Ville studios are not reserved solely for start-ups, and no start-up is required to establish itself as a successful model in order to move into π-Ville – This is what distinguishes the site from start-up incubation centers at other universities. Indeed, those who already have specific business plans and thus are likely to receive external investment are not placed on the list for studio assignment. π-Ville aims to support those who have the potential to embark upon the initial start-up stage through its network-building and mentoring services. An independent student committee has been founded to run π-Ville so that it is at the service of students. π-Ville is comprised of two sections: Section A, which consists of an auditorium and exhibition rooms, and Section S, which consists of studios. All students can use the auditorium and exhibition rooms (Section A) by submitting a form to the Administration Team and having it approved. The application period for using a studio on the third floor (Section S) opens every two months. The current test operation of the studios ends on December 31, 2016. The application period for the next available two-month period starts in the middle of December, and applications can be made through the KU Portal.
π-Ville: The first branch of π-Ville, π-Ville99 is a five-story structure built out of 38 shipping containers on a 1524.98 m2 area of campus between the College of Political Science and Economics building and Woodang Hall. It is comprised of 15 studios, an auditorium, an open-plan studio, an idea café and a 3D printer open lab. Korea University plans to build two other π-Ville branches, π-Ville148 (February 2017) and π-Ville22 (August 2017), in front of its main gate and on its Sciences Campus, respectively. The numbers in their names refer to the addresses of their locations.
An Idea Incubation Center Where KU Alumni Share Their Experiences
π-Ville is a place for current students’ to confront challenges and to communicate ideas. But it is also a location for KU alumni to share their experiences, a place they don't just pass through, but where they get to know each other. Mentoring and networking services are thus the primary functions of π-Ville. Creative Lectures are held there on a regular basis, at which KU professors, alumni and entrepreneurs share their knowledge and experiences with students. In addition, TED lectures produced in association with TEDxKorea University will also be shared via π-Ville's website. The idea café on its first floor provides the best environment for relaxation and the type of open communication that is conducive for people to produce new ideas. Run by KU alumni who have previously worked in a business society at KU and then upon graduation as professional baristas from Strong Hold, which has won sweeping popularity around the world with its automatic roaster, the café pays rent to KU and offers a space for mentoring. “π-Ville has just opened. Being in its initial phase, it still has to undergo a process of trial and error,” said Seok Chung, the Director of π-Ville, “I hope, however, that it will be a place for sharing the experience of mistakes and failures, as they can provide the most valuable lessons you might ever learn.” In this sense π-Ville will always remain in its initial stage, as the participant's mistakes and failures, as well as their successes and epiphanies, are all acknowledged and learned, together building a rock solid foundation for future innovation.