venice_P1010126 Custom

Existing City / New Resource

Venice Biennale, IUAV / Korean Cultural Centre UK, London Festival of Architecture 2016
[ In association with the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017 ]

The exhibition presents current and future initiatives being undertaken by the Seoul Metropolitan Government with a focus on nine projects that exemplify the question of recycling the city. Through a re-conceptualized figure-ground technique, underutilized, infrastructural, or sub-grade spaces are shown transformed into alternative public and semi-public realms. Beyond traditional ideas of public squares and boulevards, the exhibit shows how existing fabrics can be recycled into new forms of urban commons.

Seoul figure ground map

 


Exhibition at the Korean Cultural Centre UK

 


Symposium at the Venice Biennale hosted by IUAV University. From left to right: Enrico Fontanari, Hyungmin Pai, John Hong, Alastair Donald, Vicky Richardson, Franco Mancuso, Alejandro Zaero-Polo, Finn Williams (photo: Johnny Carrano)

 

 

Sketch study of exhibit concept
The Nolli figure-ground map, still used today to analyze cities, draws a dichotomy between public and private in black and white (left).  Seoul cannot participate in ‘good’ city-making of plazas and boulevards usually depicted in figure-ground maps of European cities (center). In introducing a third-term of grey, the binary between figure-ground is given more information through the ability to show connected networks in white (right).

 

 

Mapo Oil Depot Regeneration
Location: Seongsan-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Architect: RoA architects + Team Ten, Seogoo Heo
The industrial sites and artifacts of a city’s past are many times erased because they do not easily fit within existing concepts of ‘preservation’ and re-use. Not only are the Mapo Oil Depot drums industrial in nature, they also represent the global energy crises of the 1970’s where oil reserves ran unprecedentedly low. And since energy and the economy are inextricably intertwined, to protect the fragility of the relatively young state, Korea created the Mapo tanks in the secret mountaintop location to stabilize the supply. The now abandoned site will be transformed into a new cultural node through a nuanced version of preservation that synthesizes geography, politics, materiality, and history. By allowing the existential qualities of the site to remain while injecting new materials that frame the new programs, clear distinctions in historical layers are preserved while avoiding nostalgia. The paths are networked to the surrounding areas including the adjacent World Cup Park.
Data Point:
242 liters of oil are used per month per average Korean
201, 852 Koreans could be provided for one month from the oil reserves at Mapo Oil Depot

 

 

Modern Vernacular – Seunsangga Citywalk
Location : Sanlim-dong, Jongro-gu, Seoul
Architects: E_scape architects
Built in 1968 as a symbolic megastructure that connects the two histori-cal sites of Jongmyo and Namsan Mountain, the Seunsangga building was designed by prominent Korean architect Kim Swoo-geun as the first mixed-use residential and commercial complex in Korea. Throughout its lifespan it has remained one of the most contested sites in Korea’s modern urban history: its nearly 1km length slices through historical fabrics in stark con-trast to its surroundings materializing the power relationships and tectonics of its specific period. Slated for demolition on several occasions, the initial violence of the project has begun to be digested by its surroundings – in essence it has in time also become part of Seoul’s layered history. In this way, the new proposal allows it to further merge into the existing urban ecosystem allowing the historical streets to erode the megastructure’s underside. An elevated deck of ‘platform cells’ will be filled with spaces for the local creative industry to create another fine-grain network that can then further support diversity within the building itself.
Data Point:
1 km length of the Seunsangga megastructure
31,581,000 kg of concrete mix to construct

 

 

Modular Housing, SH Corporation  
Location: Suseo-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea
Architect: dmp (designcamp moonpark)
In a city where land prices and cost of living can be volatile, an especially vulnerable social group are university students and those just entering the professional workforce. While these groups represent an important creative potential for the city, their demand of affordable rental housing has driven costs to unsustainable levels. Coupled with the need for flexibility to accom-modate changing household structures, an alternative system of modular assembly can bring down costs and allow for customization through disas-sembly and re-use. In the case of Suseo Modular Housing, the system allows for the construction of 45 units of housing in a site where previously it would not have been possible to build – above a working municipal parking area. The speed of construction coupled with the fact the building will not require a basement allows for minimum interference and downtime of this important existing site function. The residents will have access to many local transport options including the national high-speed rail as well as mixed-use programs in the immediate vicinity, allowing them to maximize their inter-face with the city economically and culturally
Data Point:
180 days construction with reinforced concrete
101 days construction with steel frame
50 days construction with modular

 

 

Seoul Chronicle – Sejong Underground
Location: Jeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul
Architect: Terminal 7 architects
With one of the best subway systems in the world according to CNN, Seoul’s underground infrastructure has expanded as an alternate urban realm, con-necting to the basements of many of its major buildings, providing radical mixed-use temporary and permanent programming, as well being ‘wired’ with its own wifi and cellular networks. Where the connection between the ‘actual’ ground’s social realms has remained somewhat haphazard, Seoul Chronicle in the central Sejong-daero historical district will work as a proto-type to spatialize a more culturally significant connection while utilizing the archeological concept of ‘excavation’ to reveal historical layers. Connecting the historical Deoksugung Palace, City Hall, and the Hwangu-dan sky altar, it will re-utilize the existing basement of the former National Tax Service Building to introduce a new archive, exhibition, and retail spaces, connect-ing them to the vast existing underground networks adjacent to the project. The idea of indeterminacy and flexibility will allow the design to adapt to constantly changing contingencies.
Data Point:
3.7km of underground space will be connected to the Sejong Underground. 112 above-ground exits will be linked.

 

 

Malli-dong Cooperative Public Housing for
Artists, SH Corporation

Location: Malli-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea
Architect: EMA architects & associates
‘Community housing’ is a crucial, but many times overly-general utopian term that begs definition. While there is consensus of its central importance in terms of the sustainability of multi-unit housing, questions about the size of the community, administrative authorities, and privacy vs. publicity, are but a few of the nuanced factors that must play out within an inter-connected web of relationships. The Malli-dong Public Housing for Artists uniquely established a cooperative union pre-construction allowing future tenants to become complicit with the design process itself. Specifically located flexible spaces connecting back to the existing city are integrated into the fabric of the design: A ‘golmok’ street that is specifically propor-tioned to act as both passage and outdoor room networks back to the adja-cent park and local artists spaces, restaurants, and churches. At the scale of the building, these spaces are then connected to a series of elevated pedestrian ‘streets’ within the housing block itself. The strategy forms a new typological way of thinking in contrast to the isolated and autonomous estates usually formed by public housing authorities.
Data Point:
60,000 Artists graduating from Korean universities each year
157 Artist cooperatives in Korea
39 Artist cooperatives in Seoul

 

 

Seoul Station 7017
Location: Bongrae-dong, Joong-gu, Seoul, Korea
Architect: MVRDV
As the Seoul Station Overpass was one of the iconic structures symbolizing economic growth of the 1970s, its transformation into a new kind of public infrastructure will mark another important era of the city as an ecology of diverse social and cultural activities. Originally slated for demolition, the highway will be transformed into a pedestrian skygarden that recovers a broken connection between the areas west and east of Seoul Station. The ‘smoothness’ of the original automobile way is leveraged into a new hyper-connected public park that works across various scales: Important historical areas such as Namdaemun Market, Namsan, and the Fortress Wall of Seoul, will be networked with everyday activities, transportation nodes, and open spaces on the ground level. The level of the highway deck will then make connections to roofscapes and upper level interiors of buildings generating a 3-dimensional use of the city’s public and semi-public spaces. Meanwhile, the skygarden itself will contain cafes, shops, markets, libraries, and green-houses linking movement to public programs.
Data Point:
89 Overpasses in Seoul
65km total in overpass length
18 overpasses demolished

 

 

 

Guui Retarding-Basin Housing, SH Corporation
Location: Guui-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul, Korea Architect: HAEAHN Architecture, Inc.
Primarily beginning as neighborhood offices for the administration of social welfare, the Community Service Center is quickly becoming one of Seoul’s most vital social infrastructures. Focusing on the needs of the hyper-local community while acting at the metropolitan scale, this smallest of the city’s public institutions forms a vast network of 424 centers evenly distributed throughout Seoul. Recognizing the importance of this humble building type in its ability to provide ‘urban acupuncture,’ to its immediate community, beginning in 2015, the Seoul Metropolitan Government began renovating the community centers to extend their functionality. While they continue to handle general administration of civil affairs, they are also becoming community spaces that promote neighborhood solidarity and communication. Over 80 centers have been renovated city-wide and in the case of Seong-dong-gu, Seongbuk-gu, and Dobong-gu, each center responds to the specific qualities and activities of their specific area while giving citizens access to the extensive digital information network provided by the city.
Data Point:
33 retarding basins will be developed at a cost of $200M
13,900 units of housing will be created

 

 

Visiting Community Service Center
Location: (Partial) Seongdong-gu, Dongdaemoon-gu, Seongbuk-gu
Primarily beginning as neighborhood offices for the administration of social welfare, the Community Service Center is quickly becoming one of Seoul’s most vital social infrastructures. Focusing on the needs of the hyper-local community while acting at the metropolitan scale, this smallest of the city’s public institutions forms a vast network of 424 centers evenly distributed throughout Seoul. Recognizing the importance of this humble building type in its ability to provide ‘urban acupuncture,’ to its immediate community, beginning in 2015, the Seoul Metropolitan Government began renovating the community centers to extend their functionality. While they continue to handle general administration of civil affairs, they are also becoming community spaces that promote neighborhood solidarity and communication. Over 80 centers have been renovated city-wide and in the case of Seong-dong-gu, Seongbuk-gu, and Dobong-gu, each center responds to the specific qualities and activities of their specific area while giving citizens access to the extensive digital information network provided by the city.
Data Point:
1 Community Service Center every 1.4 km2 for a total of 424 Community Centers in Seoul.

 

 

Container Housing, SH Corporation
Location: Yeongdeungpo-dong, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, Korea
Architect : UIA (Urban Intensity Architect)
On one hand raised motorways can be seen as one of the most neglected spaces, a seam within the city devoid of program and human activity. Para-doxically however, the purpose of elevating the infrastructure is to allow for cars to smoothly pass over the functions of the city below it. Yeongdeungpo Container Housing opportunistically occupies this abandoned space for transitional housing and community programs for the underprivileged in the immediate area while their substandard homes are remodeled with city funds. Instead of using new containers which are inexpensive enough, 30+ containers that had already reached their ‘lifespan’ for shipping were recycled into a matrix of private, semi-public, and public spaces. A clever aggregation of the standard 20’ and 40’ lengths provides shared and pri-vate terraces, facing entries, and circulation, generating a nuanced sense of community for the 36 dwelling units. A community center including shower booths, kitchen, storage, and office space on the ground level also contrib-ute to the project as a catalyst for regenerating the area and linking the activities of the adjacent urban areas to the project.
Data Point:
161 Approved under-highway sites available in Seoul
75% is used by public entities
25% is used by private entities

 


Exhibit at the Korean Cultural Centre UK

 



 


Exhibition at the Venice Biennale / IUAV. photo: Johnny Carrano

 

‘Architecture and the Evolving Commons’ symposium organized by Haewon Shin and moderated by Robert Mull

 

Exhibit opening at the KCCUK

 

 


Kyungsub Shin photographs at the KCCUK exhibition

 


video still from Tapio Snellman film, ‘Seoul’
» link to full video

 

 

Curator
John Hong

Artists
Kyungsub Shin, Tapio Snellman, John Hong

Exhibited Architects
RoA architects, MVRDV, E_scape architects, Terminal 7 Architects, Visiting Community Service Center Seoul City Public Architects, Haeahn Architecture Inc., dmp Architects, EMA architects and associates, Urban Intensity Architect

Exhibition Venues
2016 Venice Biennale IUAV, 2016 London Festival of Architecture KCCUK

P:A Mapping and Research Team
Younghyun Heo, Dongwan Roh, Hyein Kim, Hyunjei Lee, Sewon Min, Geonil Lee, Hyelim Jang, Youngju Lee, Eunhye Kim

Symposium Participants Venice, IUAV
Aldo Aymonino, Alastair Donald, Enrico Fontanari, John Hong, Franco Mancuso, Hyungmin Pai, Vicky Richardson, Finn Williams, Alejandro Zaero-Polo

Symposium Participants London, KCCUK
Hae-won Shin and Robert Mull (organizers), John Hong, Indy Johar, Torange Khonsari, Andreas Lang, Lucy Musgrave, Hyungmin Pai

Sponsors
Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, SH Corporation, Seoul Metropolitan Government, London Festival of Architecture, British Council, University of Venice (IUAV), Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK)