International Competition for Restructuring Seunsangga Citywalk|
Walking, Fast and Slow
- project period : 1.5 Month (May. 2015)
- collaboration with SangHun Song (KIRA, a.co.lab architects), Greg ChungWhan Park (AIA, Simplex Design Studio), Jeong Jun Song (Robert A. M. Stern Architects)
- site area : 43,575 sqm
- site location : Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Walking, Fast and Slow
Once symbolized by its grand scale, strong axis, and the popularity it enjoyed among noted public figures of the time, the Seunsangga Complex, an important urban/architectural heritage of Seoul, had become, with the passage of time, underutilized and unsightly. Today, the Seunsangga Complex is preparing to reclaim its distinguished status and welcome the public with a newfound confidence. Hence, the project Walking_Fast and Slow seeks to aid the transformation of the Seunsangga Complex into one of the most attractive and unique automobile-free walkways in Seoul.
The juxtaposition of the two very different walkways suggested in this project highlights the hidden wishes that any pedestrian may harbor for the city’s walkways. By counterpointing the disparate values of Slow and Fast, open and enclosed, programmed and undetermined, digital and wild, New Seun City Walk_Fast and Slow enables the city’s pedestrians to experience contrasting sensorial stimulations, satisfying their various desires about divergent life styles. This re-configured north-south urban green and cultural axis, with minimal intervention from existing structures, will become the imperative pedestrian artery of Seoul, facilitating the revitalization of the once-neglected Seun District and preserving the site's inherent characteristics of a modern megastructure.
New Seun City Walk_Fast and Slow connects Jongmyo and Namsan Mountain to complete a North-South green axis in Seoul. Jongmyo’s greenery continues onto the New Seun City Walk as a double link along the North-South axis, multi-layered with the garden walk and urban walks. The Tree Grove Plaza and Island Garden on the ground level will be part of the green network that connects to the existing street trees. The south end of the Seun City Walk connects to the collective net of Green Pockets, consisting of small open spaces, shared gardens among the neighbors, and roof and terrace gardens that can be added to the existing housing units.
Seoul City has many attraction points, each one affording its citizens the opportunity to gather and walk in a unique way. The most beloved gathering places in Seoul currently include the Han River Walk, the Bukhansan Mountain Trail, Insadong Street, the Cheonggyecheon Walk, and Haebangchon. These places have common characteristics that draw people, such as automobile-free (pedestrian-friendly) walkways and noise-free environments, whereas each of the places also has its own distinct features, such as water accessibility, street entertainment, green surroundings, etc. These characteristics attract people and enable them to have memorable experiences during their visits. Likewise, the New Seun City Walk_Fast and Slow will provide citizens with such common attractions, as well as showcase its own unique characteristic—an unprecedented walking experience implemented through the juxtaposition of two differing types of walkways: Urban Walk and Garden Walk. This composition will create a new typology of the pedestrian-friendly attraction in Seoul City.
The Urban Walk (Fast Walk) facilitates a faster and more convenient mobility by introducing moving walkways. As a main feature of the Urban Walk, these moving walkways are equipped with a glass canopy that wraps around the top and the west side of the walkways, thus sheltering pedestrians from precipitation and blocking the north-west wind during winter. Without any obstruction, pedestrians can travel the full length of 860m Urban Walk in 7 min.
The existing concrete structure of the Urban Walk deck will be kept as is, as its chisel finish embellishes the aged material and distinguishes the Urban Walk deck from the bush-hammered finish on the Garden Walk deck. The current concrete handrail will be demolished and the glass handrail will be attached on the structure with pins, which dramatically reveal the history of the Seunsangga Complex, while at the same time providing more visibility to pedestrians on the deck, as well as on the ground level.
The program band that runs all the way through the Urban Walk is another main feature of the walk. It tentatively consists of various programs, such as street furniture, fountains, media boards, and skylights, which are to be determined based on the interests and needs of the public. This program band will sit at the lowest grade of the deck after a slight re-grading, and is combined with a rain/drainage system. The storm water is collected through the slot on both sides of the program band, filtered through the recycled/crushed concrete collected from the construction site debris, and then transferred and released into the ground or city sewer pipes in case of overflow.
The Garden Walk (Slow Walk), on the other side of the deck, extends and diversifies the pedestrian interaction with the natural environment in an urban area by creating a series of multi-layered green zones where citizens can stroll or detour. Each green zone consists of three major components: a Crack Garden on the deck level, a Tree Grove Plaza on the ground, and an Island Garden next to the Grove Plaza. These three components provide pedestrians, regardless of their location, with various “greens”experiences: tangible greens, sheltered greens, and background greens, all of which are supposed to interplay as part of a holistic green strategy.
The southeast directional arrangement of the green zones was intended in order to introduce the summer breeze into the site, but it also creates two different perspectives of the Garden Walk, depending on where pedestrians are heading. Thanks to the tall tree grove on the ground level, citizens can feel an intermittent openness towards the city when walking from the north to the south of the deck, or they can feel a more participatory interaction with the garden when walking from the south to the north of the deck.
The crack on the deck level is primarily introduced and designed for the unique pockets in the Crack Garden, where plants can be seeded or transplanted and displayed in contrast with the aged concrete slab. Acting as a green threshold, the boundary of this crack will change over time, continuously interacting with the plants and micro-organisms associated with them.
In case of rain/storm, the rain water on the deck can run into the Crack Garden and then be transferred to the detention band of crushed/recycled concrete at the edge of the Island Garden on the ground level. Most rain water from the site is expected to be absorbed into the ground through the detention band, except the overflow, which will be further transferred to the city sewer pipes.
Jong-ro Plaza forms a loop shape by stretching both the urban deck on the west and the garden deck on the east. As the entry point, the plaza invites pedestrians with a welcoming grand stair that absorbs them onto the deck. At the ground level, the gravel border around the garden visualizes the imagery of the demolished Hyundai-Sangga. At the upper level, the deck embraces the green courtyard with tall trees, creating warm ambience of Seun Memorial Park. By lifting up the Northeast edge of the deck, the broad context can be drawn into the people’s perspective as if Jongmyo and Bukaksanare directly connected to the deck.
Cheonggye Plaza is a multi-level space at the intersection of the deck and Cheonggyecheon, running to the west and to the east. The deck, separated from the Seunsangga Complex, extends out toward Cheonggyecheon to create view points and goes down to access to the ground level, which is landscaped by a highly dense group of trees. The staircase is varied in this ground-level plaza,connecting to the ground level and to Cheonggyecheon level. The group of trees provide visual background to the multiple levels and function to reduce the noise from the adjacent roads.
Eulji-ro Plaza is located above the wide Eulji-ro roads, opening up the views towards the city from all directions. In order to define the plaza with a distinctive feature, the green landform and sculpted hardscape for the outdoor activities are integrated together.Pedestrians can go up to the hills to enjoy the city views or watch other citizens skateboard in the skate park area. This plaza will serve as a visual attraction point from the ground level, as well as provide dynamic space on the deck.
The Seunsangga Walkway will inevitably be re-established to its former glory for the sake of revitalizing the existing site itself, as well as its surrounding areas. Looking at the existing two walkways divided by the Seunsangga Building as a unique, inherent, and unmissable value of the site from both physical and environmental aspects, the project Walking_ Fast and Slow focuses on magnifying the site's characteristics of separation by creating two very disparate walking environments on each side of the deck. Beyond creating a new city attraction, this proposal will turn the Seunsangga Complex into a prospective locus that can tap into the public's subconscious desire to experience engaging and differing lifestyles.