Next in Seoul Korea – ①

One of sub-side work that I am contributing my days other than theWorkshop is assisting guidelines on redeveloping “High-way” located next to old Seoul Station (Heritage).
Since the work is somewhat limited to be open to the public/private for the media control, I’d like to first state that the article that I will post through out next 3+ episode is nothing relevant to the project that I am currently participating but it is personal statement with neutral political standing point.   

Highway opened for public to walk in 44 years (for 4 hours) last Sunday 2014.10.13.

Highway opened for public to walk in 44 years (for 4 hours) last Sunday 2014.10.13.

It seems like “hot stove” topic, one of most controversial project (relating to architecture), in Seoul, Korea these days. Since these type of projects are not only political but it also extends to socio-economic controversies within relating districts. (and I am sure I do not need to mention politicians/parties)

Main controversies that the project is facing are socio-economic, political issue and infrastructures.

In the center of these controversies, Sungnyemun(Namdaemun) market district (one of major and oldest industrial/traditional sales market located near highway and Seoul Station) and neighboring districts around the Seoul Metropolitan Station (and always politicians and parties) are the main actors who are skin-closely related in realization of this project.

Bird-eye view of relevant districts

Bird-eye view of relevant districts

From the map above, its not hard to imagine, how this project will effect the neighboring districts; traffic connections/congestion, economic liability, safety issue, social-sanitation and so forth.

I personally think, there are always serious pros and cons to any of projects in this scale & subject and also when such iconic/influential site are touched in such city, like capital cities of the country.
And it may sound naive but seeing groups of people (pros/cons) who are so much related in the center of these issue though last weekend’s open(public) event; walking through highway, it always brings similar conflicts that I always faced in previous urban projects.

police prohibiting demonstration participants to the site

police prohibiting demonstration participants to the public event. 2014.10.12

Meeting demands of every or any parties of people are always impossible.
Not to fetish ourselves in fulfillment of our own languages, what the role that we are suppose to take?
Should we be negotiators? are we reliable enough to share our vision as for sake of sustainability?

Though next few articles, I would like to concentrate/explore more in detail about defining today’s geography in urban (capital city) context referencing David Harvey and Rem relating to this project.
Even though project itself seems more relevant to state-captial developments standing as city-heritage development plan, but how liberal market (at the same time partly anthropological) is being influenced by such movement seems critical.

I can sense that future articles will be much more biased, at the same time, bit more clear in my standing point through projecting sub-topics.
I will continue writing more when time is allowed.

And as my work in the office is quite off-limit to be exposed (information-wise)I Hope to update you all in the end with interesting/innovating statement of new guide for the competition.

Ah, and one more thing, soon I will also update you guys with (also projected guidelines) Seoul Biennial, 2017 which I am also assisting as a researcher.

I will keep you guys updated, Chao!

Here are some article on the highway;
+Korea times-english

+other news-korean


About tesani

Founder [theWorkshop] Urban planner, Junior Architect, Designer


  1. This project also provided opportunity and creates new program at the end of lifecycle (i.e., urban infrastructure, building, etc.). I love something behind this project.

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