2012, Seoul, Korea
Eco Spine Park Observatory
Eco Spine Park Azalea Garden
U Eco Park
View over urban agriculture
Winter on the Yongsan Lake
Play and picnic on the waterfall
Mancho Canal, bars and terraces
LED technology will be introduced into night life area
Pool of LED lighting
LED bath in cultural villange
Azalea on sunny hill slope
Madang as a silent memory
Madang occupied by users
Main Gate Bridge at Hangang-Ro
Park bridge as iconic gateway to the park
Madang: dozen of variations of Madang will be introduced.
The new Master Plan for Yongsan National Park proposed by West 8 + IROJE has been developed through an interactive process that has consistently returned to the fundamental concept of healing. The act of healing is a process that transforms the existing site through an awareness of its history into a world-class park that inspires illusions of nature, ecological restoration and a wide ranging urban park culture.
The act of healing is developed on three fundamental levels in the transformation of the site:
Healing nature: "Sam Cheon Li Geum Su Gang San"
In Korean culture, the Korean peninsula is described with the phrase "Sam Cheon Li Geum Su Gang San"; which means ‘1,200 km of mountain and river linked all together is embroidered in gold’. This has been the way Korean people see, meet, and interact with beautiful mountains and rivers. It is part of the collective perception towards the physical world. It describes the Korean mental DNA. As such, we not only recover the forgotten landscape in the military base but also recover the illusion of Korean landscape mentally, visually and ecologically. This central part of the site will be excavated for a lake. The spoils will be used to create a more dramatic topography, to build an illusion of naturalistic Korean landscape. From this topography a new restructured water system with streams, ponds, marchland and lotus basins will be introduced. Natural woodland and undulating meadows will be organized around the lake.
Healing history: confrontation and exposure
The location of Yongsan Park symbolizes an extremely turbulent history of war and occupation. However sad and sorrowful this history may be, it is still part of Korea’s history. The approach for the park design on the site is to uncover the traces and layers of the history by reusing many of the existing buildings and roadways. The architectural approach is respectful towards the military buildings on the site and ranges from 100% restoration (such as the Japanese Garrison) to the construction of new buildings on the footprint of demolished ones. Also, new additions are added to existing buildings to make them fit for their new use. Where buildings disappear, their footprint re-emerges as a trace of history. These places, we named 'Madang'. The Madang is the ancient Korean word describing an open plaza that can hold various programs. The Madangs are simple granite stone platforms in the undulating park landscape. They are considered new, informal meeting point for social activity.
Healing culture: "park-metropolis interface"
For over 100 years the Yongsan site has been cut off from the city by a secured wall. The departure of the US army gives the city a unique opportunity to reclaim the excavation and to colonize it. The new Yongsan Park will transform the adjacent urban fabric and works as a magnetic field for urban growth. The interface between the park and the city is diverse and versatile. Within and around the park at least 10 different types of relationships are identified: walled gardens, river links, night life districts, new residential neighborhood etc. Heavy traffic corridors appear to obstruct the connection to the city. Therefore a dozen of pedestrian bridges will create iconic gateways to the park. These ritualize the entering to the park. North-South a robust green-blue ecological Spine will restore the connection between Nam San and the River Han. Programmatic diversity, food, bicycle culture and social media are prominent in the master plan strategy. For the realization of the park public participation and soil remediation is the key. This will be an open process of healing, seeding and growing.
- Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Korea
- IROJE architects & planners, DONG IL Engineering Consultants, Prof. Kim, Bong-ryol (Korea National University of Arts) and Prof. Kim, Nam-choon (botanist and professor of Dankook University)
- Adriaan Geuze, Edzo Bindels, Hyeyoung Choi, Martin Biewenga, Daniel Vasini, Eva Recio, Gaspard Estourgie, Igor Saitov, Joris Weijts, Juan Figueroa Calero, Karsten Buchholz, Kenya Endo, Marco Garcia, Maria Castrillo, Mart Reiling, Matthew Skjonsberg, Perry Maas, Pieter Hoen, Shane Fagan, Winnie Poon