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Evolutionary Context: New Architectural Typology from Korean Context

Part 2 Project 2011
Kangil Ji
Korea National University of Arts, South Korea
The origin of the English word habitation is habit. The sociological definition of human being ‘homo habitus’ comes from this relation, which is a holistic explanation about people’s ways of thinking, structure of emotion, pattern of behavior, etc. Invisible urban context is always newly made by these habitual habitation patterns.

As found in the ‘Great Map of Korea’ (19th century), Korea is a mountain-peninsula connected by many range of mountains. In this country, the traditional method of making city fully followed this condition; thereby, arable land occupation pattern and urbanization pattern shows similar process. Most occupation of land was made in valleys as a finger shape, remaining leaf-structure-shaped roads. Therefore resultant land lot plans are very different from Western ones. Different from 2-dimensional urban structures of Western cities (grid, axis) like a bar code, the Koran land lot plan (1912), run through a simplification process, looks more 3-dimensional like a QR code with more information. Consequential different building heights are another important context. In conclusion, the condition of mountain-peninsula and 3-dimensional land lot plan are crucial factors generating an irregular cityscape in Seoul and many other Korean cities.

Seochon, facing two important mountains defining the old city center of Seoul, has a very irregular cityscape. Height difference between neighborhood buildings, accidentally appearing vacant spaces, recently developed huge buildings and remaining Han-ok buildings are dominant elements making this irregular city scape. Although this city scape looks just chaotic at a glance, this chaotic scenery have many positive elements which many Western and contemporary cities do not have: glimpse to hidden buildings and mountain through accidentally meeting void spaces, chance to look at many buildings’ facade on curved road, actively used exterior spaces, etc. These spatial characteristics of this place share many common elements with contemporary socialistic theories, which seek more complexity and more multiplicity. So I decided to amplify this irregular cityscape through an architectural process.

The chosen site area currently being used by the Blue House Annex and 202 Police Troop faces Kyongbok palace (the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty). This central city area will become more and more a pedestrian-tourist district according to many urban re-generation programs. As a result, it will have more pu

Kangil Ji

Tutor(s)
Prof Christian Schweitzer
2011
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