University of Pennsylvania, PennDesign
critic: John HONG.
suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.
Kordae HENRY: Ideas of camouflage, negotiation, and monumentality are terms used to create a new beacon for Seoul, South Korea’s Haebangchon district. . . .
Our site, at the intersection of historical Haebangchon and the soon to be decommissioned U.S. military base Yongsan, is emblematic of this intense contradiction Although Yongsan occupies the most important center of the city, it remains a mysterious under-utilized void. Meanwhile, the dense urban fabric of Haebanchon has surrounded this low-density suburban military complex: porous, labyrinthine public streets immediately butt Up against the secrecy of military barracks. However both territories are alter-egos in a larger story of the ongoing war between North and South Koreas, but also of the history of the sometimes violent struggle within South Korea as it still seeks to define its own version of democracy. — John Hong
Ideas of camouflage, negotiation, and monumentality are used to create a new beacon for The Haebangchon district. In this studio we engaged with further topics that always lead back to the concept of the project becoming a catalyst. A catalyst for: Density X Diversity; History X Transformation; Topography X Building; Infrastructure X Amenities; Materiality X Density. (Replace X with catalyst)
The Hive tower is located at the very tip of the park, serving as a transformative living, working, and play environment. This creates a new gateway, moving people from the Han River to the Namsan Mountain. Naturally the Hive becomes a beacon for those in close proximity as well as from afar.
The ground floor and underground levels are a series of markets, similar to the market places one would see naturally throughout Seoul, and educational spaces. The Hive tower is a series of unfolding units, creating workshops and galleries to foster creativity. Finally, the very center of the Hive creates a stadium where both active watchers and athletes can engage in the Hive’s daily activities. Negotiation of identity and spaces become a constant choreographed action throughout the day as public and private space merge into one.
sP: What or who influenced this project?
KH: A short film that I produced, titled Trace, captured the public life of Seoul; this became a multilayer narrative. Its deep resonance—of friction and negotiation of space, and sound—helped solidify concepts throughout the project.
sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
KH: Reading: Momoyo Kaijima, Junzo Kuroday, and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, Made in Tokyo and Brian McGrath, Transparent Cities. Watching: The Empire of SURA and I Origins. Listening to: D’Angelo and Flying Lotus.
sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
KH: SsD Architecture; Ibañez Kim studio; HWKN; !Melk; Snøhetta; SPAN; Mir; and Keiichi Matsuda.