GENERAL DESIGN HONOR AWARD
island is land
Yu Kwon, Affiliate ASLA, Joon-ho Shin, Student Affiliate ASLA,
Jeong-sam Kwon, Student Affiliate ASLA, Hyo-jin Kim, Student Affiliate ASLA and Jihyun Lee, Student Affiliate ASLA
of Seoul, Korea, Seoul, South Korea
Faculty Advisors: Kyu-mok Lee, Ah-yeon Kim, International ASLA, and
We paid our attention to the paradoxical circulatory mechanism between the ‘will of nature’, evident in its creation of an island out of sedimentary sand flowing down from Jungrang Stream, and the continuous human effort to dredge the soil for the purpose of controlling floods. We also came to hit upon the fact that the dredged soil is classified in a kind of ‘industrial waste’. We hope to utilize this natural resource which the stream constantly provides as a means to restore the relationship between Han river and City of Seoul. Though we have started with nothing, we dream of something infinite-extending. We believe that our work on the project site will grow over its predicted scale.
History and context
The Han River has gone through huge changes during the last century. It has lost its former beauty and turned into a huge canal, due to the construction of concrete banks for highways and the control of flood. This process also led the fascinating island “Jeoja” to submerge into the current.
Human damages, however, could not stop the dynamics of the Han. Though it seems to flow calmly without any change, there are tremendous things happening beneath the surface almost beyond our imagination. Annually, 50,000㎥ of soil is estimated to heap itself, which men dredge every two years at the cost of 1,000,000 dollars for fear of flood. One of the problems is that this dredged soil has been thrown out of the city with all its value of utilization.
We are trying to approach the site from the following points of view :
1. Beyond the age when man makes a one-way control over the Han River, it is time man and nature both made the river together- man providing the clues that facilitate nature’s mechanism and nature completing the mechanism.
2. The soil continuously being created and put to waste, can be used to restore the river and the city to its former glory and beauty. The restoration will also improve the relationship between the Han River and the city of Seoul, that has been destroyed by concrete banks, highways and changes of the urban.
Making island by natural process
The unique characteristic of the site - soil being moved continuously – provides possibilities that an island could be formed by nature. Our design strategy is to provide the process of the nature`s forming an island by itself rather than to offer land completed by artificial ways. For a dramatic contrast between naturalness and artificiality, the piles deriving sediment are arranged in grid. Also, before suggesting the island, we analyzed the predicted effects of its forming on floods and regarded minimizing them as most important.
Restore the link with dredged soil
What is noticeable among the changes of the Han River for a century is that the river has been segregated by many infrastructures-highway, railway, apartment complexes, etc. The dredged soil can be the material to restore the link between the river and the city. In this process, Mt. Mebong becomes the interface that connects the river and the city. And the ramp between Mebong and Han offers a pleasant and easy way from the city to the river, beyond the railway and the highway.