Gather Around: Hongdae Eoulmadang-ro Cultural Platform in Seoul, South Korea

organized by Project Seoul, Seoul Metropolitan Government, South Korea

Third Prize

Awarded project by Grupo H

Project Seoul competition website

Once on the competition Project Seoul web site, go to “competition” and then  “Gather Around: Hongdae Eoulmadang-ro Cultural Platform Design Idea Competition“. You will find awarded projects under “winners“. Alternatively you will find the project on the main site under “archive“.

A cultural declination due to the spatial expansion

Hongdae; The memory of the Danginri Line

Until the 1970s, Eoulmadang-ro which is now running across Hongdae was used as a railroad for trains carrying people and cargo to the Danginri Power Station. In 1982, the line was closed, and the railway was removed.

But still, their traces can be found on the pavement of Juchajang-gil, from the precarious form of ‘Seogyo 365’ building, and in the memories of people who remember Hongdae in those days.

Built on the combination of tolerance and openness toward new cultures from art, music to design, ‘Hongdae Culture’ spread through numerous studios and experimental culture venues during the 80s and 90s and established a unique sense of place. On the other hand, a rapid commercialization which caused a superficial consumption of cultural

contents spawned side effects such as the decline of cultural industry and the exodus of the main agents of culture and art. And these have become social issues now. A cultural declination due to the spatial expansion of Hongdae, public policies not responding to the demand of the main body of culture for communal spaces, a street structure threatening pedestrian environment and a fast increase in the number of foreign tourists. All of these are woven together and completing the present atmosphere of Hongdae.

Fragmented Cultural Platform

The concept

This is what this concept is all about

It used to be that cultural center is a large public building set in the middle of the community, functional and flexible space that can accommodate various cultural events.
We all forget that the culture is the people, and culture is the community.
Therefore for Hongdae Eoulmadang-ro this proposal envisions a fragmented cultural platform where there is no one single building that houses cultural events, but instead a series of cultural „stages“ are speak around the street scape. A street becomes a gallery, parking lot a theatre stage, buildings a picture frame.

Series of cultural „stages“ are spread around the street scape

Fragments are made in form of six basic elements: screen, street screen, plinth, podium, stage and wall.
There is no limit on the content, form or style of the artistic installation or event that can be created with this cultural platform. Artist are free to explore potential of those elements and use them to express their artistic statement.

The elements

These are the element that make up fragmented cultural platform

Screen is the basic element of cultural platform. It is placed on the unused portion of the facade. The screen is used for art installations, video and light projections.

Street screen is an adaptation of the standard screen, but placed on the street level. Beyond just providing platform for cultural events, street screen structures the street scape, therefore creating new spaces.

Podium is versatile element placed on the street level. It is formed as part of street surface, allowing for uninterrupted usage of street scape. The podium also takes shape of informal square.

Plinth may seem as simple element, but it is as versatile as it is imposing. The plinth can be used for exhibiting sculptures, as well as for small performances. Architectural power of the element influences the street around.

Wall is  also an adaptation of the standard screen, in this form it is placed on the street itself as freestanding element. It can be used on one or both sides.

Stage is an element between podium and plinth, it is also most traditional element for performances. Music and dance performances are its main usages, but it can also be sed for sculpture installations.

Implementation

Example of how elements of fragmented cultural platform are implemented in the streetscape.

Existing condition

Current streetscape is dominated by commercial content and unused facade potential. Regardless of that there is large spatial potential for introduction of cultural content.

Element of fragmented cultural platform

Simple screen shape element is placed on the portion of the facade. It creates interaction between commercial, urban and cultural element.

Art installation

The screen is used to exhibit large scale prints. The existing building becomes its background and interact with the exhibit. The street scape becomes art gallery.

Existing condition

Unused corner of parking lot dominated by parking ticket box. Aside from commercial content there is no urban quality in this image.

Element of fragmented cultural platform

Cultural fragment in form of stage is placed on the corner of parking lot. The ticket box is incorporated into new structure. Parking was not affected. t.

Indie rock bend concert

Stage is used for indie rock concert. Parking lot becomes dance stage.

The result

When all the fragments are implemented the result is lively cultural platform set in the middle of ordinary Seoul neighborhood.

Screen – large format print

Street screen – street cinema

Podium – dance performance

Plinth – sculpture

Wall – large format print

Stage – indie rock concert

Organization, content & program, cost

This cultural platform is not just nice pictures, it is more then that, it is a well formed scheme with envisioned operation structure, program diversity and cost effectiveness.

Organization scheme

Hongdae Eoulmadang-ro Cultural Platform should be developed by central non profit organization – Cultural Platform Organization – CPO.
CPO also runs and maintains cultural platform as well as takes care of the program and events organizations.
According to yearly program CPO allocates the „cultural fragments“ to various artists who then prepare art installations, performances and events.
In general, CPO functions like a regular culture center, but with an exception that there is no central building as the culture platform is spread around the neighborhood.

Content & program diversity

Along the lines of this proposal there are no major obstacle in regards to content and program.
It is up to artist to take advantage of each „fragment“ and explore its potentials.

The cultural platform as whole can be used by various artists at each given time, or can be used by one artist or group form major events.

Cost effectiveness

Cultural fragments described in this proposal are simple structures made from wood and steel. So simple in fact that a weekend handyman can produce them. Therefore cost of construction of such cultural platform is significantly lower then building and traditional cultural center.
Moreover this kind of cultural platform can easily be modified and expended without great cost implications.