Gwangju Urban Folly 4
Client: Gwangju Design Biennalle
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Date: 2011 Completion
Area: 400 m2
The site reserved for Urban Folly 4 intervention sits at the intersection of Geumnaro and Eupsung Wall, two of Gwangju most important traffic arteries. Although adjacent to Geumnamro Park, the difference in level and the fortress like barrier create a very week relationship between the site – an enlarged sidewalk on the north edge of park – and the park.
The site was exposed to the busy traffic junction, only separated by a few loosely scattered electricity boxes and two entrances to the underground shopping mall. Our strategy was to reverse this relationship, recovering the site from the domain of the traffic and integrating it with the park.
By wrapping the various scattered elements of the site in one undulating volume that turns the vicissitudes of the existing infrastructure into a smooth surface, we created a barrier towards the vehicular traffic. The new barrier will provide some a coherent pliant form wrapping around the infrastructure boxes and creating opportunities for the public to sit and rest. The new wooden surface will shield the sidewalk from the traffic noise, and turns the space toward the park. The old barrier towards the park is replaced by a series of steps that descend toward the park, creating opportunities for prople to sit and contemplate the park, while diminishing the visual obstruction from the sidewalk. By sinking the fence down, it removes the presence of the fence from the sidewalk level.
The combination of this new connection to the park, together with the barrier/shelter, stepped seating, and viewing platform turns the site into a more comfortable urban space. The intervention extends beyond the site’s legacy of May 18, the echo of which can be seen in the pavement treatment, in the shape of a turbulent wave.