Superground Seoul. 18 visions for relational infrastructures

An international consultation rethinking the development of Seoul from its inner structures is illustrated by an exhibition and a book.

superground seoul - NL architects

Shape is dead, long live interfaces. And please, go live in interfaces.
Showcasing 18 visions for 18 key sites punctuating the South-Korean capital city, “Superground Seoul: Living Infrastructure” narrates the results of a consultation launched in the last months by the Metropolitan Government, inviting a selection of international designers to operate a “recognition of hidden figures of the urban territory” — as told by Manuel Gausa, curator of both the exhibition and the process itself.

Strong provocations, positioned statements; still, no utopia. The 18 projects match the interest of the government in recent processes such as Reinventing Cities, Reinventer Paris (2016), Grand Paris (2008) and Hypercatalunya (2003), all animated by the reinterpretation of space through architectural visions, as a critique to the evolving city.
The goal is to rethink a hyper-infrastructured urban system by unfolding the potential of infrastructures as powerful compressors of  the main themes characterizing contemporary cities in their last urbanization phase. Such nodes become multi-program relational platforms: in their given shape, room and a central role are found for public space.

A re-scaled architectural object reaching the urban dimension such as the colonnade by Eun Young Yi; the vertical redistribution of  fluxes of vehicles — like in a environmental project of design per components — proposed by NL Architects; maximization of a riverside highway as a foundation for a new inhabited island, reintegrating in the living city a so-far dead volume, as conceived by Francis Soler with It’s and Michel Desvigne; the intensification of a landscape device such as the park by AZPML or the axis by Minsuk Cho connecting mountain and river in one coherent system of environmental quality.

All the proposed visions are accelerators for a dense civility, for a city that enhances the potential of relationship between people as citizens, civites, by exploiting the promiscuous coexistence of buildings, environment and infrastructure.

As remarked by Paolo Mezzalama from It’s, an unprecedented value form “Superground Seoul” lays in the position of Metropolitan government, joining a large power of realization to a high interest in self-redefinition, and in the crucial role of architecture in addressing and matching such interest. Architects are back on the front row, but in a new way, as also confirmed by Gausa in describing the composition of the consultation team: inspired by complicity rather than competition, all participants are encompassed by a somehow transgenerational awareness of  the epistemological change of the realm of architecture: architecture nowadays is about reuniting people and ideas, not developing mere shapes anymore (“Postmodern is dead”) but interfaces, structures that can connect landscape, people and information in a proper habitat, built on relationship as a building material.

Superground Seoul: Living Infrastructure
Young Joon Kim, Manuel Gausa
AZPML, Eduardo Arroyo — NO.MAD, Chanjoong Kim, Eun Young Yi, Studio Fuksas (Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas) + Ramon Prat Homs, Go—Up Architects, Haewon Shin, Alejandro Haiek Coll, Minsuk Cho – Mass Studies, Willy Müller – WMA, NL Architects, Seung H-Sang, IROJE architects & planners, Francis Soler, It’s, Michel Desvigne, Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios — S&Aa, Topotek 1, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto — Atelier Bow-Wow + Tokyo Tech. Tsukamoto Lab, Charles Waldheim + Office for Urbanization, Yoon Gyoo Jang — Unsangdong Architects Cooperation
Seoul Museum of Architecture and Urbanism
119 Sejong-daero, Jung-gu, Seoul
Opening dates:
15 - 31 October 2018
Seoul Superground (to be published by Actar)

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