The City of Radical Shift
Sungwoo Kim (N.E.E.D. Architecture)

Sewoon Sangga emerged across the heart of Seoul in 1967, as KECC attempted the makeover of eight blocks in downtown Seoul, from Jongmyo Shrine to Namsan Mountain. The large-scale construction projects that proliferated around downtown Seoul from the 1960s to the 1980s, eventually became perceived as urban eyesores or criticized as targets for removal, as they lagged behind social changes, in contrast to the expectations of their architects at the time of the original design. The Sewoon Sangga complex also fell into a state of hibernation as the early tenants left the mixed-use complex. As the megastructure gradually became encroached by small industrial organizations around Chenggyecheon and Euljiro, the complex became a hub of the electrical and electronics industry at the heart of Seoul, as small-scale merchants started to use the vacant residential areas on the upper floors as offices and warehouses. At the time of construction, they embarked with the intent to gentrify dilapidated areas by destroying neglected areas within the city. However, after being overwhelmed by the surrounding small-scale urban structures, the complex started to serve, inversely, as a protective membrane that ended up delaying the wave of gentrification due to the rigidity of its massive scale and the complexity of the relationships among economic agents within the megastructure. Within the free space created by the complex, small industrial areas were able to endure in stability for a long period of time, escaping the pressure for redevelopment in downtown Seoul and creating a unique urban landscape for nearly 50 years.

We recognize the enormous symbiotic network of urban industrial organizations in and around Sewoon Sangga as a unique asset of modern urban architecture, and in order to make use of its value, we aim to assign a new role to the Sewoon Sangga complex in controlling its full redevelopment in one direction. To this end, we would like to propose a stereoscopic control strategy for the surrounding urban structures using the visually open spaces secured to ensure an adequate viewline when watching the urban landscape on the rooftop of Sewoon Sangga, as well as detailed strategies to expand Sewoon Sangga’s public spaces into the surrounding blocks. This exhibit will write a story for the Sewoon Sangga of 2018, as opposed to the Sewoon Sangga complex of 1968 that once served as a symbol of the development-driven era.

Sungwoo Kim (N.E.E.D. Architecture), The City of Radical Shift, 2018

Sewoon Sangga openning ceremony, 1967

Sewoon Sangga pedestrian deck, 2016

Skyline view from Sewoon Sangga rooftop, 2017

Pedestrian decks in Sewoon Sangga, 2018

Pedestrian decks in Sewoon Sangga, 2018

The current FAR of Sewoon Area - an average of 150 to 200%

The maximum FAR of the Sewoon Renewal Promotion Plan - an average of 730%

Adjustment of development density taking into account visually open spaces for perspectives

An adjusted maximum FAR - an average of 650%


Design Team
Suki Kwun, Junhyeong Kim, Hyunjun Oh, Junwon Sung

Production Team
Gahyun oh, Young Oh, Nayoung Baek, Hyungjae Ahn, Kyoyeon Song