Middle Ground | Seoul, South Korea | BNIM + sungyop Kim

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The Seunsangga Complex is a series of large, contextually awkward buildings that divide a historical industrial area in half. Being over one kilometer long, the complex once served as a break in the urban fabric meant to prevent the spread of fire and disease. At this moment, the competition seeks to refit the complex into the city’s increasingly urbanizing context. The complex’s modernist buildings are a monolithic urban gesture through the City.

This design typology relies heavily on the program inside the buildings to drive success. This over reliance, however, has led to a deterioration of the building as the program failed over time. Both structural and programmatic failure have rendered the building a relic to the past having never interacted with its City on a human scale. The congested site plan stands overwhelmed by traffic and crumbling infrastructure, making it hazardous and uninviting to the businesses and the public.

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This proposal turns the site’s largest weakness, its function as a “Middle Ground”, into its most valuable asset. The notion of a Middle Ground in both popular urban architecture and planning parallels with many of the strengths of the Korean culture, which together, make this project uniquely representative of a Made in/by/for Korea ethos. By allowing the site to
bridge the gaps between the buildings and the surrounding sprawl of dense industrial blocks, the proposal begins to weave the surrounding context into the once divisive complex. The same buildings that have alienated the neighborhood now act as a method of organization. The same program that previously failed now has the room and flexibility to reinvent itself. By
embracing its role as the Middle Ground, the Seunsangga Complex can become a vibrant, productive, and successful Greenway.

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Middle Ground (SEUN SANGGA Citywalk Competition)
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Design Firm : BNIM (Jihee Chung, Nick Fratta, Brandon Wlosinski, Arpit Balhara, Joshua Boehm) + sungyop Kim (Professor of University of Missouri-Kansas City)

Middle Ground (SEUN SANGGA Citywalk Competition)