Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon announced plans to build a “World Design Park” as part of his campaign manifesto in the 2006 elections. The park will house a state-of-the-art convention center, galleries and an underground mall. [...] Zaha Hadid, a renowned British architect and the 2004 recipient of the Pritzker Prize ― the architectural equivalent of a Nobel Prize ― won the competition with her project “Metronymic Landscape.”
Local historians and architecture critics are upset at the decision to raze the historic stadium, especially as taxpayers’ money is involved. In addition, they say Hadid’s design, which is expected to cost 340 billion won ($358.7 million), fails to reflect the location’s history, which is a living witness to Korean sports and political gatherings. But more importantly, experts argue that Hadid’s futuristic model, a fluid structure covered in titanium, will jar with the existing historical buildings in the area.
“I lose my sense of place every time I walk out of this subway station,” says Kim Ui-tae, the owner of the area’s Samsung Sports, referring to Hadid’s designs posted on the walls of Dongdaemun Stadium Station. A slogan on one of the posters reads, “Architecture Beyond Imagination.” “There’s nothing in the picture that tells you that you’re in Seoul. Everyone is Caucasian. It’s good that the development will attract a lot of foreigners into town, but we live here, too,” Kim adds.