Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Yongsan 'Dreamhub'

After mentioning the plans to build a 'waterfront town' in Yongsan in conjunction with the Han River Renaissance Plan, I saw yesterday that the Joongang Ilbo had printed an AFP article titled "Architects compete for ‘Dreamhub’":
Five of the world’s top architects will compete to develop a master plan for a $28 billion international business hub aimed at transforming the Korean capital, developers said yesterday. Each firm will be paid $1 million for its efforts [to design] the planned 57-hectare development in Yongsan District, close to the city center.

A private consortium including Samsung plans to develop by 2016 the railway and warehouse area into a “Dreamhub” comprised of offices, a hotel, residential units and entertainment and cultural centers. The riverside site will link to a public park to be developed on the site of the current U.S. Army base, which is scheduled to move in two years.

The contract is to design a landmark tower and create a master plan for the development, almost half of which should be parks or roads. Developers and architects said they see the project as a chance to give the architecturally undistinguished city of 14 million [sic] people a new heart.

U.S. firms Asymptote, Jerde, and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill are also taking part in the contest, with the winner to be announced in November. Construction work will start in 2011.
Is it just me, or does "almost half of which should be parks or roads" seem a little ambiguous? And I have my doubts that the US military will be moving in 'two years', but I think its good that they plan to link the site to the planned Yongsan park. The Korean language article mentions that the building is to be 620 meters tall. Here's the site:

Since it mentions the riverside, it would seem the apartments in front of the site will be torn down, and the Gangbyeon expressway will likely go underground. Developing this area is not a new idea, mind you:

The rendering above was apparently produced in 2004. Here's a more recent rendering, linked to the Han River Renaissance Plan. You can see the planned ferry terminal.

A similar rendering is here. Here's a later rendering (another angle is here):

As Gord noted, the rendering above "looks like something copied straight off the cover of an old SF pulp mag. Except the silvery "teardrop tower" in the middle would be a rocket ship beside which a buxom blonde would be standing." It would seem the above plan is unlikely to come to pass, what with 5 different architectural firms competing to produce new designs.

Worth keeping in mind is that this is just one of several planned developments in Yongsan-gu. Below you can see that they also plan to develop an area near Seoul Station, the US Base, the Hannam New Town, (part of Itaewon (?)), and another project at far right I know nothing about. If all of these are followed through on, much of Yongsan-gu will be razed in the next 10-20 years.

The three projects that are certain to happen are the Dreamhub, the 'park' on the US base, and the Hannam New Town, and the first two are likely to change central Seoul a great deal.

On a related note, the Singye-dong neighbourhood near Yongsan station had lots of photos taken of it earlier this year (perhaps it's still standing, but is set to be redeveloped. Photos of the area can be seen here, here, or here.


Bobby McGill said...

I linked to your site from mine on your coverage of the PD Notebook nonsense. I appreciate your continuing coverage of the bizarre goings on with mad cow in Korea.

Anonymous said...

I wnet to Singye-dong on sunday to check out the 'progress'. It's pretty much all been flattened. What was nuts were the three houses left standing, I'm fairly certain they were still occupied. It must have been horrible to stay while the village was destroyed around them.

matt said...

bobby - I'm glad the post was useful.

mat - I hope you took some photos! Maybe I'll stray over there next weekend sometime.

The same thing is about to happen to that neighbourhood near my house (across the fields) we biked through last fall - I've been taking photos of the abandoned houses and will post some here before too long.

Mataperros said...

First amazing site! Really thoughtful and thorough... i just had a question after reading some of your posts on Magok,the Han River, and Yongsan. When these areas are set to get redeveloped, are these private or public initiatives? I mean, it's the mayor making these announcements some of the time, but in the end it's the private companies who do the work right? I'm not sure if you find the relationship between government and business here as ambiguous as I do.