Our aim was to establish a cultural hub at the centre of one of the busiest and most historic districts of the city – and to bring delight and inspiration to the people of Seoul. The design was governed by the belief that architecture should enable people to think beyond existing boundaries, in order to reach innovative solutions.
The form of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Park revolves around the ancient city wall, which forms the central element of the composition that physically links the park and plaza together, while our fluid design language encourages the greatest degree of interaction between the plaza and the public.
The design integrates the park and plaza seamlessly as one landscape element, blurring the boundary between architecture and nature and transforming Seoul into a greener city by folding into the shopping and dining areas below. Numerous voids, undulations and depressions give park visitors glimpses into an innovative world of design.
The 85,000 square metre plaza comprises a design museum, library and educational facilities, whilst the 30,000 square metre park reinterprets elements of traditional Korean garden design: reflecting pools, lotus ponds, pebble beds and bamboo groves – with no single feature dominating the perspective. This approach is informed by local painting traditions depicting grand visions of the ever-changing aspects of nature.
The combined investment in education and research, together with the city’s public cultural programmes, will inspire new generations of designers and help to maintain the reputation of Korean industry as a leader in innovation.