On 28 March, the Seoul Hall of Urbanism & Architecture officially opened. The building was previously used as an annex of the National Tax Service, which was located between Deoksugung Palace and the Seoul Metropolitan Council. This was dissolved and rebuilt as the Seoul Hall of Urbanism and Architecture, consisting of three basement floors and one ground floor on the site with a total floor area of 2,998㎡. The ‘Chronicle of Seoul’ by Terminal 7 Architects (Gyeong-chan Cho, Kang-il Ji), which was selected in October 2015, has thus finally revealed itself. Each floor from the first basement floor through the third basement have been organised around the concepts of the past, the present, and the future, and the ceiling on the 1st floor has been shaped into a space for citizens under the name of ‘Seoul Maru’.
The exhibition in gallery 1 located on the first basement floor lays out Seoul in the 1960s and the 1970s under the theme of ‘Recording a City’, and the show currently in gallery 2 located in the second basement floor has videos and replicas on display to explore the potential of the infrastructure of the city through the theme of ‘Infrastructure as a Catalyst for Urban Innovation’. Gallery 3 on the third basement floor shows case studies behind Japan’s relief housing and a number of others under the theme, ‘Public Architecture and the Role of Architects’.
The next day, an international conference comprising of three sessions was held. The first part was held under the title, ‘The role of city hall exhibits and citizen participation’ and presented by Giovanna Borradori (Senior curator at Canada Architecture Center) and Sabrina Goh (Manager of Singapore city gallery project) and debated by In-ho Song (Director of Seoul Museum of History) and Da-young Cheong (Curator of MMCA) and others. In the second session, Igarashi Taro (Prof. of Tohoku University) and Haganuma Sei (Head of Hariu Wood Studio) presented on ‘The Social Role of Architecture’, with debates led by Jeong-seok Oh (Senior research of SH) and Ho-jae Song (Manager at SMG Housing Policy Division), among others. The third session featured presentations from Inge Podrevsky (Technical expert of Cultural Heritage Administration), Christian Chantle (Communication & Marketing Manager at Vienna Housing), Franz Sumnitsch (Head of BKK-3 Architecture ZT Gmbh), Seong-bo Kim (Housing Planning Manager of Housing Architecture Division of SMG), and debates were participated by Gyeong-ho Choi (Korea Social Housing Association), Se-yong Kim (President of SH), and Tae-hyeong Kim (Leader of Urban Space Improvement of SMG).
Against the backdrop of exploring visions for the country’s first-ever exhibition hall for urban architecture, established publicly throughout the conference, this was an opportunity to share profound contemplation on the role of the CCA for 40 years as a museum and the research theme, and the way of the Singaporean city gallery that opened in 1999 to engage in communication with the public. Important ideas to consider with regards to the first step of Seoul’s city hall exhibition, such as exhibits as agencies that have a critical discourse, and interactive exhibition halls that encourage mutual interaction with the public, and in educate them on the major architectural issues, were brought to the fore.
In the Seoul Hall of Urbanism & Architecture, the ‘Vienna Model’ is on exhibit in the Bium Hall, which casts light upon the past, present and future of Vienna’s public housing. The exhibition is free of charge, open from 10am to 6pm until 2 June.
Exterior view of Seoul Hall of Urbanism & Architecture ©Lee Hyunjun