West 8 heeft de eerste prijs gewonnen in een prijsvraag waarin ze concurreerde met acht internationale ontwerpbureaus voor de realisatie van het 243 hectare grote Central Park van Seoul.
De locatie in het stadscentrum was sinds honderd jaar een ommuurde militaire basis van de Japanners en later het Amerikaanse leger. De basis zal worden verplaatst en Yongsan zal worden ingericht als een grootstedelijk park met het Nationaal Koreaanse Museum en een serie diverse landschappen. Voor het park is een budget van $1.2 miljard gereserveerd. Het project valt onder de verantwoordelijkheid van de federale overheid.
Projectbeschrijving in het Engels:
The new Master Plan for Yongsan National Park proposed by West 8 + IROJE has been developed through an interactive process that has consistently returned to the fundamental concept of healing. The act of healing is a process that transforms the existing site through an awareness of its history into a world-class park that inspires illusions of nature, ecological restoration and a wide ranging urban park culture.
we not only recover the forgotten landscape in the military base but also recover the illusion of Korean landscape mentally, visually and ecologically. This central part of the site will be excavated for a lake. The spoils will be used to create a more dramatic topography, to build an illusion of naturalistic Korean landscape. From this topography a new restructured water system with streams, ponds, marchland and lotus basins will be introduced. Natural woodland and undulating meadows will be organized around the lake.
The location of Yongsan Park symbolizes an extremely turbulent history of war and occupation. However sad and sorrowful this history may be, it is still part of Koreas history. The approach for the park design on the site is to uncover the traces and layers of the history by reusing many of the existing buildings and roadways. The architectural approach is respectful towards the military buildings on the site and ranges from 100% restoration (such as the Japanese Garrison) to the construction of new buildings on the footprint of demolished ones. Also, new additions are added to existing buildings to make them fit for their new use. Where buildings disappear, their footprint re-emerges as a trace of history.
For over 100 years the Yongsan site has been cut off from the city by a secured wall. The departure of the US army gives the city a unique opportunity to reclaim the excavation and to colonize it. The new Yongsan Park will transform the adjacent urban fabric and works as a magnetic field for urban growth. The interface between the park and the city is diverse and versatile. Within and around the park at least 10 different types of relationships are identified: walled gardens, river links, night life districts, new residential neighborhood etc. Heavy traffic corridors appear to obstruct the connection to the city. Therefore a dozen of pedestrian bridges will create iconic gateways to the park. These ritualize the entering to the park. North-South a robust green-blue ecological Spine will restore the connection between Nam San and the River Han. Programmatic diversity, food, bicycle culture and social media are prominent in the master plan strategy. For the realization of the park public participation and soil remediation is the key. This will be an open process of healing, seeding and growing.