We strongly believe that the Jamsil apartments Complex 5 project can be a real neighborhood, a community which is connected and a part of Seoul, but largely self sufficient. In this proposal we have endeavored to create a master plan which, through the manipulation of space (both interior and exterior) creates an environment conductive to the formation of a community.
An urban strategy based on high-rise and the block typology.
Creating a community requires that residents are interconnected with one another and are empowered with a sense of ownership and pride of place. Only by fostering these qualities can one hope to create a truly vibrant and self-sufficient neighborhood. We have taken lessons learned from Europe and adapted them to this Korean social and cultural context.
Historical context & conceptual framework - the block typology
Europe has a long tradition of creating enclosed or semi enclosed blocks in urban residential development. From the 14th century on, this developments has proliferated across Europe to become the dominant urban typology, in London, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, and Amsterdam. In Amsterdam these blocks had undergone continues evolution and expansion. In the 20th century, the major extension of the city, designed by the world famous urban planners Berlage and Van Eesteren have deployed the block typology as the structuring element in their plans. In that time the block typology was to mitigate increased density in urban centers. However, the typology serves multiple additional functions and qualities, which includes:
Clear distinction between public and private outdoor space
Gentle means of behavioral control: citizens are aware of the formal nature of the street and intimate nature of the inner courtyard
Sense of community between those who share the inner courtyard
Safe and pleasant outdoor space
We believe that housing in Korea, and specifically the International Design Competition of Jamsil Apartment complex 5 Residential Complex Facilities, could benefit from this kind of strategy, where there is a great extra quality of life for families, kids, parents, grandparents and other residents in those courtyards. Our design proposal elaborates our attempt to adapt the block typology and the Korean high-rise typology to suit local zoning regulations, intended visual and landscape links through the site, proposed FAR, and the sustainable mandate for the project. The utilization of the block typology is a main structuring principle.
As stated before, the central issue with large scale urban housing developments is fostering sense of community across all socio-economic classes living in the area. Without the sense of community, ownership and pride, the inhabitants will not see value in where they live and will not contribute to maintaining and improving the development. We must strive to create a genuine lively neighborhood, and not a ‘sleeping city’ (where residents have their entire active days in the city center and only return to rest). As Europeans we believe strongly that as a basic structuring element for urbanization, the block typology possesses multiple qualities over many scales for the plan:
- It is creating an extreme quality of life through diversity.
- It establishes a rhythm and cadence to the urban development based on distances most suited to pedestrians
- It specifies a building envelope which establishes a streetscape scaled to the pedestrian.
- It establishes a hierarchy of outdoor spaces into three types which interact and work together.
1. PUBLIC SPACE – unmonitored, less secure, freely accessible space to all. The lessons we have learned from housing projects in Europe and North America in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s is that this space is the most problematic. For this reason we have focused public space into streets. By combining public space with vehicular infrastructural site circulation, retail functions and some residential facades, we provide a better
environment and encouraging social interactions between demographics. A sense of community at the level of the neighborhood.
2. COMMUNAL SPACE- These spaces are focused within the courtyards of the blocks and are shared among residents within an individual block. The communal space, in our scheme community green and gardens, playgrounds, small fields etc., are self-monitored by the residents of the block who also look down upon them.
3. PRIVATE SPACE – those spaces are specific to ground bound units within each block. These units have the privilege of owning a small outdoor space, which reinforces a sense of community within the block by setting an example for residents about its usage with respect to the communal outdoor space.
Different housing typologies and sizes suggest the creation of a few generic housing volumes, which vary in depth, length and height. By doing so, and by spreading this volumes through the masterplan, the project becomes standardized but also creates enough diversity generating a street profile that changes through its length as well as an informal courtyard.
Our plot features a triangular metropolitan knot next to the highway & subway entrances with a lively & appealing shopping environment at lower levels. This complex is topped up with spectacular triangular high towers maximizing its view potential. Although a triangular tower has slightly more façade surface than a comparable rectangular tower, the benefit for each apartment is substantial: Each apartment could in this triangular lay-out be very wide and feature 22% more façade per apartment than it would in a rectangular lay-out. On this particular site this would be a great benefit with beautiful views over the river and the Lotte tower. Also by using these type of towers we were able to fit more towers on this triangular footprint and could eliminate north facing facades.