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Seoul Biennale International Studio Symposium
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2017-03-27

Imminent Changsin-dong:

Seoul Biennale International Studios Symposium 


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Seoul Biennale International Studios Symposium in DDP Academy Hall

 

Imminent Changsindong: Seoul Biennale International Studios Symposium was held on February 10, 2017. The symposium featured presentations from the 2017 Seoul Biennales curators of the Production City exhibit, as well as the studio leaders from the international and local institutions that are conducting research in the area. Representative universities included: Hong Kong University, Washington University in St. Louis, National University of Singapore, University of Technology Sydney, University of Seoul, Hongik University, and Seoul National University.

 

International Design Studio, which belongs to the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017 is directed by principal John Hong. It is an experimental platform where teachers and students from renowned local and international schools of architecture, research institutes, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and citizens are brought together to share their thoughts, opinions and feelings about the issues faced by Seoul. This studio seeks solutions to problems and issues common to the worlds cities through collaborative research while conducting on-site experiments in Seoul. The International Studio develops the content for exhibitions through an academic network of urban architecture and serves as a vehicle to promote the Seoul Biennale around the world.


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Hyung-min Pai, general director of 2017 Seoul Biennale


The symposium started with the introduction of John Hong and Hyung-min Pai, general director of 2017 Seoul Biennale.

 

The Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017, titled Imminent Commons, will be is held from September 1 to November 2017. It will propose a set of basic commons as the foundation of new urban cosmopolitanism.


Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism 2017 centered on issues and proposals. Based on the themes of Ten Commons, the Seoul Biennale is organized along two major sections: exhibitions installed during the Biennale period and the public programs during the corresponding year. The exhibitions consist of Thematic Exhibition, Cities Exhibition and Live Projects Seoul. Public Programs include International Studios, Film and Video Program, Workshops, Lectures and Tour Programs which offer a communicative platform for citizens.


Employing architecture and urbanism as a medium, Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (Seoul Biennale) encompasses a wide range of fields – from sociology, geography, and economics to literature, art, theater, and film – to engage in the present and future cities of the world. Seeking innovative design and policy alternatives, the Seoul Biennale actively collaborates with the public, experts, artists, architects, and policy makers. The first edition of Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (Title: Imminent Commons) will be launched in September 2017, led by co-directors Hyung-min Pai and Alejandro Zaera-Polo.

 

 

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This Seoul Biennale International Studio Symposium belongs to Cities Exhibition, which is one of the public programs. In this symposium, participants shared issues of the Changsindong region, which is located just outside Dongdaemun’s east gate and the historical city wall. They also shared studies and research directions of each subject and site.


Yerin Kang of SoA introduced the details of Changsin-dong, there are 2,500-3,000 needlework factories. Young people in this area refuse to carry on family business. Instead young foreigners are taking over this business.

 

Sooran Kim of Hongik University presented their research results on the environment of Changsindong. It is hard for motorcycles to pass through the narrow alleyways, and people have to walk up lots of staircases. The  scarcity of parking space is another serious problem. It has bad mobility.

 

Erik L’Heureux from Washington University in St.Louis and Peng Beng Khoo from the National University of Singapore introduced the direction of 2nd international Studio with the title of “Cosmopolitan Atmosphere.”


The main point of this research is “Integrated Network of Changsin-dong” which covers temperatures, economies, resources, architectures, and people. It will cover working environments, roofs, signs and roads as well. They pointed out that industrial activities are going on without distinction between private space and public space in Changsin-dong.

 

  

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Eunice Seng from University of Hong Kong


Koon Wee and Eunice Seng from University of Hong Kong shared their research, which is focuses on housing. It includes the question like, “What kind of architecture we have to build?” “For whom are these buildings?” and “Where should we put these building?”

They divided this research into six categories: community network, accumulated domesticities, interconnected rooms, Th(Re)eCycle, Occupied Strees  Subdivided Spaces and Accented object-spaces Cultivated Places.



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Roundtable discussion

The presentation was succeeded by a roundtable discussion.


“Changsin-dong is very productive,” said Annie Pedret from Seoul National University. “Erik’s proposition about the fuzzy boundary is start to get exciting. I think the fundamental question is “What kind of knowledge are we trying to generate?” I think ‘the difficulty of measurement’ is a very productive question, because we started to investigate that problem. Hence, we will change what we do. I love building, but we are wasting on building. It is not the entire solution.”

 

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Roundtable discussion

 

Lee Jong-Gul from Korea University said that he started to think about Changsin-dong. “Somehow, we start to look at the people’s eyes. Those people have so much history. Even when they had a chance to move to a new town, they rejected it. The question we want to ask is “Do they love Changsindong?” “Are they happy?” “Do they need a new solution?”


“Since this international studio involved more foreigners than Koreans, it will be a great chance to look at Changsin-dong from a foreign point of view. We can mix all these ideas. In the end, we have to figure out, “What do they want?”

 

John Hong closed the symposium. “I think the diversity is already happened in this studio, and I hope we can keep in contact as international studios,” he said. “I think we should have more collective network discussions. Therefore, let’s make this symposium our starting point.”


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