Seoul Creative Play

Competition Entry | Seoul - South Korea 2017

In the fall of 2017, the Seoul Metropolitan Government organised an International Design Competition for the development of a new Creative Play Support Facility, located on a sloped site in Dongsomun-dong, Seongbuk-gu. Daehak-ro is the centre of culture and arts in Seoul. However, due to recent commercialisation, theatres and theatre companies for performing art are in decline. In order continue making Seoul a city of culture and arts, the government therefore plans to develop Daehak-ro as the centre of performances and introduce new functions by supporting various creative activities on the site. Located at the entrance of Seongbuk-gu’s culture and arts district, the project is to become a hub for protecting and revitalizing creative play.

LEAD’s design proposal responds to the brief by lifting and burying building functions, maintaining the naturally sloping landscape for public access. A main entrance opens to a public open-air plaza on ground level along SeongBuk-ro. Covered by the cafe area above, this is an ideal meeting spot to gather before performances and approach a ticket window. A glass elevator provides direct access to the book cafe, exhibition space, and sunset viewing deck above, and access to the carpark below. A continuous green hill stretches from the top of the park to the main road at ground level, integrating interior spaces with the more natural landscape through visual adjacencies, playful structure and circulation. The building programme is divided into four zones: 1) performance areas, primarily located below ground; 2) main practice rooms, primarily located along the West facade; 3) facilities of a more public nature; primarily located along the north side; and 4) facilities of a more private nature, primarily located along the south side of the project. Open access areas are located throughout the design and invite the general public for more casual use and peripheral exposure to performance activities. These spaces become flexible spaces with impromptu street style performances.

The technical concept centres on light weight structural assemblies for the upper levels that are suspended from steel columns. They involve a composite floor solution that creates less dead load in the upper levels. This guarantees better seismic performance as well as less costly foundations. The building envelope uses two types of material approaches – heavy and light. Floating clusters are supported by an array of exterior columns and surrounded by transparent or translucent finishes. In translucent areas, extruded polycarbonate sheets are placed in front of a glass facade system, allowing exterior lights and shadow to be visible from within, while showing silhouettes of internal activities to the outside. Opaque facade areas consist of lightweight sandwich panels, covered with a similar extruded polycarbonate finish. Columns are elegantly proportioned poles that slightly dance around to create an animated frame, minimally connecting to the building facade. They are meticulously placed along the building perimeter to cultivate visual impact while maintaining a sense of lightness and openness.

LOCATION | 1-4, Dongsomun-dong 1-ga, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea > See Map
LEAD DESIGN TEAM | Kristof Crolla, Kenneth Cheung, Adam Fingrut, Adrien Gesulfo, Julien Klisz, Alex Ng,
CONSULTANT | Buro Happold (Structure & Sustainability)
CLIENT | Seoul Metropolitan Government