Saemangeum(SMG) is an estuarine tidal flat located on the southwest coast of South Korea. In 1991, the South Korean government proposed that a seawall of 33km be built to create 400sq.km of farmland. The construction of the seawall was completed in 2006 and was designated as the world's longest seawall. In 2010, a Master Plan was released that proposed to develop the filled land of SMG as the new economic and cultural center of Korea. SMG Landmark Idea Competition was an open competition for the public to propose an idea for a new landmark in the new city of SMG.
When one mentions the city of Saemangeum, the very first image that people think of is the beautiful scenery of the natural landscape with the seawall. Instead of proposing a new structure in the city center, Landmarking highlights already existing structure that the entire city is built on: the 33km seawall. By doing so, the seawall is no longer a utilitarian super-structure at the periphery of the new city but rather becomes an central part of city life that people continually visit: a destination.
Landmarking proposes four unique experiences along the seawall to provide something for everyone: an ecological park, an underwater arboretum, an office building, and a beach. The four programs are strategically located at the intersections where four future neighborhoods meet the ocean, thereby marking the different zones along the seawall. Each experience is identified as unique but can only be called unique in its association with the seawall. Conversely, the seawall is already identified as a landmark but can only perform as a landmark when Landmarking provides various ways to embrace the monumentality of the super-structure. Landmarking is a simple urban move that aims to maximize the potentials of the already-built seawall through a series of choreographed, yet minimal, urban interventions.
1. ECOLOGICAL GRID
Located at the intersection of Science Zone and Ecology Zone, Ecological Grid is a hybrid of an environment research laboratory and an ecological park. A grid of pathways lightly touch the ground minimizing impact on the landscape while allowing the public to experience the beautiful scenery of reed field and marshland. The floating structure also acts as a pedestrian connection between the new city, BSBD National Park, Shinsi Island, and Yami Island.
2. UNDERWATER ARCHIPELAGO
Positioned below the sea level, Underwater Archipelago is a new type of park that allows a magical experience of being aboveground and underwater at the same time. Designed as a series of islands connected by bridges and tunnels, Underwater Archipelago becomes a must-see attraction for visitors and a weekend getaway for the locals.
3. URBAN RING
Urban Ring is an office building located at the focal point of the seawall between the main port and the new city. Its unique form not only serves a function of icon, but also that of a pedestrian overpass.
4. OCEAN LINE
Serving as a scenic rest area, Ocean Line provides an unprecedented view of the sunset on a man-made beach. The two concrete wall becomes a frame that captures the beautiful sunset scenery while acting as a datum in which one can visualize the gradual transition of tides throughout the day.
Jaemin Ha, Sae Kim, Pilsoo Maeng, Donghwan Moon