The Seoul Metropolitan Government has launched an international contest to revamp Gwanghwamun Square in South Korea
It seeks innovative visions to transform the 126,100㎡ public open space located in the centre of a large busy boulevard next to city’s historic Yukjo-geori royal administrative complex. The competition is open to architects, urban planners, landscape architects, and transport engineers.
The £40.7 million project aims to resurrect the ancient square in Sejong-daero district which played a key role in major historic events throughout the South Korea’s history but was transformed into a 16-lane roadway during the 20th century and reconstructed as a traffic island nine years ago.
According to the brief: ‘Gwanghwamun Square is the central space of Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea, and an iconic place that represents this country’s identity. This place was the centre of dynasty politics in the Joseon period (1392-1910), and the epicentre of democratic movements in modern Korea, including the April Revolution in 1960 and the June Democratic Uprising in 1987.
‘The Seoul Metropolitan Government, in an effort to overcome the current spatial and functional limits of Gwanghwamun Square and to restore historical and cultural symbolism of Gwanghwamun area, is opening this international design competition. All experts or firms that are interested in this opportunity are strongly encouraged to register and submit a proposal.’
Gwanghwamun Square is a historic space currently overwhelmed by heavy vehicle traffic and poor pedestrian facilities. Common complaints about the current plaza include its failure to express its historic identity, poor pedestrian connections, absence of seating, and traffic noise.
The competition focuses on a 126,100㎡ area including the plaza and the surrounding Sejong-daero, Sajik-ro and Yulgok-ro roads. The project aims to transform the square into a new ‘people-centred space with restored historical significance and greater convenience’.
Judges include Dominique Perrault, principal of Dominique Perrault Architecture; West8 principal Adriaan Geuze; Seoul city architect Young Joon Kim; and Na-Kyoung Yu, principal of local practice Place Making Associates.
The overall winner will be invited to negotiate for the £1.8 million design contract.
The registration deadline is 5pm local time on 23 November and submissions must be completed by 5pm on 11 January.
How to apply
Visit the competition website for more information
Gwanghwamun Square Project Group
Square Planning Team
Seoul Metropolitan Government