Soft Yongsan


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NUS Competition Report for the Vertical Cities Asia 2012 Competition

A collaborative effort among:
Diane Yeo, Stacy Peh and Heng Juit Lian

Published in: Design, Technology, Real Estate
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Soft Yongsan

  2. 2. ABSTRACTfor a SOFT YONGSANSoft Yongsan, a city for every individual. It allows one to plot a course through the urban fabric where each individual makes “Cities have the capability to provide something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”Yongsan his or her own place of living daily. There is a reachable space for every intention with an organic chaos that at- ~ Jane Jacobstributes to the vibrancy and informal spaces existent in its urban fabric. A city where both young and old live, work andplay in adjacent. We have adopted three main strategies to achieve a Soft and vibrant Yongsan, which inherently facilitates productive and healthy living spaces for our dwellers. Foremost, a MIX OF FUNCTIONS and use is encouraged within a high-density urban environ-We envision a SOFT city where it contrasts with existing rapid and hard developments evident in Metropolitan Seoul. This ment to maximise spatial usage and foster social integration. Secondly, OPEN SPACES at the ground level as well as aboveis a lively city where dwellers are able to lead PRODUCTIVE and HEALTHY lifestyles throughout their lives. ground were activated. Lastly, a well-connected and ACCESSIBLE STREET and TRANSPORT NETWORK promotes walkability and better-integrated mobility for all.Our actors on-site are integral in attributing to the Softness of the city. They include the elderly, white-collared adults, blue-collared adults, youth and children. This profiling guides our strategy to create a unanimous sense of belonging where the A soft city matters in a highly populated ageing society where needs are ever changing along with time. Often, upgrading andactors could commune, reside and most of all age gracefully. renewal projects in the form of hard developments are temporally effective, expensive and not sustainable because the built environment and people have been considered separately.Thus, it requires a more humane and sensitive approach with the built environment.
  3. 3. METROPOLITAN MAPAGEING IN PLACEAgeing is a natural process. However, this has been projected to lead cities to decline in the economy, social stability and Progressively, compact and dense cities develop multifunctional urban complexes to profit from the economies of scale,physical environment. This project is not geared towards being a “Silver Town” but to host an inclusive society that consists convenience, safety and ease in mobility in urban living. This could be in the form of very high-rised tower or slab blocksof people from all ages and walks of life. sitting on podiums, possessing residential, commercial, recreational and underground transport facilities. No doubt they require maintenance and sustain through in-built upgrading systems, the opportunities offered from high rise architectureIn the context of Seoul, there is a low population replacement rate, a higher life expectancy and increase in total popula- does give our buildings the flexibility to remain relevant to numerous uses to everyone in the aforementioned society.tion of 16.7 million in 2020. A higher land area is required of 11, 410km2 to host the projected population. To address theissue at hand, instead of demolishing the old urban fabric and replacing with new tower-skyscrapers with pigeonhole living Henceforth, our proposed flexible living spaces, small-scale business amidst mixed-use housing developments, activatedconditions to hastily house the growing population, we should integrate both city dwellers and their living spaces with the open spaces on ground level and the vertical integration with high-rise developments for healthy physical and social activi-environment. ties, easily accessible spaces and are outdoor activities friendly. These are encompassed within the scope of a healthy and productive lifestyle.The existing urban developments are fixed in carrying capacity and have small thresholds for accommodating excess inhab-itants. As such, future redevelopments and upgrading often requires revitalisation and upgrading, which yields hard edges.Thus, Soft Yongsan is designed to support the Seoul community to age gracefully, yet remains to be relevant to the changingneeds of its people and society.
  4. 4. CONNECTIVITY LAND USE IS MAXIMISED HORIZONTALLY & VERTICALLY BREATHING SPACES AMONGST URBAN EASE OF MOVEMENT ENCOURAGES YOUNG & OLD DIVERSIFYING BUSINESSES DENSITY THAT FOSTER HEALTHY LIVING TO VENTURE BEYOND THEIR HOMES. ENHANCED ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVITY INTEGRATING THE YOUNG & OLD FOSTERING HEALTHY LIVING. FLEXIBLE USAGE OF SPACE ENCOURAGES EXERCISE & PLAY AIDS ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVITY ELDERLY FRIENDLY TRANSPORTATION & CONVENIENT LIVINGTOWARDS A SOFT YONGSANOur design strategy for a Soft Yongsan was in reaction to our observations of a gradual obliteration of the old by the new In addition, being more bottom-up, the interactions observed in remaining old urban fabric are positively inclusive and as activelyin Seoul. The new in Seoul is a typical urban monster, often defined by the higher-rise developments that appears evidently used in younger areas of Seoul Metropolitan. Interestingly, there is a “young at heart” vibe existent in these mature areas wherenew and tends to be universal in appearance The genius loci of numerous small-scale places in Seoul are replaced by large the more mature members of society gather and be less home-based sedentary. This is essential for ageing gracefully wherebyestablishments, which tend to be in a physical scale too large for the Seoul inhabitants to relate to.This is for an instance, the there is a greater dependence in social plaza before Yongsan Station, whereby there are regulated and limited activities. Thus, a controlled, universal-lookingand unfamiliar scale of the living environment yields numerous hard edges; often deficit of green is what we perceive to be Here, with people as our imperative drivers, Soft Yongsan shall actively promote a productive and healthy living. our three mainHardness in Seoul. urban strategies adopted are: 1) a Mixed use Typology, 2) Activated Public Open Space as well as 3) Seamless Accessibility and Connectivity.
  5. 5. 0 25 50 75 100 metres SCALE: 1: 2500EXISTING BUILDING FOOTPRINT EXISTING ROAD NETWORK 0 25 50 75 100 metres SCALE: 1: 2500 1 to 3 3 to 5 5 to 7 7 to 9 9 to 12 12 to 15 15 to 20 20 to 30 30 to 40PROPOSED BUILDING FOOTPRINT PROPOSED ROAD NETWORK GFA OF 1 SQ KM EXISTING LAND USE AT DISTRICT LEVEL PROPOSED LAND USE AT DISTRICT LEVELSITE ANALYSISOur site is located in Metropolitan Seoul, which currently has a population 4.1 million and is expected to reach a population The existing street road networks are numerous and finely gridded and not pedestrian-friendly, thus encouraging home-basedof 6 million. Within Yongsan, the existing population is 60 659 . For the 1-km2 area chosen, we are hereby challenged to sedentary lifestyles, often socially detached. We propose to decrease the road footprint and increase ground level spaces tohouse a population of 100,000 with ensured liveable spaces. For the 1 km2 selected from Yongsan, we intend to demon- encourage walkability, community interaction as well as reduced urban heat island effect.strate both the transformation of a large space left behind by the rail yard, west of the Yongsan Station and to the east of it;the treatment of an existing mature fine-grained urban fabric. In our analysis of Yongsan, we observed low-density housing, The existing land use are generally homogenous in function, giving rise to distinctiveness of the area, such as the Electronics area.homogeneity of functions, absence of links to the riverfront and Yongsan park as site potentals as well as a distinct lack of This requires travelling further, encourages the use of private vehicular transport as well as be exclusive to people interested ingreenery and open spaces within the urban fabric. a specific use, which is not a place for everyone. We propose to have a more heterogeneous mix of functions and activities both at the ground level, where it experiences the highest movement of the population and harnessing vertical mixed use by havingThus our approach is to keep the fine-grained housing flanking the riverfront and Yongsan Park to have visual connectivity more relevant commercial activities such as retail and food. Most of the residential living will take place in high-rise.and less formidable experience, whereby the buildings are lower in height. Also, the building heights are increased in thecentral area surrounding Yongsan Station where it has predominantly commercial activities. This is where the highrise com- Source: Seoul Metro websitemercial and podium block typologies are.
  6. 6. STRATEGIESOur main urban strategies are: Our strategies mainly counteract the top-down-driven rapid and hard developments and lat-- MIXED USE TYPOLOGIES eral considerations were made, which are more bottom-up in terms of being sensitive to the-CONNECTIVITY & ACCESSIBILITY real needs of the society. There were no isolated considerations made for they are imperative-ACTIVATED OPEN SPACES to support our very vision of creating a soft city. These strategies aim to support a healthy and productive living environment whilst generating a soft and vibrant urban fabric.
  7. 7. LOW-RISE HOUSING HIGH-RISE HOUSING LOW-RISE COMMERCIAL HIGH-RISE COMMERCIALMIXED USE TYPOLOGIESMixed usage in low-density establishments attributes to Seoul’s vibrant street character where there is an intenseand organic growth of activities. Its intense organic nature exudes the familiarity of the Old Seoul. While on theother hand, the rapid high-density developments yield homogeneity and lack vibrancy in the urban fabric.Having a mixed use typology strategy limits inflexibility reduces exclusivity and the need to travel far to meet needs.Although mixed usage is our main driver in our urban strategy, we recognise that there is a varied mix of functionsin the different parts of Yongsan.This is for example, in the predominantly commercial area, there will be a predomi-nance of offices and supporting facilities such as the food and beverages, entertainment and retail.While on the predominantly residential area, there will be predominance of living spaces supported by functionssuch as more intimate community spaces, small-scale commercial which is inclusive of local family businesses, oftenoperated by elderly who step out of retirement. As such, this offers opportunities for the community to developa sense of purpose and belonging, and being role models of productive and active ageing. With this healthy mix ofactor-profiles in these typologies, softness exudes. COMMUNITY CENTRE PODIUM COMMERCIAL + HOUSING
  8. 8. PROPOSED STREET NETWORK 18% EXISTING STREET NETWORK 24%CONNECTIVITY & ACCESSIBILITYThe street network seeks to promote greater walkability and safety for all to move about in Yongsan and thus en- The street network has been established in the following scales: Parcel,couraging the organic spillover of activities along the streets, which attributes to vibrancy. Precinct and District.The proposed network shall work hand in hand with existing major transport nodes such as Yongsan Station and In the scale of the parcel, the local roads flank the parcel. Road footprintthe metro stations of Samgakji, Sinyongsan and Ichon. As indicated by the grey lines, these are integral connections is reduced within a parcel with increased street level open spaces. Thisat the metropolitan scale that runs along arterial roads and weaves into the predominant commercial areas, sup- facilitates safe and unobstructed spills of activities from the interanl livingporting a predominant pedestrian transient movement to work and school. spaces and small commercial shops. With these open spaces, car parking is made secondary and thus located underground within each parcel, which-The light blue areas are designated as safe and walkable zones where flexible pedestrian movement in the pre- also creates opportunities for social interaction.dominant residential areas are supported by open spaces and local roads.-The brown lines connect at the metropolitan and district scales to the riverfront, Yongsan Park and district parks In the scale of the precinct, the collector roads feed nodal communityalong the railway, as well as the metro stations. They run along collector roads and along the railway, feeding in spaces and pedestrian movements are encouraged.pedestrian movement from areas of varying predominance like the residential and commercial, yet offer a morepleasant walking experience away from the noisy vehicular traffic. Also, this supports predominantly leisure and In the scale of the district, the main roads connect Yongsan to adjacent dis-recreational pedestrian movement. tricts and are flanked by major arterial roads as well as key site elements- The blue bus line connects at a metropolitan scale by going along arterial roads in a North-South direction. This such as the Yongsan Station.supports the movement of the transient population of Yongsan.- The green bus line predominantly feeds in the neighbourhoods and districts. In all scales, the street network supports the ease of movement to nodal STREET NETWORK- The red bus line connects at a regional scale, such as with the satellite cities. spaces in the site. Therefore, in the predominant residential areas, more open spaces support community interaction.
  9. 9. DISTRICT OPEN PARK COMMERCIAL PLAZAACTIVATED OPEN SPACESMetropolitan Seoul has a 4.58m2/ person existing capita green space (Seoul Development Institute, 2011). Thisis contributed by predominantly mountainous parks and nature reserves. However, in the immediate urban envi-ronment, there is very limited green space, which is evidently attributed by the hard developments. To attain the NON-COMMERCIAL RESIDENTIAL YARDrecommended World Health Organisation 2003 standard of a green space provision of 9 m2/ person, numerousground level pockets of inactivated spaces as well as skyrise open spaces are proposed to be the attractive out-doors at-your-doorstep to encourage a more active and less sedentary lifestyle. Currently, there is a dominance of59% of leisure activities preference which are passive and sedentary in nature like TV watching and internet surfing.Likewise in reference to the proposed predominance typologies composed within an area melds into a diverse mixof functions and activities in different proportions with various degrees of benefits. Edge treatments to soften thedistinct divide between the built and nature reserves through the form of woodland extension to the metropolitanparks would bring Nature within closer reach.As such, this would provide a variety of spaces so that are reachable to every individual. This is for example; theriverfront, Yongsan Park as well as the district park along the rails would serve at a metropolitan scale, which alsoserves the transient population of Yongsan.While on the predominant residential area, intimate open spaces for the community to use encourages spill oversof the residents’ domestic lives and enlarges the perceived spatial boundaries of home, which strengthens a senseof belonging. This can be in a small scale coexistence of mixed use in the open spaces such as gardens with com- METROPOLITAN OPEN SPACE : HAN RIVER COMMERCIAL RESIDENTIAL YARDmunal exercise facilities.
  10. 10. GENERAL GROUND LEVEL COVERAGE IN A PARCELSINGLE BLOCK CIRCULATIONPRECINCT LIVINGA precinct embodies mixed usage in various scales, which consists of low and high-rise predominant residentialtypologies as well as commercial open and breathing spaces.The variety of mixed usage of mixed usage in the precinct is of varying predominance all over Yongsan, for werecognise the provision of a wide variety of spaces and functions reachable to every individual in Yongsan. Thiswill eradicate dullness of existing homogeneity of functions, as observed in most products of the top-down rapidand hard developments in Seoul. A strategy would be to create porosity of buildings by void decks, which offerbetter connectivity of the open spaces and supports the spill over of activities from the buildings and communityinteractions, thus enhancing vibrancy in especially existing duller areas such as the residential areas in Yongsan.Given that this is a high-density development, the overall ground level coverage is 40% for each precinct. Thisconsists of 60% open spaces considerate of building and road setbacks. There will be a distribution of 28% and12% for both the low-rise (10 and below storeys) and high-rise (above 10 storeys).
  11. 11. PRECINCT LIVINGThe low-rise predominant residential typologies are on the periphery of theprecinct to lessen the formidability of the pedestrian street experience. Theyare encouraged to have dual frontages to maximise spatial usage and eco-nomic productivity. The flanking roads support the mixed usage at the streetlevel, facilitating spill over of activities to adjacent precincts and functionalneeds like drop-offs of goods and people.The high-rise predominant residential typologies are situated within the pre-cinct surrounded by the low-rise predominant residential typologies, whichare intense and vibrant by its mixed use. Here, mixed usage has not beenjust considered at street level but as well as above street level. The voids inthe high-rise buildings serve as breathing spaces being brought closer fromground, offering respite and social interaction.Links are established between both high and low-rise residential develop-ments to provide connected accessibility. This shall happen as long it is 18mand below, between the buildings with a minimum of 2 storey clearance be-low of the link.With such arrangements of the building typologies within the precinct, a vari-ety of open spaces result. The Residential Commercial Yard are between thelow-rise and high-rise predominant residential typologies where there is aspill-over of a myriad of predominantly commercial activities, such as alfrescodining and informal street hawkers. Thus, this also facilitates an extension ofthe informal activities existent along the streets.The Residential Community Yard situated between the high-rise residentialtypologies are non-commercial and larger. Thus, this activates community in-teraction in a safe, recreational and leisure setting. Outdoor activities such asplaygrounds and sports amenities promote active lifestyles.
  12. 12. FLEXIBLE LIVINGFlexible living is crucial to be understood as having the tenacity to accommodate and remain relevant to everchanging needs of the society with time.At a macro scale, having a mixed use typology strategy limits inflexibility by reducing exclusivity and the need totravel out of Yongsan to meet fundamental daily needs. This would provide the incentive of coming outdoors.At a micro scale of a residence, as our actors experience milestones in life with varying numbers of cohabitantsunder one roof, likewise, there would be varying fundamental needs at different points of their lives to be met. Assuch, we propose a modular living unit system that is modifiable with time. In a form of a grid, it allows greater flex-ibility in creating necessary interior spaces according to the number of living occupants.With this modular living system, precast concrete technology and prefabricated compartments could be incorpo-rated. This facilitates a more economical and leaner construction process. Also, modifications could be achieved infuture without having to resort to costlier and major amendments such as demolition.
  13. 13. SECTION
  14. 14. CONCLUSIONSeoul Metropolitan being densely populated, the existing individual’s perceived personal space is small due to definite demarcations by excessbuilt up space. As such, with mixed usage and provision of open spaces, the perceived personal space is inclusive and the sense of belongingfostered by vibrancy reminiscent of the Seoul prior to the rapid and hard developments. The establishment of an integrated accessibility net-work makes a wider variety of destinations reachable. This encourages active mobility and healthy community interaction for all.As the Seoul Metropolitan is densely populated, an individual’s perceived personal space is small due to definite demarcations by excess builtup space. With mixed usage and provision of open spaces, the perceived personal space becomes inclusive. This fosters a sense of belongingand vibrancy reminiscent of the Seoul before the rapid and hard high-rise establishments arrived. Having a well-connected integrated acces-sibility network offers a wider variety of destinations reachable and encourages active mobility.All in all, the built environment and its people are integral in making a Soft Yongsan feasible. Thus, a two-pronged approach will be more em-pathetic and humane to encourage flexible, productive and healthy living through all seasons of life.Soft Yongsan, a city for every individual.
  15. 15. We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude toAsst Prof Hwang Yun HyeAssoc Prof. Ng WaikeenMr Low Boon LiangProf Jurgen RossmannDr Jörg RekittkeOur beloved family and friends for their profusely generous and kind careand assistance showered. :)
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