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TYPE: Design Competition

LOCATION: Seoul, South Korea

YEAR: 2024



Strange Works Studio

Terrain Work

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The Seoul Metropolitan Government sought to construct the city's first covered landscape park decking over a highway through a two-phase international design competition. The competition brief called for a paradigmatic infrastructural public works project that would link nature and city, reconnect Seoul's urban fabric back to the Han River over the major Olympic-daero expressway, and introduce new cultural spaces that integrate an existing historical building with newly planned adjacent apartment complexes. 10,000 square-meters of the Olympic-daero highway will be decked over and transformed into a landscaped ecological environment featuring gardens, forest playgrounds, paths, and trails enabling the public to walk from New Banpo to Banpo Hangang District and the river's recreational waterfront parks. To realize this vision, the project will be funded as a public-private partnership involving the housing association development of the neighboring Banpo Jugong and Acro River Apartment complexes. Our proposal Fastscape-Slowscape was selected out of 82 entries to advance to the second phase of the competition. Developed further in the second phase as one of six shortlisted finalists, the project was presented in a public jury review session in June 2024 at Seoul Metropolitan City Hall.


Fastcape-Slowscape draws upon Seoul’s contrasting narratives of urbanization – one grounded in the strictures and linearity of the urban grid, the other in the meandering morphology of its diverse ecological terrains. The project juxtaposes the rich, contrasting physical and social narratives embedded in these two landscapes and reconnects a city back to the water, redefining its relationship to its fluvial edge from one of infrastructural speed to one of contemplative pause and recreation.


MMK+, Strange Works Studio, Emergent Studio, Terrain Work



​Architecture & Urban Design: MMK+, Strange Works Studio, Emergent Studio

Landscape: Terrain Work, CA Landscape Design

Structure: SEN Engineering Group

Civil: Yooshin Engineering

Sustainable Design: Ellie Jungmin Han

Lighting: Eonsld

Visualization: YA Studio

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Our strategy for the project weaves two contrasting experiences across the Olympic-daero highway, maximizing its experience for two different publics. Visitors and tourists are drawn quickly through the primary corridor of the Fastscape, which extends the urban corridor of SinBanpo-ro directly to the Hangang river waterfront and its recreational edge. Meanwhile, residents of the new housing association development meander back and forth through the diverse ecologies and landscaped placemaking of the Slowscape. Both publics are activated by the new cultural building at the junction between fast and slow, a node that preserves the memory of the old historic 108 building by encasing its floor plan and facades in a glass atrium. The Fastscape frames a dramatic vista of the Han River and Seoul’s urban skyline beyond, while the Slowscape emphasizes more organic and immersive activities characterized by a thickened topographic ground, diverse ecologies, and meandering pathways – contrasting experiences offering both fast and slow rhythms of urban life.





 The project is a place to view and be viewed. This experience is particularly exhibited in the proposal's Fastscape, which offers a powerful iconic form as viewed from the Han River waterfront as it negotiates the sectional challenges of the site and features panoramic views as one traverses it. The Fastscape promenade is direct and singular in function, extending the existing urban corridor of Banpo directly to the waterfront in a direct efficient circulation route and drawing park-goers and tourists through this primary connective corridor. It employs a forced perspective strategy as a framing mechanism, tapering in form to reduce the perception of distance, making the panoramic waterfront view feel closer and encouraging movement. Formed by slick, linear extensions of steel and wood, the Fastscape ends in a cantilevered viewing platform that elevates the public vertically, creating a moment of sectional stacking over an amphitheater performance area that also becomes a significant visual element on the waterfront, drawing in visitors.




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In contrast to the Fastscape, the project's Slowscape weaves a secondary meandering circulatory route back and forth across the Fastscape promenade, forming the more intimate placemaking experience of the project. The Slowscape weave creates a more diverse, multifunctional experience, synergistic of the site's complexities. It assumes a more minimal profile above the Olympic-daero expressway, strategically preserving views from the adjacent housing development. 

The Slowscape is a diverse reconstructed topography marked by diverse ecological conditions ranging from open meadows, denser forested areas, to various recreational uses that organize static and dynamic zones through a scalar hierarchy of space. It is composed of a thickened layered ground condition of deep vegetative mounds, thick and heavy, gritty and textural, layered with biodiverse planting types, and embedded with topography. Along this meandering landscape deck, the Slowscape park is activated at points with recreational park programming that break up the scale of the space with cultural activities and placemaking nodes.