THE (FORMERLY GREEN) BELT
The recent development of Seoul has lead to a flood of urbanizations, mainly concentrating in the valleys, surrounding the historical centre. Though this has given space to live, they have also lead to a reduction of the open landscapes and are blocking the views on the hills, thus causing a certain claustrophobia. In the mean time they are reducing the ventilation through the valleys, needed for fresh and cool air in the city.
Can the new Segok project help to redirect these possible dangers for the Gangnam area? Can it help to create a possible urban typology that can create housing while reconstructing the landscape, maintaining the views and openness, and repairing the ventilation?
THE IMPROVED SOCIAL HOUSING
The key issue to imagine this, is to find a way to work with the stringent factors that determine the current housing conditions in Seoul.
How to improve the internal and external qualities for social housing within the limited budgets and laws? How to create for limited costs social housing that is socially, architecturally and environmentally innovative? How to make them suitable for valuable ecological environments?
And how to realize this in a both respectful and exemplary way?
THE ADD ON METHOD
By optimizing current known and financeable typologies, a process of a simple cost-effective and even cost reductive start can be made with a sequential list of qualitative add-on’s. In order to create a design process that allows to span the gap between the qualitative future demands and the stringent current rules and costing.
THE BAND HOUSING
The housing normally can be organized around cores with halls that give access to 4-5 houses or by galleries, based on a slab-typology as an efficient layout for housing units. By connecting these typologies next to each other, side facades can be avoided thus liberating budgets for additional qualities. It leads to longer bands or chains of housing blocks that allows as well for flexibility in the design process. One can reposition the blocks on different places…
By positioning these bands in an east west direction, following the height lines, the topography of the existing hillside is maintained and perfect sun access is given to all the houses. As it leads to east west connections between the surrounding nature, the housing and the environment.
This as well makes ventilation possible through the terrain. The existing vegetation will be partially maintained as a continuation of the surrounding green area and to give character to the neighbourhood. Paths are developed as natural paths in the landscape. One can take a ‘hike’ in the neighbourhood and its direct surroundings.
By making these east west green spaces bigger here and there, larger collective programs like sport places, or gathering spaces, can be created. And by making them smaller on other positions, connections can be safe guarded, while introducing surprising, more intimate spatial qualities in the public space in-between.
Volumes are interrupted to give space to paths in north-south direction for cross-connections, as ‘passes’, to be able to walk up the hill.
As a side effect the heights of the buildings will vary. At the bigger distances the southern building can become higher and at the smaller distances the southern buildings will become smaller. This approach can be seen as a three-dimensional interpretation of the standard regulations for volumes. It creates hill-shaped slabs, with sequences of peaks and valleys, which gives differentiation to the volumes, to the neighbourhood and the apartments.
By shifting the positions of these bigger and smaller spaces, the sun conditions are further optimized and the higher buildings suddenly get better and wider views! It leads to the fact that more houses have more sun and better views.
This sequence of shifted undulating bands will create coulisse-like silhouettes on the site. It recreates the image of a Korean classical painting. The clean volumes give it unity and character. The facades are gladded with local stones as an ‘echo’ of the mountains …
The slab-like volumes are the base for efficient layout of housing units, with an efficient structure and layout of installation-systems. The different housing-units are meeting requirements and local standards.
Situated next to or under the green roof, ‘penthouses’ appear which are connected to the large terraces. At the plinth housing special types with a double high living space appear which are directly connected to the green area.
The parking is situated directly under the band-like buildings to maintain vegetation and soil for vegetation and to give direct access to cores of apartments. The roof creates a deck on ground level that is used for the accessible path of the fire trucks.
All parking can be accessed from one central road that connects to all parking bands and decks.
Public and communal services are incorporated in volumes in the plinth to further activate the ground level.
THE LARGE BALCONIES
Balconies surround all the volumes. On the southern facades they have an optimal orientation to the sun and are overlooking the hill. All houses get thus sincere outdoor qualities. To eat. To sit. To smoke. And on the north side balconies are giving access as galleries, or function as secondary balconies for the apartments. And because of the undulation, at the heads of the volumes bigger roof terraces are created.
These continuous cantilevering balconies avoid overheating by sun in summer. They thus allow for generous glass openings along the south façade that give optimal outdoor spaces and maximum sun penetration. The overhang allows for cooling aspects that can enlarge the cross ventilation for the apartments. The concrete structure allows for heat-buffering.
By developing all fences as green fences, as stretched u-shaped elements for vegetation, all apartments will have a direct connection to green and the volumes will appear as green figures. These can be realized as rectangular stone elements on small pillars to combine the green figure with transparency. The same rectangular elements are used to build up the heads and roofs of the volumes, so that the green will cover the volumes and the Greenbelt literally continues over the volumes. The standard u-shape elements make it easy to construct. These planters will give the balconies more cooling possibilities.
This treatment will turn the housing operation of Segok into an extension of ‘green’ hills within the Gangnam area.