Architects awarded for renovating spaces

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Architects awarded for renovating spaces

The results of the first Seoul Sarang Architecture Award, honoring groups or individuals responsible for renovating or rebuilding areas as more attractive and convenient spaces have been announced.

Organized and sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Korean Institute of Architects and the JoongAng Ilbo, the competition attracted 61 entries by the October deadline. The first place, or presidential award, went to Park Min-chul, the head of Ganyang Architecture Studio, who renovated a traditional marketplace in Hampyeong, South Jeolla province. The award ceremony took place last Friday at 5 p.m. in the Atlantic Hall at COEX.

First Place: Hampyeong Traditional Market
This traditional marketplace in South Jeolla province’s Hampyeong district is still full of energy, as it always has been. The renovation of the market was completed last June and it still retains the charm of its past, while incorporating modern design sensibilities resembling an arcade area. Formerly, it was a traditional market held every five days but as times changed, the space began turning into a discount plaza. Whenever it rained, the location was flooded as it was close to the river and, just two years ago, the rooftops of the stores were close to crumbling. Seeing this once vital part of the Hampyeong area falling down, the heads of the Ganyang Architecture Studio decided to revive the market, realizing that the area would be a great economic asset to the local government when rebuilt properly by attracting tourists to rediscover its old glory.
“It was important to hold on to the old charm of the marketplace while making it convenient ― balancing the old and the new. To do this, for example, we designed modern-looking white roofs, which resemble the old-style tents above the individual booths,” said Mr. Park.
He added that his team made special efforts not to destroy the architecture of the past and not make it into another multi-complex, getting rid of its history. “Because Hampyeong is well known for its Butterfly Festival, we wanted to design tents to resemble butterflies,” he said.
For the market to be a more interactive space, special facilities, such as a large stage where customers and merchants can gather together, were built at the center of the market space.

“It is necessary to incorporate the changes in consumer behavior. Besides redesigning the place, the more important aspects lie in reading what today’s customers want, as well as maintaining its appearance and management,” said Mr. Park.
Choi Jong-hyun, a professor at the department of engineering who was also a judge for this award, said, “This market got high marks as the studio showed an effort to preserve the market’s past history while renovating it to fit modern standards of design and commerce by using new materials and approaching the rebuilding process in a fresh light.”

Second Place: Pureungil Park, Gwangju
Even with the chilly weather outdoors, Gwangju city’s Pureungil Park is usually filled with visitors. The park was made after the railway running across the area, built in 1930, moved outside of the city borders in 1990.

With the determination of residents of Gwangju and the city government to create a “green area” in the city, symbolizing a return to a more natural environment, the park became a success story. In the stages of planning, designing and getting the initial idea realized, representatives of the residents of Gwangju, experts in related areas, citizen groups and the local government all played key parts as members of the Greenways Advisory Committee. Another body, the Developing Greenways Group, made up of individuals, families, groups and corporations, holds campaigns to plant more trees in the park.

Third Place Tie: Wonju Cultural Center, Gangwon province
Huyong Elementary School faced a steady decrease in students as a result of many going to schools in Seoul, and finally closed down in 2000. Following that, there were many ideas on how to make best use of the school building.
In 2001, the theater company Notteul moved into the building and turned the space into a cultural center to bring residents together for a variety of cultural programs and classes. Notteul still holds the first performance of all its productions in this building as well as running a theater program for adolescents.

Third Place Tie: Sangnim Ecology Park, Hamyang, South Gyeongsang province
The Sangnim forest has been a popular place to visit since the Silla dynasty and has been a destination for many tourists over the years. It is also a designated national treasure of Korea.
The local government of Hamyang bought 70,000 square feet worth of farmland around the forest and planted lotus flowers to make the Sangnim Ecology Park. The government’s decision to revitalize the farmland, which was doing poorly, into a tourist spot and a rest area for local residents was a success. The park has many different sections, including a lotus flower area and an area to observe aquatic life from all over the globe. With increased numbers of visitors, the district has added a large parking lot.

Third Place Tie: The residence of Choi Sun-woo, Seongbuk-dong, Seoul

The former residence of author Choi Sun-woo is a modernized hanok, or traditional Korean house, built during the 1930s, where Mr. Choi resided until his death in 1984. In 2002, the National Trust of Korea bought the house and at present it serves as a memorial hall for the author. Along with displays of items Mr. Choi used while alive, there are cultural programs for children and a study center, which makes it an interactive space for local residents.
“This space was selected because we appreciated the fact that a civilian group was able to not only preserve the authenticity of the hanok, but also to make the space into a community space,” said Kang Heung-bin, a professor of city engineering at the University of Seoul, who was a judge for the awards.

by Shin Hye-kyung
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