Gwanghwamun Perspective 1


Seoul, Korea

Our competition entry for the redevelopment of Seoul’s historic Gwanghwamun Square proposes a magnetic urban destination that respects and augments its deep history and sense of place.

Using the traditional Korean concepts of Madang and maru, we recast the Square as an urban-scale courtyard, a versatile place where leisure and civic engagement coexist flexibly. The design contains a mixture of comfortable green spaces (maru), convenience facilities, and open plazas (Madang) arranged based on daily, weekly, and special uses. New design features coalesce with future growth and development.

The historic Gwanghwamun Gate at the Square’s north end — a destination in its own right — bestows a powerful sense of directionality in the design.

Elements which lead to the Gate move along a gradient that eases the transition between a dense field of spatial conditions at the southern end and a grand civic plaza to the north. Interactive water features and rolling topographies give way to the plaza's influential and iconic openness that is so fundamental to Seoul’s political identity. Desire paths — visual and walkable corridors that meander through the site — unify these elements and choreograph pedestrians' procession through the Square.

Gwanghwamun Site Plan
Gwanghwamun Perspective 2