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Sewoon Sangga, the 1960s Megastructure Reborn: Seoul Urbanism on TBS eFM’s Koreascape

Each month I join Kurt Achin, host of Koreascape on Seoul’s English-language radio station TBS eFM, for an exploration of one of Seoul’s urban spaces. This month we explore Sewoon Sangga, the concrete megastructure that has survived half a century of change in Seoul and is now the subject of a revitalization effort like no other. Originally commissioned by Seoul mayor Kim Hyon-ok (nicknamed “The Bulldozer”) and designed by famed architect Kim Swoo-Geun (known for works like the Olympic Stadium, the SPACE Building, and the Freedom Hall), Sewoon Sangga opened in 1968 as Korea’s first large development mixing both commercial and residential space. Now, with the eight original buildings reduced to seven and much of the business for its electronics shops lost to other parts of the city — but plenty of activity still going on in its labyrinthine interior and on it wraparound public decks — the Dashi Seun (or “built again”) project is rethinking, remodeling, and augmenting Sewoon Sangga for the 21st century in an effort to bring together the expertise of the older generation already there with the enthusiasm of the younger generation of “makers” only just discovering the place.

Stay tuned for further explorations of Seoul’s architecture, infrastructure, and other parts of the built environment. You can hear our previous segments here or download them on iTunes.