International Studios

Imminent Connections, Seoul Station Region

Running in close parallel with the activities of the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, the Seoul Biennale International Studios (SBIS) forms a dynamic knowledge bridge between the academic, professional, and governmental stakeholders of the Seoul Biennale. Partnering with 20 international and 8 domestic institutions, SBIS will coordinate the design research along the Biennale’s major thematic lines, bringing a unique depth and breadth to the specific sites from Changsin-dong in the northeast, the Euljiro area in the center, and the Seoul Station area in the Southwest.

Along with the culminating exhibition opening September 1st, the international studios have been engaging in a series of public symposia and workshops: International universities hosted by their local counterpart schools have built discourse around the salient issues of urban production, urban regeneration, and the myriad of emergent socio-cultural issues of each of the sites. As an in-depth database of design research, the contents of the SBIS will be exhibited as an active archive that generates an intellectual connection between the local sites and topics of Seoul with the imperative global issues that they frame.


Dongdaemun Region

Literally meaning ‘East Gate,’ the Dongdaemun region is a complex urban area revolving around the fashion industry. Although the Zaha Hadid designed DDP is a major centerpiece, the area is polycentric, teeming with interdependent programs including thousands of small scale garment factories in Changsin-dong to the northeast and dense historical and new markets north and west of DDP. As the area is undergoing slow decline, studios will leverage its vital economic and social logistics to rethink how new forms of creativity and industry can be fostered.

-List of Schools : Keio University, Hong Kong University, Hongik University, University of Seoul, Washington University St. Louis, Rhode Island School of Design, Georgia Tech, National University of Singapore, Texas Tech University, Korea University

Euljiro-Cheonggycheon Region

Spanning east-west between Dongdaemun and Donuimun (the east and west historical gates), this important transverse district contains the revitalized Cheonggyecheon stream on its northern border and the Euljiro Underground on the Southern border. Bisected by the north-south Sewoon Sangga megastructure, the area is unprecedented for the diversity of its light manufacturing programs. Studios will frame their research in regards to the ‘industrial revolution’ where manufacturing is integrated within the urban core. The site’s radical mixed-use programs can become opportunities for the intersection of productivity and culture.

-List of Schools : Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Pennsylvania, Seoul National University, Keio University, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Ewha Womans University, University of Venice, University of Camerino, UniversitàIuav di Venezia


Seoul Station Region

Soon to be catalyzed by the 7017 project that will transform a section of highway overpass into a hyper-connected flyover park, the Seoul Station Region is a cornerstone site because of its proximity to the city’s most important rail station as well as the historical Namdaemun (South) gate and related markets and cultural zones. At the scale of urban infrastructure as well as the fine grain of bottom-up social ecologies, studios will address the site’s contested status as a redevelopment zone with a series of alternative futures based on a careful analysis of its present conditions.

-List of Schools : Universitélibre de Bruxelles, Delft University of Technology, Sungkyunkwan University, UNC Charlotte, University of Technology Sydney, Yonsei University, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Melbourne University

-Other regions: Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Rice University, Princeton University