International Studios

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.

Active Archive

All Twenty-Seven Participating Schools

Donuimun Museum Village: 15


As an “Active Archive,” the exhibit goes beyond the traditional display of work by inviting visitors to interact directly with the content and as their own curators. Forming an alliance with the book café directly below it, the space is a storehouse of immense creativity featuring the work of 27 international universities and over 420 students and professors. The diverse range of work is organized for efficient navigation using both digital and analog means of display. 

At the entry, a “Data Room,” exhibits the fascinating statistics on Korea compiled by all the studios. Presented as individual flashcards, fragments of information can be handpicked, reassembled, and taken away, so that visitors can create their own evidence-based conclusions about Korea’s urban condition. In the main room, a “Panoramic Archive,” displays all the participating institutions’ work via an interactive digital interface. Design proposals can be reorganized by theme, site, or university. A “Micro-Auditorium” becomes a lounge-like space highlighting key discourse from the many academic symposiums hosted by the International Studios program. Here, books and pamphlets produced by the students and professors are also housed. Finally a CNC fabricated “Interface” pavilion at the outside deck creates a restful micro-climate as visitors exit and enter. The focus of the entire archive is to create a platform for ongoing discussion so that visitors may reimagine Seoul’s imminent future, and apply the design research to the emerging new commons in their own cities.

City as Process

Georgia Institute of Technology, Korea University, National University of Singapore, Università Iuav di Venezia, University of Hong Kong, University of Seoul, Washington University in St. Louis

DDP Design Street


The academic design research analyzes and re-imagines the diverse and interrelated urbanscape of the Changsin-dong and Dongdaemun regions. Facing the street, a 27-meter-long model of the Euljiro underground by Dominique Perrault’s EPFL studio in partnership ith Yoonhie Lee’s EWHA studio presents a new vision for this now underutilized space. Inside the containers, a series of videos and drawings created by the professors and students at Georgia Institute of Technology, Korea University, Università Iuav di Venezia, and National University of Singapore, express process and time as a design medium to understand the potential transformation of the DDP region into a global node of creative production. Rather than just utilizing the moving image for its own sake, the projections map the combination of space, time and aura to describe the region’s complex creative logistics. The container facing the main building features analytical drawings and models by University of Seoul, Washington University in St. Louis, and University of Hong Kong. Immersive drawing and model-making techniques are used as design tools to reimagine the imminent future of Changsin-dong’s micro-factories and related market areas.

City as Making

Chinese University of Hong Kong, Princeton University, Seoul National University, Texas Tech University, University of Pennsylvania

Sewoon Sangga Makers Cube


Forming alliances with the Production City exhibition, select academic projects re-envision the creative capacity within the immediate Sewoon Sangga area. In the Makers Cube and Sewoon Basement, faculty and students from Texas Tech, Seoul National University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton University, engage the Biennale theme of Urban Making: Instead of generic factories based on mass production segregated to the city outskirts, urban production is seen as a new scalable way to aggregate many diverse disciplines. Within the immediate region, a swarm of micro-businesses, from garment making, electronics and sensing, and digital fabrication, potentially come together to leap-frog over current making techniques to create new products and experiences. Through mass-customization and direct relationships between makers and users, new collaborative frameworks are envisioned.