A project with such scale and prominence as the Suncheon City Hall—which is poised to be the most significant architectural addition to Suncheon city in recent times—presents an opportunity to communicate a mission for the city that is far beyond its programmatic requirements. Amidst the dense urban fabric of Suncheon, we see the potential for the City Hall to serve as a model typology that can represent the city’s vision of itself as the ecological capital of Korea. To support this vision, our proposal suggests urban and landscape approaches that extend beyond the given site and can potentially transform the city into a model for sustainable growth.
Our proposal allocates over half of the given site to creating a City Park. To do so, the City Hall is proposed as a compact building that defines the northern edge of the site. This opens up space for an extensive City Park to be created to the south of the building.
With this City Park as the centre of the proposal, a green corridor extends beyond the site, running between the two existing historical temples that sit on the foothills of the mountains to the east and west. The City Hall and City Park therefore together act as a place of confluence within the city.
We also propose an extensive network of green corridors that can funnel movement towards the new City Park. This would make the City Hall a true place of confluence in the old downtown. In particular, the green corridors that extend north-south can connect the City Hall with essential landmarks around the site, such as the Suncheon Art Platform to the north which serves as another green lung in the city. As the Art Platform, and other cultural programs around the site, converge towards the City Park, the City Hall will become a place of confluence capable of hosting a variety of public facilities and cultural activities, as well as a public park. We also propose to connect the City Park to the Dongcheon stream by means of an elevated walkway. This would connect the temple across the stream with the city.
The new City Park would offer the citizens of Suncheon a new public space as well as improve connectivity between different areas in the downtown and the adjacent cultural station.
Our proposal for the City Hall building deviates from the typical image of a city hall as a rigid and monolithic building. Emulating the built fabric of the dense mixed-use neighbourhood, the large programme is broken down into three separate yet interrelated volumes. This simple ensemble is sited along the major arterial road to the north of the site, where it creates a new citizens’ plaza at the street level. A gateway punctured through the ensemble allows the public to access the City Park from this arterial road. Framing the new City Park, the gateway creates an intriguing sense of depth.
Specific features of the building include a low-rise horizontal volume that hosts all the civic functions of the City Hall, and two independent vertical volumes that house the council and private offices.
The compact building has been organised to maximise energy efficiency and passive ventilation. The modular design enables the project to be built in phases. It also allows flexibility for the plan to be adapted over time if needed. The entire structure is made up of elements that can be prefabricated, hence saving time and costs on the construction.
As a green lung in the city, the Suncheon City Hall and its green corridor would reactivate the downtown, as well as offer a model for harmonious development that pays homage to the ecology, historicity and citizenry of the land.