Yeonsu Youth Center
Hong Geunpyo: Wemoowe Architects
"Site as Component of Community Cluster"
The site is part of the only community zone within the Landmark City, located north of Songdo International city center. The ambitious master-planned development plan includes multiple high-rise buildings and luxury residential buildings with abundant natural landscapes. The project's site is relatively remote. The size is quite insignificant; nevertheless, it is part of the only community block within the entire city that can generate a sense of place and bring the community together.
The site completes a cluster of the urban community block with the surrounding public buildings. Each parcel with designated site coverage and FAR provides decent open spaces. However, the open spaces are planned for individual sites rather than the entire block due to the segmented developments. The main facades of the two adjacent buildings face the streets primarily, the backsides neighboring the project site. How will we respond to this urban condition and create a meaningful, substantial community cluster?
“Reticulating open spaces for community block.”
The proposal starts with extending the adjacent public spaces into the project site. By giving in to the conventional front plaza, the project proposes a backyard as the central open space, which will become the center of the block. The reticulation of the public spaces to generate a collegial urban block is the utmost important goal.
Considering the connection to the community plaza and neighboring buildings, the shared public programs, swimming pool, gym, and playground are located at the project's podium.
Youth programs that include various specialized activities are grouped considering their spatial needs. Then are carefully plugged in and above the community program boxes, creating opportunities for outdoor breakout spaces in-between. In addition, most of the program spaces will have direct access to either outdoor or gallery spaces designed to enable temporary expansions as needed.
"The Boxes within a Box: constraints for flexibility."
Flexibility often appears as an attractive architectural concept often suggested with "provision of oversized space first, and division later." However, many buildings designed for flexible uses are often relatively inflexible due to insufficient building systems or/and irresponsible planning. The three boxes are proposed based on the grouping of functional similarities; the Communication box, Creator box, and Movement box. Systems such as structure, acoustics, audio and visual can be optimized, and the user's level of acceptance for any unexpected discomfort such as vibration can be locally controlled.
The youth and community program boxes are conceived as larger rooms within a box that encloses the in-between spaces. This larger box connects the three distinctive program zones grouped their functional needs and provides a continuous gallery space for visual and physical connectivity. The top surface of the virtual box serves as the outdoor platform for each youth program. The circulating outdoor stairs connect these youth platforms to the ground-level plaza, creating a unique vertical urban park.