A Hyperabundant Future for Apgujeong's 100-year Master Plan
Los Angeles, CA – RIOS, the internationally renowned architecture and design collective, presents an innovative master plan focusing on hyperabundance for Apgujeong over the next 100 years as part of the 4th Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (SBAU) 2023. Under the Land Architecture, Land Urbanism theme, RIOS imagines the future of Apgujeong as a vibrant ecological tapestry that embraces the Han River and the historic flows of the landscape to build new urban sections horizontally and vertically while introducing biodiversity at every slope, terrace, and façade.
“Apgujeong has stood as a symbol of Korea’s rapid economic development and accumulation of wealth for the last decades,” said Katherine Harvey, Creative Director, Partner, and Landscape Architect at RIOS. “Although it’s become a thriving destination, as the city of Seoul prepares for a future with extreme weather events, population decline, and strains on resources, we see an opportunity to rethink the framework of the neighborhood, one that focuses on trading traditional, defensive infrastructure for biological systems that are adaptive and cumulative. This new urbanism will embrace dynamic weather while rewinding the ground with floodplain, valleys, and upland mounds as a base for buildings, structures, and infrastructure with a deepened connection to the landscape.”
In RIOS’ “Hyper-Abundant City” concept, the 100-year masterplan pulls the existing fabric of the adjacent Gangnam neighborhood into the site and extends the connection into the river, opening the site that currently stands as a barrier to river access and views.
Ecological plots are cultivated for evolving growth over time, revealing vertical villages inspired by the traditional Hanok, further connecting, and prioritizing the buildings, structures, infrastructure, and community towards a more social and natural connection.
The diversity of open spaces allows for the intermingling of landscape and cultural systems to bring inhabitants and visitors a greater connection to the water’s edge while also giving greater exposure to natural processes and resources evolving within the site.
In response to urban flooding, the ‘Hyper-Abundant City’ reintroduces the dynamics of shoreline islands that will promote habitat, water filtration, dissipation, and absorption of intense storm events. The concept looks to introduce natural and social forces external to the historic edges and open the land to receive water, reducing runoff into urban storm systems while retaining specific amounts of water to be slowly released once the storm surge has passed.
Natural systems along the Han River edge, considered the Wild Waterfront, take precedence as human activity is minimized to selected access points to allow land to be reclaimed by nature undisturbed. Within the internal site floodway, community uses are coupled with spaces for stormwater retention, functioning as spaces for public use and water collection for the city’s long-term well-being.
“When designing districts, we look to the local fabric to celebrate the identity of a place and to bring joy and wellness into the design of the built environment. For the future of Apgujeong, we recognize the value in blurring the boundaries between land and water, landscape and architecture, city and building to introduce an abundance that does not exist when each element is restricted to its category, typology, land use or singular function,” said Katherine Harvey.