In <Where the movement stays> creator KiJun Kim analyzes and introduces the area of the parking lot in the main base of the city, the amount of car movements near the parking lot, and the speed of the car in the 3D datascape. Also, he presents the aspects of mobility is in the daily lives of residents in Seoul and Berlin through in-depth video interviews. How does Pilsoo Maing who studied in urban design and participated in designing various urban spaces including the Nodeulseom project look at this project?
Mobility in the context of the city
Architect KiJun Kim, a creator of <Where the movement stays> wants to weave and provide a universal and rational experience of mobility and the urban space that embraces it (DATASCAPE PARKING 2006 – 2020), as well as a public and emotional experience (Mobility x Space, Berlin x Seoul) through two complementary projects.
In the <Datascape Parking 2006-2020>, the creator captures not only the space where the mobility moves in the city, but also the space they stay must expand enormously in proportion through three-dimensional mapping about the status of Seoul’s parking lots over the past 15 years, and represents it to the audience to experience.
In the <Mobility x Space, Berlin x Seoul> the creator follows the traditional observations of the British architecture team Alison & Peter Smithson, Donald Appleyard of the US, and Jan Gehl of Denmark, and allows the audience to experience similarities and differences between two urban spaces where various mobilities have accumulated from different geographical and cultural contexts, by parallelly positioning filmed videos and sounds moving across livable urban streets (Gwanghwamun x Brandenburg, Gangnam x Ku’damm, Seongsu x Schönhauser, Itaewon x Sonnenallee) that have similar characteristics of Seoul and Berlin for simultaneous experiences.
As captured by creators, the explosion of mobility is one of the factors that has had a profound impact on our urban space since modern times. As it becomes an era that living space, working space, and shelter are separated in spaces, and the small roads of the city that people walked in the past have been exponentially expanded and re-created to accommodate cars and subways on the ground today, after carriages, bicycles, and trams. (And then, within a while, it was full again.)
Each region has been changed in various ways depending on how to control and keep the increased demand for mobility in the contexts respectively. As the creator KiJun Kim demonstrated in <Mobility x Space, Berlin x Seoul>, the historical main urban areas of Europe such as Brandenburg in Berlin response to minimize the spaces of parking lots by blocking or minimizing the trespassing of vehicles, and by responding to minimize the spaces of parking lots such as the streets inside of Gwanghwamun/The four main gates in Seoul and Ku’damm (Unfortunately, eight lanes of a road still lie in Gwanghwamun just ahead of the stereobate of palace). There are also ways to accept mobility as much as possible with wide grids for a driveway and deep underground parking lots, such as the newly planned Gangnam area in Seoul in 1970 and several new towns created afterwards. In some cases, mobility is just left as it is confused in the existing urban structures such as Seongsu and Itaewon.
Running through the city invisibly
The location and size of the parking lots where mobility stays, not only in the downtown area where the workplaces are gathered, but also in the residential areas, is the biggest factor that determines the quality of the space. New apartments and residential and commercial complexes may people prefer can occupy all vehicles in a spacious underground parking lot that connects directly from the apartment to the elevator, and can create a pleasant residential environment on the above-ground part filling with convenient facilities at a space of segregated pedestrian and vehicle. Meanwhile, older apartments face difficulties to create the sufficient environment that people demand now because the increased vehicles due to the changing era should be double-parked in a parking lot and the ground space is filled with driveways. In the areas of small multi-complex houses, multi-unit houses, there are alleys with minimum width that cars can barely pass through, and piloti parking lots that can barely fill the required number of cars for parking so that it is difficult to create small greenery and convenient facilities. Also, there are quite old residential areas where even parking is impossible or a fire truck cannot go in. (The areas consisting of small streets and buildings such as Gahoe-dong, Ikseon-dong, Euljiro, and Itaewon Gyeongnidan-gil have been restructured into walkable urban spaces that are differentiated from others based on difficult conditions for vehicles to enter and park.)
In this context, the question of where and how to control mobility that is rapidly increasing is an important topic for innovating today’s cities and architecture. At first, many large cities actively expanded roads for vehicles such as grounds, undergrounds, and elevated roads, but eventually people realized that it was impossible to expand to infinity, so now they have built public transportation networks that can handle much greater mobility than cars, such as subways, BRTs, trams, and associated urban spaces in three dimensions (Recently established GTX and Yeongdong-daero transit centers, TOD (Transit Oriented Development: promoting development of public transports) which is developing station influence areas). Also, the development of the space on the ground has been turned in the direction of restoring to an open space for pedestrians (such as Cheong Gye Cheon Restoration, Gyeongui Railway Forest Park, Gwanghwamun Square project).
Now, it seems that it is time to imagine how to bring out the fundamental changes that are taking place in vehicles, traditional mobility, into innovation of urban spaces. For example, if the currently developing self-driving functions can allow cars to drop passengers off to destinations like homes and companies, and then automatically move to parking lots on the street to coordinate with each other and stay efficiently as if they doing puzzles, a lot of parking spaces may not be needed everywhere, as KiJun Kim demonstrated. If the remaining parking spaces can be replaced with spaces for people, it may be possible to make eco-friendly cities other than demolishing the buildings to newly construct high rise apartments or residential and commercial complexes as of today.
The characteristics of a car that is movable, connected to a network that can share data with other objects, and considered as a space where various electronic/mechanical technologies are collectively combined, has the possibility to resiliently accept the various functions that are necessary for people depending on the times and places such as working, leisure, and housing. A car of the near future may play a new role in the cities becoming as a place to stay beyond the concept of a means of transportation to move wherever people want.
How to co-exist with mobility
To me, the most impressive moment in the project of <Where the movement stays> was <Mobility x Space, Berlin x Seoul> when I heard a bird’s cry sounds at Schönhauser Allee along with Seongsu in Seoul. In Berlin, many people were enjoying their spare time on benches under trees in small parks, or sitting at tables in sidewalk coffee shops, listening to birdsongs and the sound of wind passing through trees unlike Seoul where is mainly filled with cars passing and people walking around. It is time to rethink how to keep nature, leisure, and mobility together in the process of innovating urban spaces and mobility.
Pilsoo Maing (Architect, Professor)
Maing is CEO of mmk+, an architecture and urban design company, and an assistant professor of School of Architecture at Hongik University. He is an architect in New York State and is actively working as a public architect in Seoul. He prefers architecture that is blended with the landscapes, and participated in a space architecture project in Seoul and a urban design project in Perkins Eastman of New York. Especially, mmk+ is famous for its architecture which rebuilt Nodeulseom, a remote island located in Seoul city for 40 years as a multicultural space with a venue and yard.
KiJun Kim (Architect)
Kim is CEO at atelier KI JUN KIM. He is currently travelling between Berlin and Seoul, working on wide spectrum projects from object design to urban space planning. He completed the work <Where the movement stays> while continuing his research on the relationships and interactions between urban spaces and changing mobility concepts.