Seosomun Historical Park is a tragic site that has been used as an execution site for state criminals for more than 400 years since the mid-Joseon Period. In particular, many Catholics were executed here, from the persecution in 1801 to 1866, and 44 of the executed Catholics became saints and established themselves as the largest Catholic holy place in Korea. Seosomun Historical Park was designated as a neighborhood park in 1973, but access roads were blocked due to the Gyeonggi Line railroad and Seosomun Overpass. Jung-gu, Seoul, has built the Seosomun Shrine History Museum with an exhibition hall with four basement floors and one ground floor and a memorial space since 2013. The museum was constructed in 1996 by remodeling a public parking lot, which was used, so the underground and ground relationship became an important architectural concept. Seosomun Historical Park symbolizes the historical justification and weight of the underground space. It boasts a wide range of trees throughout the four seasons and provides visitors with a rest area in the city. Key spaces in the museum include the Sanit Jeong Ha-sang Memorial Hall, the Consolation Hall, and Sky Square. Jeong Ha-sang was martyred at a four-way intersection outside Seosomun and all of his family were canonized, an unprecedented case in the world's church, and the space prepared to commemorate him is the Saint Ha-sang Memorial Hall. Consolation Hall is a place that symbolizes comfort, comforting everyone who sacrificed their lives in this land during the Joseon Dynasty, and providing rest to modern people who are tired of their busy lives. On the other side of the console hall is the Sky Square, which is surrounded by brick walls and naturally moves its gaze beyond the park above the ground to the sky.
Development Scale: Block
Total Development Cost: 65 billion won
Total Land Area: 21,363㎡
Total Development Area: 385.07㎡
Area Type: Urban Area - Downtown/Central Business Area
Start Date: 2014/12/01
Opening Date: 2019/06/01
Planning Approval: Tourism Resource Development Project Plan for Historic Sites Outside Seosomun (서소문 밖 역사유적지 관광자원화 사업계획, 13.7.27)
Lead Developer: Need Help
Consultants: Need Help
It is used by an average floating population of 390,000 people per day as a hub for railway transportation across the country, but businesses located at Seoul Station are limited to the retail sector, with food and beverage and clothing miscellaneous goods accounting for 93.6%. These small businesses are in a difficult situation to make a living for merchants due to high rents and low productivity, and there is no industry that has replaced the decline of local commercial districts, causing urban hollowing out. In particular, large discount marts such as Lotte Mart and Outlets are opening, dampening the surrounding commercial districts. Namdaemun Market, located nearby, continues to decline in foreign visitors, and the commercial district is stagnating due to the increasing vacancy rate.
Physical disconnection due to large-scale infrastructure such as slopes, Seoul Station, bus transfer centers, and elevated roads is serious, and walking connectivity with surrounding areas is weak. East-West regional imbalance is acute. In addition, due to hollowing out, walking safety at night is low and homeless and drunk problems are serious, creating a negative image. Seoul Station has a total population of 54,349 and a total of 27,473 households, and Jungnim-dong has the largest population decline, with 18,127 in 1985, but the number of residents decreases every year.
Cultural facilities such as Hanyang Fortress, Mokmyeoksan Beacon station Site, and Waryongmyo Shrine, Seoul Animation Center, Namsan Arts Center, and Culture Station Seoul 284 are located. In addition, Namdaemun Market, a representative traditional market in Korea, and Myeong-dong are located nearby, and there is a natural environment called Namsan, which has a strong location strength. Before Covid-19, it was an area where many foreign visitors visited.
Seosomun History Park is itself a space that reveals the historical symbolism of Seosomun. On the other hand, there are a number of modern and contemporary architectural assets near Seoul Station, including Sungnyemun Gate and Yakhyeon Cathedral, and Culture Station Seoul 284 (formerly Seoul Station), Japanese-style buildings, and Son Ki-jung Memorial Hall.
Tourism Resource Development Project for Historic Sites Outside Seosomun(서소문밖 역사유적지 관광자원화 사업)(2015)
Using the park area with high historical, cultural and religious values, existing neighborhood parks and underground parking lots will be reorganized into historical parks and exhibition experience spaces, as a result citizens' opportunities to enjoy culture and new urban tourism infrastructure will be established. (서소문 밖 역사유적지 관광자원화 사업, 2015)
By using Seosomun Park's ground and underground parking lot to create an exhibition experience space in the late Joseon Dynasty, it will be used as a new urban tourism resource and expanding opportunities for citizens to enjoy culture. The ground shall be rebuilt as a historical park, and part of the underground parking lot shall be remodeled into an exhibition hall and a memorial space. (서소문 밖 역사유적지 관광자원화 사업, 2015)
The Seosomun Shrine Regional History Museum is an operator of the Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul, but what should be done to understand neighboring religions and achieve an open religious culture? What and what should we do to become an institution that practices the calling of Catholicism, which means "universal"?
The area was already used as a park for long time, so there were no residents.
The underground and ground relationship is an important part of the architectural concept in constructing a historical memorial space by reorganizing the public parking lot space, which was built in 1996. It is planned to clarify the boundary between inside and outside the park and reveal the monument of the place through the empty central part, and include various activities of citizens. In other words, the park is surrounded by thick green areas, but the underground history museum square walls and core walls are revealed, suggesting an underground presence. The green space at the border is a circular walkway for citizens. The development of the space based on the unique status of the place is dramatized as a pilgrimage process, ranging from an entry ramp of 300 meters to a path to Sky Square surrounding a console hall in the museum and a path back to the ground. 서소문성지역사박물관 - 인터커드건축+보이드건축+레스건축. (2019). SPACE, 54(10), 56–77.
Tower honoring martyrs, statues in the park, entrance square 'Place of Light', lobby, martyr's door, Saint Jeong Ha-sang Memorial Hall, consolation hall, sky square, sky road A, sky road B, permanent exhibition room 1, library, museum shop, honor room, information desk
13.04 : Composition of the Seoul Metropolitan Council's Special Committee on the Creation of Seosomun History Park 13.07 : Establishment of a business plan (Jung-gu Seoul Metropolitan Government) 13.08 : Request for approval for free use of national land (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism) 13.10 : Authorization for free use of national land (Planning and Finance) 13.10 : Seoul Metropolitan Government's Investment Review Passed 13.11 : Initiate design competition management services 14.02 : Decision to change urban management plan (Neighborhood Park-History Park) 14.02 : Public announcement of design offerings (competition for general disclosure) 14.03 : Passing the Central Investment Review 14.03 : Delegation of national land management affairs (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism-Jung-gu Seoul Metropolitan Government) 14.06 : Accept, review, and decide winner 14.06 : Provision of implemented design expenses (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism-Seoul-Jung-gu) 14.12 : Initiate basic and implemented design services 15.09 : Special Committee for Supporting Tourism Resources Project outside Seosomun and Establishing Basic Design 15.10. : Grant granted in 2015 (5140 million won total / state budget 3,213, city budget 1,927) 15.11 : The Seoul Metropolitan Government passed the Construction Technology Review. Contract for Construction Project Management Services (CM) 15.12 : Pre-construction Contract 16.02 : Groundbreaking ceremony 16.03 : Grant granted in 2016 (4800 million won total / state budget 3,000, city budget 1,800) 16.06 : Procurement Service Review of Appropriateness of Implemented Design and Passed Unit Price Review 16.08 : Ministry of Strategy and Finance's decision to change total project costs 19.05 : Completion 19.06 : Opening
Completion. Limited opening due to Covid 19
What can be learned in this building is divided into three branches. First of all, it was interesting that it breathed new breath into underdeveloped areas. It was a great project in that it recycled abandoned land as a historical park and brought it back into people's arms as a resting place in the city. The second is the value of architecture itself, which was very clear in its construction logic and the materials were used in harmony. As a result, it won the Seoul Metropolitan Government Architecture Award for the best in 2019. Finally, it is a building with a controversial nature of religion, but it was a very impressive point as a public project that it minimized disputes by maintaining its neutrality.
It is most relevant to Catholicism in that many of the people who run the building and serve there are Catholics, but there are many family and lover visitors due to their architectural values.
The characteristics of the culture and history space are clear according to the original purpose, and the intention to provide rest and cultural experience to urban people has been successfully reflected. The strategy of recycling underground parking lots has also been successful, and the permanent exhibition hall has exposed some red bricks, revealing its historical character.
It is regrettable that the park area could have been used more diversely. Currently, the park area seems to have a prominent characteristic of simply entering the underground exhibition hall. It is expected that the space will be more useful through the installation of Pavilion or the hosting of cultural events.
As a building with very high architectural value, I think 65 billion won was never a waste of money. It was an impressive space that I think I will visit often in the future.
서울시 (2017.12) 서울역 일대 도시재생활성화계획 장민영 J. M. Y., & 한지애 H. J. (2020). 서소문성지역사박물관의 동선을 통해 본 공간과 경험의 대비. 대한건축학회 학술발표대회 논문집, 40(1), 454–455. 김영호. (2019). 서소문성지역사박물관 건립의 의의와 과제. 박물관학보, 37, 1–20. 서소문성지역사박물관 - 인터커드건축+보이드건축+레스건축. (2019). SPACE, 54(10), 56–77. 김선필. (2016). 서소문역사문화공원 조성사업의 쟁점과 함의. 경제와 사회, 112, 174–207. 장민영 J. M. Y., & 한지애 H. J. (2020). 서소문성지역사박물관의 동선을 통해 본 공간과 경험의 대비. 대한건축학회 학술발표대회 논문집, 40(1), 454–455. 서소문성지 역사박물관 사용설명서(Seosomun Shrine History Museum Brochure)