UNDER STAND AVENUE is a cooperative project of the public, companies and non-profit foundation. This project is designed in a experimental way compared to the existing constructions in Korea using the 116 containers, so it has distinctive exterior and openness. In the phase of designing, environmental context was in consideration that even though the exterior design is quite exotic, it is in harmony with the surroundings. Also, the objectives and programs of the project are to coexist with the neighbor and help the socially-weak and youth that contributing to the local community and economy. Many foreign workers, the disabled and the old are employed at the stores in this place, being respected and supported to become self-reliant. Moreover, special events like the musical performances or the talent donation of famous specialists make the place more vibrant. This project is worth to be called a ‘good’ development in many ways, having positive influences on the spot.
Development Scale: Block
Total Development Cost: 10.2 billion won, site provided free of charge by Seongdong-gu
Total Land Area: 4,126㎡
Total Development Area: N/A
Area Type: Urban Area - Urban Residential Area
Start Date: 2015/01/01
Opening Date: 2016/04/18
Planning Approval: Not Available
Lead Developer: ARCON, Seongdong-gu
Consultants: METAA Architects&Associates (CEO Uijeong Woo, Director Sangjin Lee, Eunsook Lee, H-Sung Kim, Youngbae Kim, Arm Sin)
Seongdong-gu is rapidly developing around Wangsimni, where Seongdong-gu Office is located. The old factories and buildings are being refilled with new buildings one after another. Along with this, Seongsu-dong is reborn as a new wealthy village as high-end residential and commercial complexes are successively built.
Seongsu-dong, there are small factories such as handmade shoes and printing, but at the same time, residential complexes are concentrated. In addition, recently, it is all the rage for young people in Seoul as it is called the second Gyeongnidan-gil. Seongsu-dong was the space where various roles were mixed.
Seongsu-dong is a semi-industrial area where small-scale factories bordered by the Han River and Jungnangcheon, and a general residential area where apartments and houses are mixed. Seongsu-dong is also a place where 70% of Korean handmade shoe manufacturers are gathered. Also, the site is directly connected to Seoul Forest, which is a large park built on the site of the Ttukseom Racecourse in the past.
Improvement of the environment around Seoul Forest, Preparation of site utilization plan, Basic data survey and interview on public interest companies and culture and arts organizations in Seongsu-dong, Holding an open table to collect opinions from private experts.
“We contribute to human society by creating sustainable shared values so that everyone can discover their vocation, become self-reliant, and grow.” (https://m.understandavenue.com/about/philosophy)
Objectives: The purpose of the establishment can be seen from the name. ‘Under’ means below, ‘stand’ means to stand up, and ‘avenue’ means 'a space that helps the socially vulnerable to become self-reliant.', Creation of a creative public cultural space-to create a system in which visitors and partners grow together through a virtuous circle of profits. (representative Seon-ah Kim), Goals: Support the underprivileged through each business and use it as an opportunity to discover excellent human resources and products (Lotte Duty Free)
First of all, Seongdong-gu needed an exhibition hall for SMEs concentrated in Seongsu-dong and an increasing number of young innovative companies. Also, the site was abandoned in the center of the urban area, being unable to be constructed the buildings due to the feature of the site.
Boxpark(London), NDSM (Netherlands), Round House(London)
As the project is where local government, non-profit public interest organizations, and companies work together, the public and private needs and concerned problems were collected from many points of view. Seongdong-gu decides to take on the roles of policy establishment and promotion, spatial infrastructure creation, management and operation. Lotte Duty Free will support the social contribution fund and play a role in operation and promotion. Finally, Arcon, a non-profit public interest organization, is in charge of the establishment of facilities and the overall implementation of the program. It is a key role, but Arcon take on a role that local governments and private companies cannot.
From building construction to labor costs and maintenance costs invested for continuous program operation are covered by corporate social contribution expenses. About 25% of operating expenses are covered by income from profitable businesses for non-profit businesses like operation of cafes with married immigrant women. Other expenses are operated by corporate sponsorship and operating company funds. Program project costs are used as donations from partner companies, so the operator agrees with the partner companies on the direction and progress of the project in advance and uses them as project expenses for the project.
Companies entering this area mainly use women from multicultural families or single-parent families as employees, and provide education and employment opportunities to youth. In addition, the space here has its own characteristics and contributes to society, such as being supported by offices for young entrepreneurs.
Overall scale of this project is in 120m long and 30m wide. Since it is a site that cannot be built, modular architecture was used, using 116 containers, Rhizome structure, which is a trend of modern architecture. The tallest building is on the 3rd floor, but this was also set at a height that does not cover the trees of the Seoul Forest. Mainly chose dark green and blue to harmonize with nature, and there are some containers painted in purple or orange to give vibrancy and uniqueness of the place. There are various spaces in the workshop (exhibition hall) where the space between the building and the building is wide open (maximum width of 14m), and in one space to view the Seoul Forest from a distance so you can enjoy the forest and rest. The public purpose is taken into consideration, and attention was paid to the use of the space in consideration of the fact that it is still used as a plaza site.
Youth Stand: Competency development, vocational training, and employment linkage for youths of the vulnerable class (nail shops, cooking class), Mom Stand: Self-reliance support for underprivileged women such as cafes for immigrant women employment (Cafe BRINNER, Restaurant BISTRO HIVE), Heart Stand: Support for emotional workers' stress relief and strengthening family relations for families in crisis (Children's activity room, Consultation room), Art Stand: Exhibition and performance complex hall for emerging artists and designers, Power Stand: Support for youth innovation start-ups such as cloud contact center (Startup support, coworking space), Social Stand: Support for social and youth companies such as cultural art and design product editing shops (WALKSHOP-shops), Open Stand: Social enterprise, youth venture, artist pop-up shop support
2015. 01: MOU signed by Seongdong-gu-Arcon-LotteDutyFree 2015. 08: Start of construction 2016. 04: Opening of UNDER STAND AVENUE 2017. 12: Operational partnership agreement signed by Arcon-ShinhanBank
6.8 million accumulated visits since the opening, more than 1.3 million annual visits, being considered as a representative popular spot. The programs were operated fairly well for years but since 2018, after the sponsored company had been switched to Shinhan Bank, compared to the initial programs focused on the help to the socially weak, it is now more paying attention to the youth employment platform that combines job programs and cultural cultural activities. Moreover, the annual maintenance fee and operating expenses are about 4 billion won in total but it is always in a deficit, just offseted with the operating company.
Public-Private-Company win-win cooperation
Master plan for the construction itself considered the sustainability, environmentally-friendliness and contribution to the society. These characteristics are the ones that needed for the future architecture these days and it is about the development oriented to 'people'. This project is 'good' project in overall that satisfied the requirements of the era.
Strategy to employ the socially weak and help the starting youth businesses
I hope the site and the construction of this project should have been bigger. The open space of this project is too small to embrace the name of 'cultural center'. Also, the programs provided by this space should differentiate itself from other mixed-purpose cultural spaces, to be competence over others.
Despite Seongdong-gu provided the site for free of charge to this project, the scale, presence and influence to the surroundings of the site compared to the scale of cost invested to the project is quite little. I think the annual investment can be used more efficiently than now. Also, I don't really think a project being in deficit every year will last a long time.