Significance of Sewun Mall
Historical Background of the Sewun Mall Site
However, as Imperial Japan collapsed and the Korean War broke out, this area was left without proper management and administration, which resulted in many illegal shacks occupied by refugees and fugitives from North Korea. In addition, unlicensed prostitutes increased in this area, and by the late 1960’s they formed a community called “Jongsam.”
<Figure 2> Inhyeon-dong Area
Design of Sewun Mall
Sewun Mall was planned to be a 1 km-long pedestrian-friendly mall with its pedestrian deck on the third floor of the buildings. On the first underground level, roads and parking lots were prepared to separate vehicle and pedestrian traffic. To connect the mall with nearby commercial areas in Jongno and Myeongdong, stairs were installed and connected with the pedestrian deck at connection points in Jongno, Cheonggyecheonro, Mareunnaegil and Toegyero.
Sewun Mall was designed as a business-residential complex, floors 1 to 4 were designed for businesses and the 5th – 8th floors were made into apartments. On the 5th floor in particular, an open space was prepared to include a park, playground and market. To make the residential space more comfortable, an atrium was built and apartments were designed with terraces.
The complex’s floor area ratio was 300%, but the net ratio excluding roads was planned to be up to 500%. The height of all buildings was kept at 8 floors, with part facing the arterial roads raised higher as a tower for a visual variation. To implement the “city in the city” concept, coffee shops, restaurants and clinics were placed on the 2nd and 4th floors with lower access and shopping malls were located on the 3rd floor to facilitate pedestrian traffic and sales. On the top of a building, an elementary school was built, to complete the complex as a city-like community.
Construction of Sewun Mall
In October 1966, Seoul City signed a design contract for Sewun Mall Zones A-D with Korea Engineering Consultants Corporation and went on to select the construction companies. Construction companies including Hyundai, Daerim, Poongjeon, Shinpoong, Samwon and Sampoong as well as the unions of land owners including the Asia Business Promotion Association and Cheonggye Business Corporation shared the expenses for purchasing the city-owned land and constructed facilities on it for sales and profit.
The Sewun Mall was constructed in 8 sections. In October 1967, the Hyundai Mall Apartments were completed. After that, the Asia Mall, Daerim, Cheonggye, Sampoong, Poongjeon, Sinseong and Jinyang Apartments and hotel were completed, and the construction of the whole district was completed in 1968.
Evaluation of Sewun Mall
① Positive Outcome
In addition to general store facilities, Sewun Mall accommodated totally new facilities including offices for congresspersons, adult entertainment facilities, churches, saunas, supermarkets, aerobics rooms and indoor golf courses, which created Seoul’s new culture in the 1970’s. As Sewun Mall became a more active business area, the rent and land price rose and the apartments on higher levels gained value.
② Negative Outcome
The plan to place an open space to separate and connect the commercial, residential and business functions on the 5th floor was not realized either. Public and convenience facilities such as the government office, police substation, schools, banks and top gardens planned for the “city in the city” concept were not implemented and the atrium and terraces originally planned were partly changed during construction.
Towards the end of the 1970’s, criticisms arose against the Sewun Mall complex. Its unique appearance and size encroached on the city landscape. The green areas from Bukhansan to Namsan via Jongmyo were cut through, and issues were caused by the vertical separation of traffic without much consideration of horizontal traffic. This was considered to interfere with Seoul’s city axis and functional connection between the blocks at the ends of the mall as well as further activation of neighboring blocks.
As the granted land and illegal shacks were left uncontrolled and prostitutes increased in this area, a need to manage this area emerged. Therefore, the Jung-gu Office set up the “Daehan Theater – Cheonggyecheon4-ga Planned Street Maintenance Plan,” and submitted a draft plan to build roads 20 m in width in the center and buildings 15 m in width on the sides of the planned street 50 m in width to Seoul Metropolitan Government. However, Seoul City rejected this draft plan due to a possibility to cause losses for the existing businesses and lack of road capacity.
After that, Seoul City requested O. Negler, a U.S. city planner working for HURPI to prepare an alternative option for the plan. The alternative option was to set up a building area 20 m in width in the center and roads 15 m in width on both sides. However, Negler’s plan was considered limited in that land rearrangement was difficult and too much empty space would be generated, raising the construction cost.
In July 1966, Mayor of Seoul Kim Hyeon-ok studied various options and consulted Architect Kim Su-geun for the design of the Sewun Mall and instructed Jongno-gu and Jung-gu to demolish the illegal buildings. At the same time, the city submitted a “Request for Assignment of Redevelopment Districts and Improvement of Poor Developments” to the Ministry of Construction. At the end of August of the same year, a site 50 m in width, 893 m in length, 44.650㎡ in total area was prepared by implementing an illegal settlement demolishment strategy promising compliant occupants rights to apartment residences and warning incompliant occupants that demolishment would be forced. On September 8th, a ground-breaking ceremony for the Asia Mall was held. On October 21st, Seoul City signed a design commissioning contract for Zones A, B, C and D of Sewun Mall with Korea Engineering Consultants Corporation. In November, the resolution for cancelling the planned street 50 m in width and assigning the improvement districts of poor developments passed by the central city planning committee.
Functional Decline of Sewun Mall and Discussions on Redevelopment
① Functional Decline
② Redevelopment Plan Established as a Solution to Functional Decline
· City Center Redevelopment Project Plan Research: Sewun Mall Area (1979)
However, land lots were small and it was hard to obtain consent from land owners. Therefore, a plan was suggested to enable small lot development while small lots separation plan and block development were encouraged.
· Sewun Mall District Redevelopment Project Plan (1984)
At the same time, the vertical arterial road on the east side was changed to an access road with less functions. Instead, city parks and pedestrian paths were added to complement the metropolitan green areas axis. The vertical arterial road function was moved to Baeogaegil connected to Namsan Tunnel No. 1.
However, it was difficult to convince small lot owners to participate in the project and finance the project. Therefore, it was suggested that the land division and organization method be used to proceed with the project and the total purchase option be introduced.
· Sewun Mall District, Sewun Mall Zones 2 and 3 Redevelopment Project Plan (1988)
To harmonize the horizontal arterial road and the Sewun Mall buildings, the construction line at both sides of the road 25 m in width was moved backward and public green areas were placed to complement the green areas axis. Beyond each road, a park was planned with underground public parking areas. Sewun Mall’s deck was landscaped as a pedestrian path and connected with nearby business areas. Also, as suggested in the previous plan, the roads on both sides of the mall were changed to a mid-sized one-way road 25 m in width.
However, considering that the lots were small and owned by a large number of land owners, it was suggested that a redevelopment union be formed and a total development method be used as an improvement to the land division development method.
|City Center Redevelopment Project Plan Research: Sewun Mall Area (1979)||Sewun Mall District Redevelopment Project Plan
|Sewun Mall District, Sewun Mall Zones 2 and 3 Redevelopment Project Plan
|Scope||§ East and west areas of Sewun Mall||§ East area of Sewun Mall||§ West area of Sewun Mall, Zones 2 and 3 added to the ‘84 plan|
|Purpose||§ Restoration of the new city center CBD function||§ Total reorganization of purpose and structure for activation of Sewun Mall||§ Preservation and activation of Sewun Mall
§ Public function enhanced after development
|Main Goals||Green areas creation||§ Creation of green areas vertically considering the pricing of the city center between Jongmyo and Namsan||§ Addition of city parks and pedestrian paths to complement metropolitan green areas axis
§ Landscaping of the midair path deck to complement the green areas axis
|§ Putting the construction line of the horizontal arterial road 25 m in width backward to strengthen the green areas axis|
|Pedestrian path building||§ New addition of a pedestrian path 10 m in width on the west side of Sewun Mall
§ Connection of Sewun Mall deck with nearby developments
|§ Activation of the midair pedestrian deck and creation of a resting area||§ Use of the midair deck as a pedestrian-only space
§ Smooth course planning with the business district
|Road and parking facility||§ Installation of an arterial road 30 m in width on the east side of Sewun Mall and connection with Namsan Tunnel No. 1
§ Expansion of Euljiro width
§ Use of the midair deck and road underneath as the parking area
|§ Expansion of Baeogaegil and connection with Namsan Tunnel No. 1
§ Reduction of function of the arterial road 30 m in width on the east side to the district access road
§ Preparation of a large parking area to activate business
|§ Planning of a mid-sized one-way road 25 m in width on both sides of Sewun Mall|
|Other||§ Building a shopping mall on the west side of Sewum Mall to expand its business function||§ Internal improvement of the Sewun Mall||§ 3D design rather than planar design|
|Method of implementation||§ Small lot division plan||§ Land division and organization method
§ Effect of total purchase induced
|§ Land division and organization method
§ Total redevelopment
Conflicts on Sewun Mall Reorganization Promotion Plan
① Background and Details of Sewun Mall Reorganization Promotion Plan
However, stakeholders disagreed on the redevelopment plan. The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) pointed out that the plan needed to be changed to preserve the cultural landscape of Jongmyo. Accordingly, Seoul City and Jung-gu Office created instructions for Sewun Zone 4 to resolve conflicts with that organization. Meanwhile, Jung-gu Office had conflicts with Seoul City regarding the height restrictions of skyscrapers. Seoul later promised to review this matter and alleviate restrictions if possible, thus resolving conflicts. Conflicts arose between Seoul City and the Office of Education over the site preparation for new schools in the district. These conflicts were resolved as the Office of Education accepted the plan to establish an additional elementary school on the Deoksu Middle School site. As such, conflicts were resolved, and the Sewun Reorganization Promotion Plan was confirmed in March 2009.
② Conflicts with ICOMOS and Resolution: Jongmyo
After that, 3 meetings were held to obtain advice, and the plan was adjusted. Jongno-gu pointed out that delay of the construction due to the height restriction for Jongmyo was increasing the financial losses on the part of the landowners and argued that the existing plan be kept to ensure the project is conducted as soon as possible. At this point, ICOMOS-Korea suggested that the height restriction be reconsidered and asked Seoul City and Jung-gu Office to allow the maximum height presented in the basic city and residential environment reorganization plan. It also suggested that part of the upper floors be used as various cultural facilities.
Jung-gu Office accepted these suggestions and adjusted the height of the buildings and changed some of the residential facilities in the block to business facilities to make up for reduction of business facilities caused by the height adjustment.
③ Conflicts with Jung-gu Office and Resolution: Height Plan
Jung-gu submitted this plan and hosted the “City Regeneration and Role of Skyscraper Construction,” promoting the need for skyscrapers. It also suggested that it was possible to create large open space through skyscrapers. However, Seoul City made it clear that it would adhere to the existing height restrictions. Conflicts between Jung-gu and Seoul City intensified as Jung-gu independently collected ideas for skyscrapers, promoted them through media and pursued a civil committee to ask for the removal of height restrictions in Jung-gu.
Later, Seoul negotiated with Jung-gu that it would consider alleviating height restrictions to enable skyscraper construction in Jung-gu, and reflect this plan in the Sewun Reorganization Promotion Plan and Jung-gu accepted this suggestion.
④ Conflicts with the Office of Education and Resolution: Provision of Schools
Accordingly, Seoul City explained that the applicable laws required the superintendent to set up a plan to purchase sites for schools and the account of the project operator would pay the expenses as per the plans set up by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources. Seoul also requested that a feasible school installation plan be established, noting that it was not possible to demand the developer to pay for the school site since the land price of the area for the school was 50-100 million KRW per 3.3㎡.
After that, Seoul City and the Central Office of Education further negotiated 4 times to agree on a decision to set up a plan for Sewun reorganization promotion within the scope of the regulations on school establishment. As a result, it was decided that it was a feasible plan to standardize the site for Deoksu Middle School and establish an elementary school on a separate site.
Changes to the Sewun Reorganization Promotion Plan and Future Plan
Later, Seoul City organized an expert T/F team with the participation of Jongno-gu, Jung-gu and SH and conducted 14 discussions. It also conducted research on the reorganization and interviewed residents (15 times) and gained consensus on the need to change the promotion plan and development directions. Finally, Seoul City cancelled the existing plan in 2009 and announced the Revision of the Sewun Reorganization Promotion Plan in 2013. Later in 2014, the Revision to the Sewun Reorganization Promotion Plan was confirmed and announced.
① Main Points of the Revision
The height of the new structures where Jongno and Toegyero meet was reduced from 90 m to 70 m, considering the cultural heritage in Jongmyo the landscape of Namsan and the building coverage ratio for zones where horizontal activation was needed or it was hard to secure a certain floor area ratio was revised from 60% to 80%. The floor area ratio was 600% for the city center business area, 100% incentive for the city center industrial activation area and 200% incentive for the area where the purpose needed to be converted. Also, the plan to add an elementary school was cancelled and it was decided to keep the current Deoksu Middle School.
② Plans and Operation
Kim, Jin-ae (2003), Praise Our City, Ahn Graphics
Seoul City (2009), The Records of the Sewun Reorganization Promotion District
Seoul Museum of History (2010), The Sewun Mall and Neighborhood