Saemangeum Island City
Paju Book City, Korea
ARU was selected as one of seven international design teams to make an urban design proposal for a new city, on the basis of designing the urban landscape of Paju Book City in Korea. The Saemangeum project is a large 400 km2 land reclamation project on the west coast of the Korean peninsula. A 33 km long sea wall, the longest in the world, was built to enable the land reclamation. The construction of the wall started in 1991 and was completed in 2006. The Government of Korea is planning to build a new city to house a population of approximately 680,000 people.
The first step in the design process was to make a phased plan of eight new islands within the fresh water lake that now exists behind the Saemangeum Sea Wall. In the interest of feasibility of reclamation, the islands have been located and shaped to take advantage of the existing lakebed topography. The landscape infrastructure is a canvas for city life, specific in determining the spatial quality of the city and its relationship to its surroundings, yet indeterminate in the manner in which they are inhabited.
Many scenarios can take place on these islands, and into the future. The landscape infrastructure is like a theatrical stage on which the activities of the city can take place. Many different scenes are acted out on a stage. As an important part of the design process, when deciding about the position, shape and size of the islands, careful judgements were made about the experience that one will have when looking across the water from one island to another. To learn about the appropriate viewing distances and proportions of the water bodies between islands, water bodies in the cities of Cadiz, in southern Spain, the archipelago city of Stockholm in Sweden, and the islands in Venice, Italy were studied and measured.
Specificity ensures that the city will form meaningful connections with the surrounding landscape and be a stimulating place to spend time. These islands ensure the new city spaces have a good connection to the landscape and give a memory of the landscape in the city.