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A New Residents-Driven Housing Model

With the vision to translate residents’ wishes into a design, the Ben van Berkel / UNStudio and Heerim Architects & Planners consortium have delivered a winning scheme for the Eunma Housing redevelopment in Seoul, South Korea.



BY Sylvia Chan

December 1st, 2016


In July 2016, the Ben van Berkel / UNStudio and Heerim Architects & Planners consortium won an international competition to redevelop the Eunma Housing in Daechi-Dong, Seoul. The project will transform the existing 35-storey residential towers into 50-storey towers, adding 1,500 apartments to the 4,424 apartments that are currently in the residential complex.

The selection of the winning design was based on a voting by existing residents, who will continue to live in the complex after the redevelopment. The consortium’s design was resident-driven. To understand the residents’ needs, a survey was carried out. “The results of the survey were actively applied in our design proposal,” says the consortium spokesperson.

Based on the opinions of the residents, who would like to have a one-stop lifestyle complex, the consortium delivered a design driven by the philosophy of “live, work and play”. The design features 32 residential towers of four building types and six themed gardens that will create public spaces within the residential complex. Buildings close to the edge of the site will be low-rise, responding to the surrounding streets. The Dragon Towers and the Professional Towers will give iconicity to the complex. The two corner towers will suggest a connection with the urban fabric and mark the subway stations that are connected to the complex.

All the residential towers will have elevated semi-public spaces housing community programmes. The spokesperson says, “The elevated semi-public spaces are necessary for the division and transition between the private areas for residents and the public areas.”

The residential complex will be connected to the surrounding urban fabric via streets lined with retail, food and beverage, and leisure programmes. Educational centres and libraries, as well as sports and recreational facilities will be built adjacent to the complex. The spokesperson says, “The main aim of the project is to perfectly realise the residents’ desired lifestyle within the complex, and to create a sense of pride for the current residents.” He adds that the project will integrate harmoniously with the surrounding urban spaces.

Another wish of the residents is to maintain natural ventilation and solar exposure within the existing complex. The consortium designed a south-orientated and cross-ventilated tower typology, which will allow all residents to enjoy natural lighting, ventilation, and a healthy living environment.

In order to realise the wishes of the end users, it was essential for the architect to be very aware of and open to the residents’ opinions and wishes, the spokesperson explains. He says, “We have an active willingness to resolve the problems presented to us. We possess creative design abilities and a design expression that appeals to the current residents.” He adds that the main role of the architect in the project was to translate the vision of the client to a design.

The consortium believes that as there will be more upcoming redevelopment projects due to the aging of buildings, the resident-driven model will become more widely practiced.

Eunma Housing is set to complete in 2023.