Paju Book City

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Paju Bookmaker Street, photo: Kim JongOh
Paju Factories and highway, photo: Kim JongOh
Paju Book City at night, photo: Kim JongOh
ARU model of paju book city landscape script
landscape script
distribution center under construction, photo: P. Christou, March 02
Asian Publication Culture and Information Centre, photo: P. Christou, March 02
Urban Wetland
urban design plan, F. Beigel
bookshelf building, illustrating the strata of the wetland and the strata of the horizon
Collage of distribution centre with land-roof

Paju Book City - Landscape Script

Urban and Landscape Concept Design of Paju Book City, 1999

Florian Beigel + ARU

In the spring of 1999, ARU made the landscape and urban design of the first phase of Paju Book City. This is a new 'City of Publishing' on a very large site (approx. 396,000 square meters) next to the Han River north west of Seoul. There are now more than 50 completed separate buildings for publishing companies, offices, printing works and public facilities at Paju. The 2nd Phase urban plan is currently being planned.

Making an urban wetland

The central theme of the design of Paju Book City is that it should become a built collective memory of the ancient and large landscape of the Han River at the foot of the Simhak Mountain at Paju - the guardian of the new city. This is an epic landscape. Viewing the river and the blue hills beyond when one stands on the slopes of the mountain makes one think about the human condition and about our potentials or our weaknesses. Paju Book City should tell the story that it is built on land claimed from the River.

Paju Book City will become a territory of co-existence between nature and artificiality.

It is an urban wetland - a co-existence between reed-land and urban structures. One of the fundamental aims for Paju Book City is to be a sustainable development, an ecological urbanism of the early 21st Century.

Urban strata and views

The motorway that is between the Book city and the edge of the Han River, is built on an 8–10 meter high embankment. This has generated the genius loci for Paju Book City. It protects the Book City from flooding. It also is an urban lifeline connecting the Book City to the Centre of Seoul and to the airport. The flood protection embankment of the motorway has generated an urban stratification strategy for the Book City. Roughly speaking the first 2 storeys of the new Book City are part of the lower urban strata belonging to the ground, to the wetland, to the streets, to the public space. The third and fourth storeys of the city are part of the upper urban strata belonging to the horizon, with the large view of the River and the mountains beyond and with the view of the Simhak Mountain.

Paju landscape script

The urban texture of the new Book City consists basically of 4 long urban structures following the traces in the landscape parallel to the river. The printing factories in the shadow of the motorway form a long chain of goods yards overlooked by the 4-storey buildings of the Bookmaker Street. The pattern of the Urban Island at the south end of the Book City is radiating from the mountain to the river. The large Distribution Center forms an artificial hill in the wetland at the foot of the mountain as an entrance to Paju Book City from the motorway. All of these urban structures have been formed by their specific relationships to the landscape.

Core Team for Paju Bookcity Design Guide, 1999

Seung Hchioh Sang, Co-ordinator; Florian Beigel; Kim Jong Kyu; Kim Young Joon; Min Hyun Sik.


Bookcity Culture Foundation & Cooperative of Paju Bookcity, Mr. Yi Ki-Ung, Chairman

Selected Publications

Paju Bookcity Culturescape
edited by Seung H-sang, Kimoondang Publishing Co., 2010, 'Positive thinking people', p. 120-123; ISBN: 978-89-6225-198-2.
Architectural Design
Landscape Architecture Site/Non-Site, Guest-edited by Michael Spens, ‘Landscapes of the Second Nature, Emptiness as a Non-Site Space’, by Michael Spens, Vol 77, No 2, March-April 2007, p. 88-97, ISBN: 13 9780470034798, ISBN: 10 0470034793.
‘P’aju Book and Media City, near Seoul, Korea, Landscape as Infrastructure for New Cities’, by Florian Beigel and Philip Christou, issue 57, 2006, p.38-44, ISBN13: 978-3-7667-1713-9.
'Paju Book City South Korea, by Tim Abrahams, Dec. 2006, p.56-62.
'Korea boost', by Andrew Yang, issue 92, Oct. 2006, p. 350-360.
Paju Book City
Korea, exib catalogue, Aedes West, Berlin, 2005, ISBN: 3-937093-52-2.
Seung H-Sang, Culturescape
exib catalogue, Aedes East, Berlin, 2005, p.18-21, ISBN: 3-937093-52-4.
'In praise of emptiness', by Joseph Grimma, March 2005, p.30-47.
Context 3 Korea
'The Architectural Design of YoulHwaDang Publishing House in the context of the plan of the urban landscape of Paju Bookcity', Issue 241, Sept. 2004, ISSN 1227-611103, p.40-61.
Landscape Urbanism
A Manual for the Machinic Landscape, edited by Mohsen Mostafavi and Ciro Najle, AA Publications, London, 2003, 'Designing the rug and not the Picnic: Paju Landscape Script, Paju Book City, Seoul, Korea, 1999 - Present', p.76-81, ISBN:I 902902 30 0.
Building Design
'The written world, by Ellis Woodman, 18 June, 2004, p.12-18.
Building Design
'Decent exposure', by Kieran Long, 09.03.01, p.14-17.
Città: Less Aesthetics More Ethics, La Biennale di Venezia, 'Paju Book City'
Marsilio Editori, Venezia, 2000, p.144-145.
Context 3 Korea
architecture urbanism landscape, 'Communality - Architectural Exhibition, Phase 1, Paju Book City', issue no. 198, 12.99, p. 122-131.
Context 3 Korea
architecture urbanism landscape, 'Paju Book City architectural guidelines', Florian Beigel, Min Hyun Sik, Seung Hchioh Sang, Kim Jong Kyu, Kim Young Joon, issue no.184, 12.99, p.38-50.