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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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