Historic Background of the Site
- Seunsangga Complex is located in the center of Seoul's historical district in Jongro-gu and Jung-gu and consists of seven shopping centers ('sangga') stretched across a kilometer from Jong-ro to Toegye-ro. To the north is Jongmyo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to the south is Namsan Mountain, and Jong-ro, Cheonggyecheon, Eulji-ro, Mareunnae-gil and Toegye-ro is crossing through the site from east to west.
- The land on which the complex was built was left as an empty lot during the Japanese colonial era towards the end of the Second World War (1945) to prevent fires created by bombings from spreading in the city. When the Korean War began in 1950 refugees started squatting, creating a substandard living district. The current Seunsangga Complex was designed by architect Kim Su-geun(1931~1986) in the late 1960s as Korea's first downtown redevelopment project. It was a three-dimensional city that separated pedestrians and vehicles with mega-structures and artificial land that stretched from north to south. Constructed from 1967 to 1972, Seunsangga Complex was Korea's first mixed-use building that combined residential and commercial spaces as well as amenities which gained popularity among noted public figures at the time. It also has meaning in architectural history as a mega-structure building in urban area that realizes a new paradigm of post-20th century urban architecture.
- However, now Seunsangga Complex is considered a dilapidated and ugly building, an eyesore that stretches from north to south that hinders development, a 'forgotten space'. When Cheonggyecheon was restored as part of the downtown revitalization project in the early 2000s, part of the decks that constituted the connecting walkways were taken down or remodeled. The Seun Regeneration Promotion planning in 2006 had planed demolish all the Seunsangga Complex buildings to create a park, and Hyundae-Sangga which is closest to Jongmyo was torn down to make way for a park(Seun Greenway Park). However due to social and economical shifts since the plan was announced, changes were made in the plan in March of 2014 and the current shopping complex was salvaged. (Referential information : International Forum on Seun District, Downtown Seoul, December 16, 2013, link)