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Nodeul Island 

Seoul, Korea
City of Seoul
Study and Exhibition Completed, October 2014
Cultural, Institution, Public Space Housing
Nahyun Hwang, David Eugin Moon, Justin Kollar  

Nodeul Island is a 120,000m2 uninhabited artificial island located in the Han River, Seoul, Korea, originally constructed by the Japanese government in 1917 replacing a sizable waterfront residential community on a natural sandy beach. Abandoned for more than 40 years since 1973, the island is one of many contested yet unoccupied territories in the city, shaped through Seoul’s complex colonial and developmental history. Recently since 2005, the island has been also the site of numerous failed projects, ambitiously promoted by different city administrations.

The project aims to suggest a new direction for the underutilized and disconnected yet centrally located land and explore possibilities of new productive civic space beyond the familiar leisurescapes of Seoul’s waterfront. Throughout the scheme, experimental public programs and supporting infrastructures are developed utilizing the characteristics of the “badt,” the small traditional Korean farming plot, also found in some portion of the site. Linking the individuals and collective, changeability and groundedness, the “badt” space provokes and supports diverse ideas of growth and sustainability. The large raised square “badt” structure integrates makers' work spaces, a series of local community living rooms, the communal gardens, and other experimental or temporary uses connected to infrastructure of an urban agriculture research center and library, and indoor and outdoor public forums underneath, allowing for each individual “badt” to be considered as an urban plot for new constructions and activities. As “badt” elements extend into the water, two new bridges become destinations while linking two sides of the river. The floating northern bridge and its barges connect to the existing waterfront park and bicycle lane system, and host farmers markets, urban agricultural markets, and mobile educational badts, which travels to different neighborhoods in the city. The new southern bridge is a thin light structure for pedestrians and bicycles that incorporates a continuous linear collection of small markets and other plug-in programs on its lower level, spanning over an impenetrable 14 lanes of roadways, embankments, and other obstacles along the river’s southern edge, connecting the city to the southwest corner of the central square badt on the Island.

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