Snøhetta at the 4th Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (SBAU)

Snøhetta participated at the opening forum of Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism and has two exhibitions running between September 01 and October 29, 2023.

The 4th SBAU, themed “Land Architecture, Land Urbanism”, hosted a 2-day opening forum to discuss the role of design in connecting urban environments to the ecological fabric and restoring the natural topography in cities.
Robert Greenwood, Partner and Director of Asia Pacific at Snøhetta, presented a talk titled “An Angle of Perception: Above, On & Under” to discuss our topographical approach to design, emphasizing the relationships between land, architecture, and people.

Using the Oslo Opera House and some of our other projects as examples, the talk touched upon two concepts: architecture of perception and the experience of architecture. Depending on how we view or inhabit the building, our perception of the space changes—often dictating the experience that follows. These shifts in perception and experience create moments of intimacy, collective gathering, and social interaction. At the same time, it also defines the relationship between the user and surrounding landscape or urban realm.

The Thematic Exhibition includes a recorded interview with our co-founding Partner Kjetil Thorsen. He articulates his perspective on “Land Architecture” and discusses how the Oslo Opera House responds to its environment to craft a monumental public space.

Snøhetta’s approach to design does not treat buildings and objects in isolation. Rather, the architecture is fused with the landscape it sits in, morphing the built with the unbuilt. Our responsibility to land begins with acknowledging the context and its history across time. The architecture we make holds the connection between nature and humans at the forefront, never compromising on the “Right to Roam” or free access to public space and waterfronts.

The Seoul 100-year Masterplan Exhibition displays Snøhetta’s design vision for Seoul’s future; addressing several developmental issues from annual flood events to segregated grid block communities. The research identifies underlying tributaries of Seoul’s land formation. Focusing on Gangnam District the design proposes a city restructuring by restoring waterways and rehabilitating the ecological layer within the urban fabric fostering both environmental biodiversity and social community.

The area reclaimed along the water tributaries can be gradually turned into a public parks to establish viable blue-green infrastructure for the city, beginning with the plots of land that are currently empty. The proposed methodology is limited to a quantitative approach of redistribution while maintaining the density accepted in the Gangnam area as much as possible. It does not deal with the complex matters of actual land ownership, compensation, and its procedures. However, it was intended to show a substantially realistic vision if supported by appropriate strategies, plans, and research.