Seoul Formless_2.1

With each step we experience the rise and fall of Seoul's urban topography. The city is shaped by contours, viewed  through pedestrian spaces of yesterday and today. Links between here and there are captured in laborious step and breath. With few exceptions the architecture and buildings that dress these slopes do so in clustered masses of indeterminate form; hillsides are blanketed with irregularity and density.

The city is experienced in actions. Carefully aware of the irregular rise from step to step, one is reminded of natures imperfections and the city as a place of formless possibility to mirror that of nature. 

Seoul Formless_2

Image reference SDI, 1961

Topography is at the heart of Korean consciousness and life. In a country more than 70% mountainous it is the lay of land that is a constant force against building, dwelling and urban form. In the recent past as seen in the image above from 1961, illegal villages and districts of Seoul were constructed in less than desirable locations, often to avoid inspection and notice from city officials. The results of which were meandering clusters on steep terrain, isolated and removed from the cities center.
Many such places have long disappeared but remain as documented reminders of how city and land form combine. Improvisation and necessity intertwined, rendering the city formless.

Seoul Formless

Old and new collide in Seoul's layered core. Service industry and corporate interests shape the cities inner block structure where makeshift buildings and office towers stand side by side in contrasting function. The result is formless whereby urban organization dissolves in fragments. Order and structure give way to dissorder and a patchwork of  yesterday and today.

The cities evolution couldn't be more clear in intersections such as these. At once time appears frozen in reflections of foundational industry and how these places established Seoul as a major urban center. The city around such places continues to evolve quickly in speculative transformations. The combination of these two conditions creates a complex and formless identity.