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  • Seoul’s New Gwanghwamun to Return to the Citizens in 2021 with Announcement of International Design Competition Winners

  • SMG 2049

    Gwanghwamun Square will be returned to citizens in 2021, transformed into a national symbolic plaza and open democratic space with treasured historicity.

    The road in front of Sejong Center for the Performing Arts will be made into a public square to expand the area to 3.7 times the current size, and the three separate underground spaces, including Haechi Plaza, will be integrated to form a new square. By successfully combining the areas of Gwanghwamun Square, the historic landscape that leads from Bugaksan Mountain to the Hangang River will be restored.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the final winner of the International Design Competition, the future blueprint of the new Gwanghwamun Square, on the 21st. The winning work is “Deep Surface” (Awaken the past and future), which won against a competitive ratio of 70:1.
    The competition proved as popular as the symbolic growth of ‘Gwanghwamun Square,’ through the participation of 202 architects and landscaping experts of 70 teams from 17 countries.

    The winning design plans to actualize three goals that reflect the city’s general direction. These three goals are: ①completion of a national symbolic axis (Bugaksan Mountain – Gwanghwamun Square – Sungnyemun Gate – Yongsan – Hangang River) through restoration of Jujak-daero (Yukjo-geori), ②creation of a citizen-oriented space of multi-leveled memories through the dimensional connection of the above-ground and underground squares, and ③reconstruction of the Korean landscape that joins nature and the city (Bugaksan Mountain – Gyeongbokgung Palace – Gwanghwamun Plaza).

    The concept of the above-ground space is “Empty,” while that of the underground space is “Full.” The above-ground square will pull together the rather unorganized structures and arrangements nearby, to allow for a clear view of Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bugaksan Mountain, and will be an open space for various large-scale events. The underground square will be a space of relaxation, culture, education, and experience, filled with year-round cultural events such as concerts and exhibitions.

    Seoul has designated this project as the “New Gwanghwamun Project,” and the future Gwanghwamun Square presented by the winning work will be actualized without setbacks, while extensively innovating the Gwanghwamun city space to encompass history, culture, transportation, and landscape environment.

    Seoul will host an award ceremony on the 25th (Friday) in the eighth floor Multi-Purpose Hall of Seoul City Hall. The winning design and other works will be revealed and exhibited to the public in the City Hall lobby and Gwanghwamun Haechi Plaza.

    Winning Design

    Gwanghwamun Square comparison photos (past·present·future)


    < 1974 Gwanghwamun Square (Source: National Archives of Korea) >


    < Present state of Gwanghwamun Square >


    < Formation plan (proposed) for Gwanghwamun Square >