Architecture Students Win International Design Workshop Grand Prize


A team of fifth-year School of Architecture students have won the grand prize at this year’s Busan International Architectural Design Workshop (BIADW)—an intensive academic program intended to encourage rigorous research and ideas creation of architecture major students from around the world—for their project, “Connective Corridor,” which introduces a ferry system and waterfront revitalization to Busanwondong railway station on the Donghae Line, a gateway in Busan.

Held annually during the summer since 2003, the BIADW competition is offered by the Busan Architecture Festival and invites students to investigate a wide array of creative architectural and urban design approaches in the context of the 21st-century urban culture.

Connective Corridor plan

Responding to the theme, “Megacity: Gate Networking,” teams consisting of one guiding professor and three students were asked to propose a development plan for Busan’s railway network and its stations near the East Sea, which has been one of the most important factors in determining the success of the ‘Busan Ulsan Gyeongnam (Buul-gyeong) megacity’ in Seoul.

This year, 15 tutors and 45 students from both domestic and overseas universities participated in the online workshop, which took place over the course of 17 days and included two proposal critiques, with the goal of interpreting the topic within a limited time and presenting architectural alternatives to the targeted sites.

Guided by Daekwon Park, undergraduate chair and assistant professor at the School of Architecture, the Syracuse University student team of Nicholas Chung ’23 (B.Arch.), Chenhao Luo ’23 (B.Arch.) and Zhi Zheng ’23 (B .Arch.) was assigned Busanwondong, the railway station on the first stage of the Donghae Line in South Korea, as the site for their intervention.

At one time, the Donghae Line railway network served as a driving force in Busan’s development and as a gateway into the city. Though its history and surrounding developments are currently underestimated in utility and importance compared to the past, the train line is still a crucial artery that strings up the coastal cities like a beaded necklace, linking South Korea’s eastern shoreline to the rest of country and beyond.

The School of Architecture team began its research into the Busanwondong station by first understanding the significance of the Donghae Line through various scales, given that the route itself has a rich historic narrative and vast geographical range, passing through three provinces. With Busanwondong station cantilevering above the Suyeong River, the team saw an opportunity to leverage the river as a new mobility option through the introduction of a ferry system that stops at various commercial sites and transit ports, offering a new way for people to move along the coastal boundary of Busan.

Architectural plan for project in South Korea

Connective Corridor vignettes

Through analysis of Busanwondong station’s demographics and usage patterns, the team revealed the need for civic, cultural and recreational programs and proposed activating the riverbanks by extending the existing coastal landscaping upstream from the bay, creating a resilient green corridor that proliferates into the surrounding urban landscape , repaving streets and activating urban voids that become third spaces for locals.

A series of elevated expressways flanking the Suyeong River and Busanwondong station are transformed into porous membranes that invite people to come together while pragmatically and symbolically activating Busan’s metropolitan periphery—the water that is so vital to the identity of Busan becomes the hearth of the community.

The team’s transformation of the waterfront becomes an instigator that triggers a series of complementary design proposals compounding on each other to form a series of robust and diverse networks for local communities.

After undergoing a series of critiques and revisions, the Syracuse University team’s project was selected by the jurors to receive the grand prize, presented by the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

“Although the workshop was only 17 days, my students were able to formulate a thoughtful proposal based on rigorous site analysis and topic interpretation,” says Park. “Their research on mobility systems (train, highway and ferry systems), waterfront development and neighborhood needs are compelling, and the strategy to use the river floodplain as a catalyst for regenerating the neighborhood is intriguing.”

“We hope our design can belong as part of a larger conversation of how the urban environment should be a dynamic reflection of its people and how it should adapt to indigenous residents’ needs,” says the team members.

To view a video of the team’s winning submission, visit drive.google.com/file/d/1V0TbaRJhUqWioonw_Ixd3QSkyiB79IkS/view.

An exhibition featuring work produced during this year’s BIADW competition will be on display during the Busan Architecture Festival in October.

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