WRITINGS / INTERVIEWS / LECTURES

GARAK FISH MARKET

Seoul, South Korea, 2009


The Garak Fish Market is the largest wholesale market in Korea. It covers 54 hectares or 540,000 square meters of land and is one kilometer long. This project, undertaken with Chang-jo Architects, was an invited competition intended to explore the future of the development of the market and in particular, how it could become more integrated with the city and the surrounding neighborhoods. Of particular concern was the visual chaos and smell associated with the market, and whether or not some type of enclosure was warranted.

Our point of departure was to split the site into two zones, one ‘natural’ and one ‘urban’. The West area, adjacent to the Tan Stream, is to be developed into wetland preserve and leisure area. The displaced market program is stacked onto the Eastern side of the market creating a hyper-dense, two-level organization. The intention is to urbanize the market by stemming its organic sprawl and creating sectional properties.

The design is characterized by a large roof which operates as a semi-enclosure, and interior space, and a community garden landscape on top. The structure of the roof begins as a regimented grid-like pattern to the East due to the strict column pattern required by the market functions, and it dissolves into a series of loose spiraling patterns as it nears the wetlands. The roof features double-pleats which are both structural and programmatic, forming embedded figural hollows. These hollows house restaurants and commercial activities, and feature views over the buzzing market below.

The roof gardens are a gift back to the local community of 55,000 residents around the site. They are broken down into a network of variously-sized plots driven by the structural patterning of the roof. Exotic color gradients of flower and vegetable fields will be planted, over time forming a kind of organic/synthetic jungle architecture.


Client: Seoul Municipal Government
Associate Architect: Chang-jo Architects, Seoul
Type: Fish Market
Floor Area: 540,000 SM