An open international ideas competition has been launched for the $86.5 million regeneration of a disused nuclear bunker in Busan, South Korea (Deadline: 20 May)
Backed by Busan Metropolitan City and site owner Kyungdong Construction, the contest seeks ‘creative and unique’ proposals for the 4,330m² underground structure.
The abandoned complex, located in the foothills of Hwangnyoengsan mountain, was constructed during the Japanese colonial era and significantly expanded in the late 1960s.
The project – which also includes a 134,663m² vacant plot above the bunker – aims to kickstart regeneration in the wider area where Kyungdong Construction owns 13 million square metres of land.
According to the brief: ‘The basic plan is to interconnect the bunker and the ground site to develop a creative and unique place worthy of becoming a famous sight in Busan.
‘It is hoped that the programme proposed will contribute to the development and improved socio-cultural publicity of the community. It is also expected that the proposed programme concurrently takes into consideration the financial feasibility of the plan in terms of actual development and operation.’
Nearby visitor attractions include the mountain’s beacon tower and observatory. The site – which borders the high-density and low-income Mulmangol village – is also close to Busan City Hall and public transport facilities.
Busan is Korea’s second-largest city after Seoul and is home to around 4.6 million inhabitants and the world’s fifth-largest seaport.
Snøhetta won a high-profile contest for the city’s new opera house in 2012 and SYNWHA Consortium won a separate competition for a new 27ha waterfront park last year.
Completed 11 years ago, the iconic structure features the world’s longest cantilever roof with an 85-metre free span and 60 x 120m surface.
Other landmarks in the city – which is home to the Busan International Film Festival – include Coop Himmelblau’s $150 million Busan Cinema Centre complex.
Organised by the Busan International Architectural Culture Festival, the latest contest is open to all architects, designers, urban planners, artists and students regardless of experience.
Proposals may integrate existing cultural events into the building programme and submissions can include sketches, paintings, models, 3D images, collages and other formats.
The winning team will receive $50,000 and an invitation to develop detailed designs. Any overseas or non-architect winners may be required to partner with a qualified local firm to deliver the scheme.
A second-place prize of $30,000, third-place prize worth $10,000 and four honourable mentions of $5,000 each will also be awarded.
How to apply
Registration 20 May, submissions 6pm local time on 30 June
Clapham South Deep Level Shelter case study: Q&A with Mark Owen
The director of Pow Architects discusses how the practice went about designing new uses for a Second World War bomb shelter in Clapham, London
What planning, spatial and other challenges did you experience on Clapham South Deep Level Shelter project?
The main challenge we experienced was understanding and developing a design for such an unusual structure, with a very specific and original use. The building was listed as it remains the most intact of the 11 deep-level shelters built during the Second World War. This was coupled with convincing the local community that this rich history would be maintained in our designs for the restaurant and exhibition.
What sort of uses could be appropriate and sustainable for a bunker given its inevitable constraints?
We found that any use that might involve large numbers of people required very sophisticated early-warning fire suppression systems, and as a result more obvious uses such as nightclubs and hotels were difficult to fund on a commercial level. However a much larger series of bunkers with a bigger budget could turn it into anything from a modern-day catacomb to a cryogenic storage lab or even an urban farm, like Growing Underground, who lease another of the shelters in Clapham Common. Projects like the Lowline in New York and urban cycling schemes in London are playful and fun. More practical uses could be self-storage - as pressure on tight urban sites with light inevitably grows, people’s possessions could be stored underground to maximise space in the apartment buildings above ground.
How could a bunker project like this have a broader cultural presence and influence regeneration over a larger area?
The beauty of our scheme for the Clapham Rotunda is that the building already has a rich and varied history. It has had a significant impact upon the local demographic as the building had been used after the war to house Caribbean migrants. Our scheme will reinvigorate this history and make it accessible to the wider community through organised tours of the tunnels and a permanent exhibition of its history within the restaurant. The lightweight roof extension literally represents light coming from the darkness below and its intended use of saving lives during conflict. Similar historical contexts are inevitable in Busan and it would be great if these could be explored and shared with the local community.