Rehabilitating MAPO Oil Depot

2014 - Seoul, Korea

Rehabilitating MAPO Oil Depot

Seoul, Korea

CLIENT Seoul Metropolitan Government / STATUS Competition, 2014 / SIZE 75 acres / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates, N.E.E.D. Architecture / PHOTOS Balmori Associates, N.E.E.D. Architecture

The competition called for transforming an industrial relic into a cultural venue with specific programs in mind. As a deserted relic, the site lacks accessibility and urban connections, which are two pre-requisites for successful cultural intervention. The proposal tackles these two basic problems both directly and indirectly by creating resilient and open infrastructure.

Giant oil tanks in man-made craters, only reachable by climbing steep steps on a hill, are not fit for public use unless drastic occupancy control and safety measures are deployed. We propose bold earthwork, cutting away the front section of rock craters to allow for easy access and tucked-in service spaces. Cuts will surgically limit the area where the least amount of excavation occurs and the resultant crushed stones are recycled to pave a new porous parking lot. Repurposed steel plates from the tank #3 compose concrete formwork of the new retaining wall against the cuts.

Programmatic resiliency is built into the refurbished tanks. Except for the tank #1, which is preserved in its original state, other tanks are revised in such a way that, with use of heavy gauge materials and simple modifications, they can perform with greater flexibility and durability. Centrifugal plan with hollowed-out core allow for hosting various types of public events in different magnitude, overcoming the inherent disadvantage of contextually disconnected site through contingent adaptability.