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2023 Rotch Finalist: Eugene Seungho Park

ES Park Headshot

Eugene Seungho Park is a registered architect based in NYC. His recent works include residential and commercial renovation projects in NYC and Seoul, and he has won awards in international competitions such as the Jeonju Railway Station International Competition and UIA Suncheon Art Platform Competition. He is currently on the advisory council to KOTRA for the master planning of the Korean Pavilion at Expo 2025 Osaka.

In addition to running his own practice, he is actively involved in research and academia. In 2021, he held an urban research exhibition titled “Architecture of Insecurity” at SPACE776 New York with a grant from the Korean government. Since 2019, he has also been invited to give lectures and workshops at various institutions such as EPFL, RISD, Hongik University, and University of Cincinnati.

Prior to founding his own practice, he worked at Adjaye Associates and the MIT Urban Risk Lab, where he contributed to various civic and cultural projects. Seungho holds a B.Arch from Seoul National University and a M.Arch ll from Harvard University.

View Eugene's Preliminary Entry

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Preliminary Competition Entry

Culture Stilt

The three-dimensional concrete framework of Leon Electric building stands as a testament to its former industrial use and functionality, and is what has been ingrained into the collective “memory” of the community. The premise of the new development, therefore, shall lie in preserving and celebrating the existing framework and materiality while pursuing sustainable development and creating a public interface.

ES Park Phase1 Culture Stilt 2

The new gateway features a web of public passages that seamlessly connect the train station, building, and street. Along these passages, visitors can explore a variety of cultural programs, such as art installations, exhibitions, and performances.

The architectural operation for “continuance” begins by carving out pocket spaces from the existing mass to create a new public passage. This void serves as a “gateway” that connects the platform and street level, providing ample public space. While strictly preserving the external shell of the concrete framework, selective demolition of interior columns and slab is carried out, and new heavy timber frames, exhibiting a stark contrast from the building’s existing materiality, are introduced to create a new “stilt” system. It is a physical manifestation of society’s shift in values from prioritizing “maximum functionality” to “sustainable development”, and a symbolic “stilt” that upholds the new public function.

ES Park Phase1 Culture Stilt 1

To preserve and celebrate the memory of the structure, the proposal explores a spatial intervention that involves a selective demolition of the concrete structure, and addition of the “stilt” system - a new heavy timber frame - that would effectively create communal spaces within.

ES Park Phase1 Culture Stilt 4

The “stilt” system is a physical manifestation of society’s shift in values from prioritizing “maximum functionality” to “sustainable development”. It functions both as a physical support for the new spatial configuration and as a symbolic representation that upholds public functions.

View Eugene's Final Entry

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Final Competition Entry

Stilt Gateway

The proposal demonstrates a sustainable development approach that transforms the obsolete industrial structure into an affordable housing complex with maximized public interface. The primary objective of this approach is to preserve the embodied energy and engrained memory of the structure. The proposed design comprises the following features:

ES Park Phase2 Stilt Gateway 2

The new development maximizes the public interface by emptying out the ground level and weaving a public passage through it. The new exterior is a hybrid of the heavy timber system and the existing materials, showcasing the structure’s resilience.

1) Retrofitting residential programs into the existing framework by carefully subtracting the existing structures and infilling the “stilt” system - a sustainable heavy timber structure system - that serves as a host for community spaces and outdoor greenspaces. The “stilt” is a physical manifestation of society’s shift in values from prioritizing maximum functionality to upholding sustainability and social welfare.

2) Incorporating a new economic model for affordable housing through a subsidy and incubation program, coupled with a creative spatial configuration that enhances the sense of community.

3) Weaving public passages into the existing complex and creating urban courtyards which will house cultural programs and local retailers. The maximized public interface will render the new complex the cultural gateway to Upham’s Corner.

Finally, a new signage “Leon Electric” is added atop the “stilt”, in honor of its legacy, symbolically acknowledging its past cultural prosperity and boldly announcing the successful reinhabitation to the public.