Sewoon Sangga (1966-1976)/ 11. Network of clusters under the Monster

Located in the heart of the city, the Sewoon Sangga and its surrounding neighbourhoods showcase various rich and unique urban qualities. Owing to historical reasons, high-skilled professionals and practitioners of several small-scale manufacturing businesses situate the business here. Their geographical proximity and interaction turns the urban environment into an intangible and efficient conveyor belt in their process of making and they even move into the arcade and transferred it into part of the ‘belt’. In order to understand how these belts works and their importance in shaping the urban environment along with the Sewoon Sangga, the historical development of these small-scale manufacturing industries will be discussed and more extensive discussion will focus on the effect of these urban organism in shaping the urban landscape.

Network of a Commercial Cluster, Print alley in Inhyeon-dong P.63
Network of a Commercial Cluster, Print alley in Inhyeon-dong P.63

There are five manufacturing industry clusters in the Seun area, including metal and tool, jewelry, electronics and precision machinery, movies and, lastly, printing. Most of them rose from the mid 20th century to 70s except for the printing industry which has a longer history background for being a centre area for book writers. Until the 1950s, when the industry of filming and movie started to boom, the printing industries reached another peak for printing tickets and posters for the nearby theatres and Seun area once again became a gravity and innovative incubator for attracting other inter-dependent manufacturing industries as the movie industry did. However, the Seun area was not originally planned for manufacturing industry and it was mainly composed of residential apartment buildings, restaurants and retail units. In this way, they create distinctive and unique spatial and architectural characteristics by turning residential and retail use building into manufacturing and craftsmanship workshops and creating a network of cluster of business has complicated the already complex urban environment even further.

By modifying the existing urban fabric, these manufacturing industries could transform the space for their own need to facilitate the economic flow around the Seun area with the greatest ease. There is a strong relationship between interior and street that when one economic sector shift to another one, it relies on the interface of the buildings which have been transformed by the additional structure to assist the business operation and product transportation. Such changes also continue in the complexes of Sewoon Sangga and transform these ‘monsters’ as part of their conveyance system through spatial modification. Such microscopic change in the urban fabric by people themselves create great fluidity and flexibility in creating networks of economic clusters and benefits from a better synchronicity between economic agents, which eventually attracts more manufacturers and related stakeholders.


Yoon. Seung Joong. Ibid. 1997.
Joonwoo Kim. (2016). Apartment Urbanism – The Logics of Apartment Development in Seoul. University of Leuven.
Sungwoo Kim. Beyond Suen-Sangga: 16 ideas to go beyond big plans. SPACE

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.