Seoul: Yeouido Project/Reasons of Choosing Yeouido as new symbolic area of the nation
Yeouido, in 1960s-1970s, was built to be a new CBD of the Seoul and a new symbolic area of the nation-state with the National Assembly standing at the west corner of Yeouido. The reasons of choosing Yeouido are related to its special location and history.
Yeouido, as the name in Korean expressed, was a high ground that exist even when Han River flooded. It remained uninhabited for a long time since it is isolated and not easy to access before automobile was largely used. However, with the Han River Development project, highways and bridges were built to connect Yeouido and other CBDs. Relying on automobile became a symbol of modernization and the convenient traffic development became a characteristic of Yeouido that could be celebrate in that period. Therefore, the traffic issue was also an important feature that should be considered in Yeouido Development Project. It could be seen that the special location resulted in different consequences with the development of economics and technology.
During Japanese colonial period, Yeouido was used as a military airport. It also became the birthplace of South Korea Air Force in 1948. Since Yeouido has always been used as military base, it also set the foundation that this piece of land could be a proper choice for new symbolic national project.
In that period of 1960s, the South Korea was seeking their own culture identity after that long colonial time. The Ministry of Culture and Information established national culture policy which said the culture was ethnic, national and traditional. Building a totally new mega project presented the separation with the past colonial period. Using modernist style architecture complex also cut the cultural relationship with the past. Although it is not a traditional choice, the modernist form was seen as a neutral form to represent the modernization and national identity.
Above all, choosing Yeouido as the new symbolic area of the nation was because its special location and history that could express the meaning of the modernization and new identity of the South Korea.
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