Location: Maehyangli Woojungeup Hwaseong City, Gyeonggido, Korea
Program: Regeneration of Kuni U.S. Military Base into Maehyangli Eco Peace Park / 2015-2016
Client: City of Hwasung
Maehyangli is a historic site of pain as well as a symbolic site of peace achieved by the cohesion of the local community. Since 1951, the small uninhabited Nong Island, just 1km off the coast of the town of Maehyangli was used as target practice for the US air force, and in 1955, the US Military seized the adjacent farmlands to establish Camp KUNI. Since then the local residents suffered from incessant bombing and shooting exercises at close range with high number of accidental casualties. In 1988 13 civilians were killed and 22 injured from a firing accident and in 2000 additional injuries and damages to the residents incurred from a MK-82 bombing exercise. The region’s suicide rate has been 2 times the average due to the loud noises and tremors.
Photo: Yongsuk, Kang, 1999
Since the 1990s, the local residents have been actively petitioning the government to stop the dangerous target exercises by the US Army and for the return of its land to its people. The site was finally returned to the City of Hwasung in 2005.
The Maehyangli Eco Peace Park is proposed as a process of healing and remembrance of the land and its people. It proposes to ecologically heal the land that has been contaminated with accumulated chemical debris and reclaim the islands that have disappeared and flattened after 54 years of bombardment. It also proposes to remember the painful history of the land through preservation and conservation of the military structures and target practice debris.
The project consists of three interventions. First the renovation and preservation of the KUNI camp site as a memorial to the history of the land and its people. Second, a Community Business Center to reactivate the local economy and site through community education and businesses. Third, insertion of various folly structures in the site to engage the narrative of the surrounding landscape.
The texture of decay, time, and memory of the site is captured by emphasizing the material tactility of rust and the horizon of the sea and land surrounding the site.
Existing KUNI US Military Camp Site and adjacent land
Proposed Eco Peace Park
KUNI MEMORIAL SITE
The actual camp grounds and existing structures are to be preserved as a memorial to the site’s history. Six existing buildings structures that were once residences, cafeterias, event spaces, exercise rooms, control towers for the US military are to be renovated as a visitor center, gallery space and cafe for the park.
Visitor Center / Shop / Multi-Purpose / Cafe
View from Entry / Before and After
Interior View of Shop and Cafe
Interior View of Gallery 4 and 1
Park Management Office
COMMUNITY BUSINESS CENTER
A new Community Business Center is planned across from the KUNI Memorial Site to include shops that sell local craft and produce, such as onggi ceramics and plum extracts, and restaurants that serve local specialty dishes, a Kitchen Studio and a Fab Lab to provide work space and classes for local residents as well as visitors, and Artist Studios for residence artist programs. The development is to be a mixture of permanent structures and container structures of the same module interlinked with courtyards to allow for flexible, gradual growth.
View from KUNI Entry
View of Interior Courtyards
View of the Onggi Garden
Various folly structures are distributed throughout the site, from which the visitors can contemplate and immerse into the surrounding landscape and atmosphere. The folly structures utilize the container module to create site specific installations which the visitors can interact with and immerse within.
One can experience the ever changing sky through the specially framed bench structure within the forest.
An existing firing trench is reactivated to allow the visitors to walk at eye level with the ground to provide another perspective of the surrounding environment and landscape.
The structure allows the visitor to observe the view of the forest and its various ecologies in detail at different elevations.
Wind Folly I
An existing army observation station is converted into a viewing deck with a panorama of the ocean with the sound of the waves and winds.
Wind Folly II
Another existing army observation station is converted into a viewing deck overhanging out towards the ocean to capture the framed view of the ocean horizon with the sound of the waves and winds.
The folly is submerged under water at high tide but reveals itself at low tide to allow visitors to enter into the bridge structure that takes you out into the sea. The axis of the structure aligns the control tower on the camp site with Nong Island to symbolize the line of path of the US military target practice.
Nong Island Folly
The structure captures the horizontal and vertical panoramas of Nong Island inbetween ocean and sky.
Shower and bathroom facilities are provided throughout the park as required.
An observation tower which looks over the site is installed at the Community Task Committee Office site to commemorate the long arduous struggle and history of the local community in its fight for the return of the KUNI site from the US Army and the federal government. It is a memorial for all civilian deaths occurred on the site which was a target practice site for the US air force between 1951-2005.
Architecture Lead: Yehre Suh / Urban Terrains Lab
Team Members: Nielsine Christensen, Hyukgwon Jang, Junsoo Nah, Saeyoung Hwang
Project Lead: Kyongjin Zoh
Masterplan Lead: Wookju Jung
Exhibition Lead: Jin Baek
Landscape Consultant: Inter Landscape Architecture Office