Seoul Maru

Competition ‘Seoul MARU Public Intervention 2023’
Architecture / Object / Competition
Team: Ki Jun Kim, Changki Kim, Taeyoon Kim

Theater Is Everywhere
A decentralized, intersecting, and overlapping theater space integrated into topographical architecture

This project, named "Theater Is Everywhere" (hereafter referred to as TIE), stems from the notion that any location in the world can become a theater, as the title suggests. It is our response to the current state of society in 2023, where diversity appears to be increasing, yet simultaneously giving rise to polarization and marginalization in various domains.

The word "theater," derived from the Greek term "Theatron," which means a place for viewing, encompasses the idea of theatrical performances. Theatron is associated with concepts such as seeing, contemplating, and is intertwined with terms like theos (divinity) and therapia (therapy).
While Western theaters and landscapes, since the Renaissance, have established a tradition of pursuing a centralized and controlled world based on perspective, ancient Greek theaters placed all spectators (citizens) on an equal footing, fostering mutual communication. Rather than being an exclusive structure, the entirety represents a transformed landscape that achieves a harmonious balance with its surroundings.

The open-air performance space mainly consists of four components: Theatron, Orchestra, Skene, and Parodos. However, TIE does not limit itself to a one-to-one recombination of these elements. Instead, it creates a situation where the roles of traditional theater and its constituent parts are exchanged, establishing diverse relationships with buildings and external public spaces, including Seoul Maru.

Seoul Maru, which initially emerged atop a low-rise structure, has evolved into a central topographical feature within the city, resembling a gentle hill that offers panoramic views in all directions while preserving traces of citizens' memories and usage.
Along the sloping floor, elements derived from Theatron, a segment of the ancient outdoor performance hall, and the idea of harmonizing with the surroundings are incorporated. The inclined floor and the horizontally suspended volumes above it mutually emphasize their respective topographical characteristics.The elongated objects and the masks enclosing the sides and rear ends appear in varying sizes at each extremity, evoking the sense of uncovering something buried in the ground after an extended period.

The space between Seoul City Hall on the eastern side of Seoul Maru, the Anglican Church on the western side, and the three stair-shaped structures along it naturally guide the movement and direct the gaze of visitors. Within this atmosphere, fostered by conversations and a sense of solidarity while observing the same location or facing one another, and in the gently enveloping ambiance, it becomes evident that ordinary everyday scenes can connect with theatrical moments imbued with drama.
Each object can serve as either an audience or a stage in relation to the other two objects and the surrounding elements. During the installation of TIE, we envision a diverse array of performances, individually and collectively significant, taking place, and we will devise specific plans accordingly.

TIE boasts a steel structure resembling the sinews and bones of cotton, with the outer edges covered in preserved wood panels. By discerning the crucial points necessitating irregular dimensions from those allowing specific widths and lengths, the ratio of modular structure-to-skin can be maximized.

The elongated theater-style seating, oriented towards both Seoul City Council and Deoksugung Palace, exemplifies the intention to restore the dynamic interaction between the audience and the stage within a traditional theater (the world) through a horizontal and overlapping composition that transcends center-periphery relationships.

Within the stepped objects designed to facilitate walking, leaning, sitting, and observing, and in the multitude of activities possible within the spaces they create, individuals are invited to contemplate the interplay between everyday routines and extraordinary moments, individuality and solidarity, convergence and overlapping, verticality and horizontality. This presents a valuable opportunity to reassess our priorities and reconsider the significance of these aspects in our lives.