New Gwanghwamun Square

Luca Galofaro_Stefania Manna e Associati (LGSMA_) as Architects


The project is a suggestion to revisit the topic of the historical square, transforming the competition site into a sequence of four squares constantly mutating, separated by a continuous body of water. Evoking the topic of the square does not mean to work backwards in history; on the contrary, it means to proceed forwards, overcoming the idea of a continuous urban space on a city scale, while fragmenting it into con­necting spaces, linked to single buildings through a differentiation of uses. As in the Baroque city, the square is an urban room in communication with other rooms. The cities of ancient Rome had a ‘Forum’ in the middle of them. They were public spaces surrounded by buildings. Such city structure was a standard for the cities of Medie­val Europe. On the other hand, the cities in East Asia had wide boulevards running southward from palaces in the north. Gwanghwamun city project is conceived as an integrated sequence of squares and boulevards.


The proposal for Gwanghwamun Square is intended as a trace, whose aim is to esta­blish a rhythm, shaping diverse and unforeseen situations in the time to come. The archetype of the square is the room: the project results from the compresence of rooms, as if it was a vast open building. We revisit the topic of open spaces’ future as a composition of rooms – the squares – connected by two boulevards, each with a different character. One tree-lined green boulevard runs along the street, one urban boulevard flanks the buildings.

Within this composition, each square relates in sequence with the others trough a gradient of situations, shapes, colours, climates, uses of the boulevards and the open spaces of the whole urban area: from the strolling space adjacent to the street, to the resting space of the artificial landscape flanking the buildings.

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