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Stepping Stone Seoul

Diverse - Connected - Green: HENN's Vision for Seoul's City Centre
Building type
urban construction and landscaping
building project
new building
material façade
architect award
Competition 2019 Honorable Mention
The Waterfront Masterplan provides for an upgrading of the city centre of Seoul. The banks of the Han River and the Tancheon River, which separates the district of Gangnam and Jamsil, offer high potential as an urban recreational and cultural site for the local population. The project aims at restoring the historic quality of the area and creating a high-standard public space. It results in the re-naturalization and maximization of the waterfront space and allows for a greater connection of the river with the city. It connects the two worlds of Gangnam and Jamsil as well, a world of work and culture, and a world of leisure and living.
Based on a zoning strategy, five ecological zones are defined for a biodiverse, democratic and multifunctional district.
A central zone and an iconic part of the project is the Stepping Stone Bridge across the Tancheon River, which creates an efficient connection between the Gangnam district and the Olympic complex. The design concept specifically refers to the local stepping stone symbolism for ascension and movement. The bridge consists of multiple platforms of varying sizes, situated over water or over land. The platforms are articulated in triple modules and are designed in an organic form evoking the shapes of pebbles supported by conic pillars. During nocturne festivals, colourful bridge lighting show the glowing silhouettes of the stepping stones platforms.
The bridge connects two further zones: the Relaxation Bay is dedicated to a variety of activities (climbing wall, riverside amphitheatre, skate park) and culminates in a viewing platform at the mouth of the two rivers. The Ecological Park on the banks of the Tancheon, a green buffer between the city and the river, is understood as an urban jungle and constitutes the city's recreational heart.
Fifteen islands host a variety of programs, from meditation and yoga island to floating stage, over flower island. These elements help to reduce the bridge span and allow for a human scale of the built infrastructure. The adjacent Marina Sport Park including a yacht harbour forms an attractive zone along the Han River and provides multiple recreational as well as sport facilities embedded in the green landscape.
Flood protection measures are taken into account in the various water landscapes and experiences. The position of features and buildings along the terraces is planned in order to minimally obstruct the water flow and keep the infrastructure intact even in the event of flooding.