When we read the design competition, our first question was: What Space Salim would be? What a Women and Family Complex would be? 

And the answer was quite simple: A space for the community. A space that walcomes the community. A space that, maybe, can help the community to fix its problems.

But a more important question came: How can the architecture do that?

For us the answer was a diffuse system that well represents the complexity of the society, where different buildings meet each others, all connected by public paths, pursuing the idea that both buildings and people can’t be left alone.

It was also clear that Space Salim was sitting in the center of a crossing system, actually seen as an urban void, located into a morphologically consolidated urban fabric. The site occupies the area where U.S. army base ‘Camp Grey’ had been located for 55 years until the retrocession in 2007, very close to old Seoul Women Shelter which used to accommodate prostitutes, runaway dementia elders, and vagrants from 1962 to 1998, and that was converted into Seoul Women Plaza. 

This urban void needs to be a chance of re-birth, a nurturing, Salim precisely, for the community. A starting point to regenerate the city from the inside, turning the gloomy and ‘deathlike’ space into a place of resurrection that will foster welfare of women and families.

The idea behind the development results from a careful analysis of Seoul fabric settlement, and of the ongoing dialogue between Space Salim area and the existing urban context used for designing the diffuse system.

It would become a piece of the city, not a single stand building, where socialization would be possibile in the public spaces.

Infact, public squares and pervasive pathways allow people at every ages to meet enhacing relational network, the vulnerable minor social groups to be welcomed and accepted, women and men to be treated equally.

The volumentric disaggregation creates more outdoor spaces that can’t be seen as empty lands, empowering the relationship between interior and exterior, thanks to a continuous flow of users and visitors.

The most important expression of outdoor areas is the rooftop at the last level, with its barbecue and pic-nic areas where to meet each others, public green areas where to lay and a vegetable garden where the community can plant its own products.

On the rooftop we add also a fitness area, where the people can jog and swim in a public swimming pool, or play in a basketball field.

At the same time we added a medical supporting function and a pharmacy, where the treatment and the prevention for the healt of women are the main goals.

These two added function, and the ones gave by the competition program, are not located in pre-definited area, but take palce in this vibrant and dynamic complex, connected by public paths that makes the project fundamentally permeable.

The flexibility is ensured by choosing a punctual structure, in order to facilitate a future expansion, and also thanks to a mobile system of doors that can turn the ground floor into a completely open space. The main inner functions as exhibition areas and hand-working or production spaces, will moved to out doors spaces, enforcing the relationship between indoor and outdoor areas.

A relantionship enhanced also thanks to building facades and videowalls installed on them, used for advertisement, events promotion and artistic installations, that become a way of comunication between Space Salim and the whole city and can be seen as economical source for indoor organization.

The industrial finishing aims to underline the transformable shape of the complex, and the possibility for the people to modify over time the buildings.

For all these reasons, our proposal needs to be seen as the starting point of a new urban and social consciousness. As architects we can give to the comunity a blank canvas, that only them can fill, with passion, emotion and creative ideas.

As Churchill said, and the competition reminds to us “We shape our building and thereafter they shape us”.

So, this is what Space Salim is ment for.

Elevation 1

Section 1

Elevation 2

Section 2

TA.R.I Architects