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‘skimA’ in collaboration with 'Studio 李心田心’ proposed design for 'International Ideas Competition for Busan Mulmangol Bunker Regeneration'

The history of the Mulmangol bunker dates back to the days of the Japanese occupation in the early 20C. At the time, the city of Busan has been appreciated its potential as a hub city bridging Japan to the continent. Subsequently the city had been transformed into the military zones. Various artificial caves had been built for military purpose throughout the city of Busan and the Mulmango bunker was originated to one of the caves. It was expanded and gone through modification during 60s – 70s when the inter-relationship between North and South Korea was heightened intensely. However it has been abandoned for decades soon after.


We respect its origin as the military artefact because it is a part of our modern history and city. However we want the Mulmangol bunker to be new aspiration of the city and amusement for people rather than being historical remains. It should be a working-device to deliver a unique experience to visitors. We investigate the physical and sensual aspect residing in the bunker itself and found the bunker could be great acoustical device. In the bunker, auditory sense dominates other. The information through eyes is quite limited because of blocked room and narrow corridors. However we can hear a sound which is not reached by other sense. Sound flows on the surface of wall and ceiling as well as going through air. It creates continuing reflection and resonance of sound and therefore delivers a unique experience which the structure on ground is not able to achieve. The bunker itself is a unique sound-instrument.

For revitalizing the bunker and enriching its potential as a sound-instrument, we introduce the forgotten military technology, the Sound Mirror. It had been invented and practiced by the British Army during the World War I. It was basically a concave concrete structure to reflect sound from long distance and concentrate sound at its focal point as an ordinary concave mirror does with light. It amplified sound, such as the engine noise of airplanes, and made it audible. Unfortunately, it was abandoned due to other emerging electronic technology such as the radar system. However its performance as an analogue instrument and architectural quality as built form couldn’t be neglected. We propose to integrate it into reinventing the Mulmangol Bunker. The forgotten military facility, the bunker, is reborn with the forgotten military technology. Something threatening people oneday return and amuse people in peaceful way. It is paradoxical as the Bunker redevelopment is but very meaningful in our circumstance, Korean Peninsula where brother nations are still at enmity with each other.

Project: vir·tu·o·so
Hosting Organization & Promoter: Busan International Architectural Culture Festival & Kyungdong Construction Co., Ltd.
Type: Open International Ideas Competition
Location: Hwangnyoengsan Mountain in Busan, Korea
Architect: skimA in collaboration with  Studio 李心田心

Date: May-June 2016
Status: Proposal

Team: Sejin Kim, Pil Joon Jeon(Studio 李心田心), Yunseon Cho

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