Changwon Central Park is a project of local significance for the city of Changwon in southern Korea, located at the heart of the new Uni-city development which seeks to revitalize the abandoned military base with 6,000 household multi-use residential complexes. The park is a central component in reconnecting this new development with rest of the city both physically and socially. The project consisted in developing a real place of amenity for the people of Changwon with a range of small gardens, communal areas, and open fields adjacent to the residential blocks. Here the Central Park redefines the relationship between the city and the place of residence, connecting regional culture with the history of the site and making the residents enjoy their neighborhood all year round. With the expansion of the lush greens, the Changwon Central Park will become the new green lung of the city. The Park further aspires to foreground landscape as essential to enduring neighborhoods and cities – contributing to our civic and environmental resilience.
The site used to be a military base, which was stationed by the 39th Infantry Division of the Republic of Korea Army. On June 2015, the division moved to Haman-gun, revealing the hidden grounds that had been closed from the public for more than 60 years. The project consists of a public Central Park open space that sits adjacent to a commercial district, four residential blocks accommodating 6,000 households, and a natural park located to the south of the site. The Changwon Central Park is a 850 meter long and 70 meter wide urban greenway forming a longitudinal axis crossing the 39th Division Housing Site Development District Plan. The site consists of two cultural parks and two neighborhood parks, which was decided by the planning authority of the Changwon City Council.
The Cultural Park starts from Uichang Road with a 20m-wide pedestrian-only path forming a long axis connecting nearby retail shops. Planned to revitalize the economy of its surrounding neighborhood, the street is carefully arranged with green strips, street trees, and street furniture. The pedestrian path then opens up to an extensive circular lawn, which is 45cm lower than the paving surfaces lets water to percolate below the surface. Design envisages the use of stone seating walls to allow small concerts and entertainment. In spring, the city flowers of the cherry trees make pink splashes along the circular paths.
The urban plaza is designed to accommodate diverse programs, reflecting the city council committee reviews to be used as an exhibition space for citizens. As adjacent sites are planned as public buildings and grounds, the design of the urban plaza encompasses flexibility for future change. The initial plan for the shell mound plaza provided a long reflecting pond and planting of pine trees as a focal point. During the construction, however, remains of shall mounds were found offering opportunities for cultural heritage protection and tourism. This resulted in a more legible public space with improved access to the central plaza, incorporating a new cultural center and shall mound exhibition hall.
The neighborhood park is a 500 meter long and 70 meter wide urban greenway featuring multi-use paths set within a landscape of wave fields. The planting concept “emptying” focuses on adding depth to the linear park and separating the park from the adjacent residential blocks by leaving the central part of the park empty, while filling the peripheral areas with trees. The park accommodates seating and staging for open-air concerts, water play areas with water jets, and flexible green areas operated by the city council.
The “wave field” concept permeates all levels of detail design for the Changwon Central Park with its natural yet aesthetical and environmental element of design. It is a symbolic reference to both regional and cultural heritage of the site. The weaving paths were constructed on undulating mounds and cor-ten steel retaining walls, placed in a pattern reminiscent of the Squad Waves of the 39th Division. Having respect for context, the retaining walls have been custom designed and manufactured in rusted steel revealing the discovery of shall mounds and region’s rich history of armored cavalry. By reintroducing a narrative element that makes the background and history of the site, the project tried to focus on overlapping the curvilinear waves to create a verdant tranquil series of spaces.
Five unique design follies will be encountered while strolling around the park. These follies which is inspired by military guard posts have been designed into the landscape with the concept of looking through, looking up, looking down, looking through a gap, and looking askew. The shelters complement the tones of the achromatic color of exposed concrete and vibrant red to create interesting contrast with the greenery.
Name of the project: The Wave Fields, Changwon Central Park
Re-designing a military landscape in the heart of Changwon City
Project category: Public Project
Role of the entrant in the project: Designer and contractor
Other designers involved in the design of landscape (if any): Kunhwa Engineering & Consulting Co., Ltd.
Project location: 53 Jung-dong, Uichang-gu, Changwon-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea
Design year: 2015-2019
Year Built: 2019