KOREA REMADE: Alternate Nature, DMZ, and Hinterlands

The KOREA REMADE studio will advance alternative futures for a reunified Korean Peninsula through the concerns of ecology, technology, and design. The reunification of the two Koreas will occur in the next decade and design work will address population displacement, redrawing of boundaries, new industrial development and a reimagined role for the landscape and its future inhabitation.

The study area is the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas, currently the most dangerous and heavily fortified territory in the world, and its hinterlands including the Greater Seoul area, the Joint Security Area, and the Civilian Control Zone, as well as a network of scattered observatories, abandoned military bases, minefields, subterranean tunnels, village agriculture and existing forests, estuaries, and wetlands. The class, initially working in groups, will redefine the ideas of security, border, and identity north/south between the Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea (north) and the Republic of Korea (south) using the framework of geological boundaries and physical geographies. Class members will then advance individual landscape site design proposals based on the themes of “Alternate Nature” and “Remade Korea.” While previous studies of the DMZ have viewed this zone as a pristine ecological reserve and a landscape of intrinsic beauty and terror, this studio aims to challenge that legacy and explore this verdant territory through the opportunities for human inhabitation as well as natural restoration. Mine-clearance, pollution remediation, reforestation and new infrastructure, as well as the design challenges of reoccupation and reindustrialization, will be central to individual design proposals that will be resolved to a detailed level.

A field trip to the hinterlands adjoining the DMZ will take place at the midpoint of the semester. It should be noted that access to the DMZ itself is restricted. An exhibition of the results of the studio work will be mounted in both South Korea and the US.

This studio is open to students in all degree programs, although the focus will be on landscape design responses to place and program. Instructors Kirkwood and Kim will be present at every class meeting.