Landscape of Trans-Nationality: Trans Siberian Railway (TSR) and Alternative Nature

This is the second studio in a row for Kim/ Park, whose project examines the role of landscape architecture within the anticipated physical changes of the Eurasian continent, changes that could be accelerated by the recent changing dynamics between the two Koreas.  The studio aims to propose the landscape frameworks for new, imagined stations along the existing railways between Seoul to London, and more specifically along the course of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

The Republic of Korea has already started to help North Korea to update its deteriorating railway system. This has inspired us to consider a train trip all the way from Seoul to London, which would result in greater tourism, logistical needs, and a demand for more stations between the existing ones. The future train trip would take approximately 10 days through the continent, crossing eight national borders and nine time zones. More interestingly, it would traverse eleven different climates zones so the passengers would experience a landscape of trans-nationality.  What should be experienced from train is not the disconnect of national borders but an unbroken -yet changing- wilderness and unobtrusive human interventions within that natural setting. To this end, landscape has to play the role of the framework for any new settlements, including the station architecture, situated as elements within wilderness.

The studio will be organized in four parts, beginning with an examination of the entire railway route between Seoul and London and later focusing on a part of the Trans-Siberian Railway where the changes in the natural landscape are the most significant. The studio will be split into teams of two students during the first half of the semester, and will then focus on individual work with smaller sites and more specificity during the latter part of the course.
Cultural artifacts like literature, paintings, and movies will be introduced, through various formats, including guest lectures, as a way to spur the imagination, to evoke site inherency, and to project the future of the trans-national landscape.

A sponsored field trip will take place during the spring break. The eight day trip includes a three-day Tran-Siberian Railroad ride from Khabarovsk to Irkutsk and a trip to the Baikal Lake. During the ride, students will be expected to examine how nature and distance are experienced in relation to the train. The trip to Baikal will expose the students to nature in a near-pristine state, which will contrast with the notion of an alternative nature that will be inserted into the wilderness of the continent.

This studio is open to all degree programs of the GSD, although students will be expected to deal with quite a high level of specificity both in terms of plans and sections, especially toward the latter half of the semester.