The most renowned universities in Korea are Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University, often summarized as “SKY”. They are always at the maximum of their capacity for students. Therefore, they build more facilities or establish new campuses to host more students. In my two years at SNU I saw the construction and opening of five new buildings. A very famous example of campus improvement in Korea is the campus valley of Ewha University, designed by Dominique Perrault. Yonsei also tries to improve their campus. If you visit the Yonsei University campus now, you will see a huge construction site.
Yonsei University Campus Project
The main road, which is now getting a makeover, is called “Baekyang-ro”. The Baekyang-ro Reconstruction project (백양로 재창조 프로젝트) begun in mid-2013 after a year of planning and preparation. The completion of the project is expected to be in April 2015. The project includes a total make-over of that main road, new facilities like a culture hall and an underground parking garage. Over one thousand parking spaces are going to be created. The project costs Yonsei 90 billion KRW. I’ll focus on the changes concerning the road. For pictures of the cultural hall and so on please click here.
That’s how the Yonsei Campus looked like before:
As you can see, there as a very wide (around 3 car lanes wide), straight road from the main gate up to the Underwood Hall (the three historic buildings of Yonsei U). The road then split into two and the eastern street led out of the campus. The distance from the main gate to the Underwood Hall is around 500 meters. Here’s their plan:
So actually comparing the before and after-picture, there isn’t a huge difference. A little bit more green space, less street and a new main entrance. The real changes are under the surface. The next picture shows a vertical cut through the plan:
The first and second flood beneath ground is planned to have various facilities and already a part of the parking garage.
B3 and B4 will only function as parking space:
The two floors beneath are just for parking cars. 1,040 parking spaces will be provided in total. Digging so deep makes the project expensive. Later maintenance of the underground facilities will cost a lot of money, too.
Situation at Yonsei University in Summer 2014
Some days ago I’ve been to Yonsei and took some pictures. The main gate currently looks like this:
Students and visitors have to walk between construction site fences.
Sometimes it’s possible to take a peek into the construction site:
From the other end it looks like this:
At the end it also emphasizes that it is a car-free street, but actually you can see a car passing by. Just letting cars ‘disappear’ from the surface doesn’t make it to a car-free project. Another video with interviews is available here. I’m not sure what to think about this project. I don’t know how bad the parking situation was before but is there really a need for 1,000+ parking spaces? In front of the university the city implemented a measure to reduce the amount of cars and Yonsei is going to induce more traffic through the provision of parking spaces.