The new Animation Centre is a magic place, when reality and imagination blend into one another. A space of possibilities, a time for day-dreaming and self-discovery, intimate or shared with the community. Its built environment is an infrastructure and a shelter that gives comfort with its local character and peaceful presence. In the smaller scale, the light timber house-shaped spaces connect us directly to our common childhood landscape, where most comic and animation experiences travel to.

The proposal transforms the Seoul Animation Centre into a gateway between city and mountain. The sheltered outdoors Market Convention square is a big organic threshold from city to forest, from presence to imagination. It is made from the same materials we find in the mountain: earth, stone, and trees -both transformed and alive. The new Centre belongs to the Namsan Mountain. We plant the same vegetation that is currently growing in the mountain, giving two new small forests to Namsan and its citizens. When you enter the Centre you have the feeling of already being in the mountain. This cluster of buildings is the beginning of the healing platform for the citizens -even literally, for it absorbs more CO2 than it produces. In the near future, small paths connections will bring you from the square to the forest, so part of the Animation Town experience is actually held in the Namsan forest itself.

This proposal gives twice the inhabitable requested space for the same budget. The new sheltered square works as a gathering place, a centre for the Animation Town and Yejang Jarak. Each indoor space has its double outdoors, sheltered twin. It is an open, dynamic cultural space of urban content applied with comics, animations and characters, both for all comic and animation lovers, and for South Korea’s animation industry people. It is also the place of joy where fans and industry meet, and where new people are introduced to the animation world. We comply with all Seoul urban regulations in order to give a new agora for the Namsan mountain.

The scale of this proposal is between South Korean rural towns and farms, and its traditional temples. Bringing down the Animation Centre scale into autonomous structures around a central void -the agora- allows a more flexible interdependent use of its three main activities, more human scale places and volumes that relate to the neighborhood constructions.

The structure of the new Seoul Animation Centre is clearly organised in two systems: in situ and prefabricated reinforced concrete on the underground and vertical communication cores, and fabricated CLT boards for the above the ground buildings.

At the Creative Factory, animation companies will have the choice of adapting, transforming their own workspace, even by assembling themselves the small prefabricated hut structures that are part of our proposal. The goal is to achieve real use flexibility, but also to allow everyone working at the Creative Factory to participate actively in the configuration of their working environment. These small structures will also be implemented at the Market Convention and Imagery Playground areas.

This proposal is a chance for a research collaboration with local timber transformation industry, evolving from South Korean timber construction ancient techniques. This project is an innovation catalyst to further develop cradle-to-cradle timber construction in South Korea, allowing a mid-term increase in locally resourced timber from ecologically grown and transformed Korean forests.