In 1953, 10 million Korean families were separated by a wall between North and South Korea. Today, over 140,000 are still separated. Nobody is allowed to cross this wall, and South Koreans may not enter North Korea. Since 2000, organized family reunions have been allowed to take place in North Korea which occur twice a year and last 6 days. The number of people allowed to participate in these reunions is limited by the building capacity. The largest number of family members has never exceeded 600. And separated families are running out of time (mostly over 80 years old). For them, it is their only chance to meet their relatives in their lifetime, like winning the lottery.
The goal of my proposed project is to connect North and South Korea by developing a new community that serves as a meeting point for the families to reunite. Shipping containers will be used to construct affordable houses in a short period of time.
Due to the extreme seasonal changes ranging between -15 and +35 degrees Celsius in this border region, the design should offer protection from snow, wind, rain, as well as wild animals. Also, greenhouses will be built where applicable to provide self-sufficient food in winter. The meeting point will give both shelter and comfort to bridge the gap caused by the separation. It will, therefore, act as a platform to rebuild relationships.
Project mentor: Elmira Reisi
Suin Kim – South Korea
After her Bachelor in Architectural Design in Korea University of Technology and Education, Suin gathered work experiences as an architect in Korea, Philippines and Germany. She furthered her education by studying green and sustainable building solutions in the Energy Retrofit course at the Dublin Institute of Technology. She has worked with Habitat for Humanity as part of her social contribution.