Danji refers to a housing superblock that emerged during the 1970s as the post- war product to meet the demand of Seoul’s swelling population. It remains as a predominant type of housing—as of 2020, 11 percent of Seoul is occupied by danji and 60 percent of the population resides in them. As the first generation danjis now face redevelopment, it is critical to rethink formal organization that goes beyond the homogeneity and repetition of modernism and to imagine a housing model that reflects the demographic transformation—the dissolution of the “nuclear family” as a social unit and the diversity of households.
Like many other modernist housing projects, the existing urban form of Banpo Danji exhibits a lack of diversity and identity in its public space. Without resorting to a complete erasure, the project proposes a network of bands into an existing field of housing slabs. These bands are like paths in that they connect: they run north-south to link the housing bars that run west-east, as well as the nodes within and outside of the site. Beyond the means of linkage, this weave of form becomes a passage that allows for a multiplicity of itineraries while creating a gradient of public to private space in its stratified field. Each band has its own character, texture, and rhythm—ranging from a grand canopy, a grove of pine trees, to a series of stairways—and together they form a range of experiences through which residents can traverse, encounter, switch, or meander. Situated between path and passage, the project attempts to reconcile the “urban” and “human” scales by orchestrating precise relationships between the surrounding context, the bands, and the housing blocks.