Songjeong Picture book Village is a plaza, a bus stop and a visitor centre all in one, in a tiny town in South Korea.
It was the start of winter when Studio Mani first saw the village. Although the site had a ramshackled bus stop surrounded by sparse vegetation, it was easy to imagine a beautiful structure in the throes of springtime with the thirty families that made up the village, enjoying the space.
After visiting the surroundings, three sceneries emerged, ‘a far away view’ a scenery from the village hall, ‘a nearby view’ a scenery when proceeding towards the plaza and ‘an internal view’ a scenery inside the square.
The existing structure was furnished with shoddy benches and tables made from plywood and concrete, in a confined space with not much light. The architects decided that the land itself would rise up and become benches, stages, a bulletin board etc, growing from one body but functioning as a whole.
Based on the design concept of rising from the ground, wood and clay bricks became the core materials, while metal was added for the structure. While the entire space was built with bricks, various ways of were applied to keep it from becoming monotonous.
The brick carpet of the plaza was continued to the bus stop and visitor centre, creating a ‘singular’ facility. The visitor centre, was planned as an indoor space, housing a gallery for paintings and books for the residents, while the bus stop was planned as an outdoor space. The two are tied by one roof so that they can cover each other’s functions when necessary.
The whole space is ‘emptied’ rather than filled, giving it a stark modern feel. What fills the space is the residents and visitors.
This story began with the memory of the village elders. Today, it is a hub where every person becomes part of village history through their usage and everyday gratification of the space.