With this exhibition Dominique Perrault underlines his conviction for the potential of a better use of our cities underground. Nowadays, subsurface constructions are a particular form of architecture, a technical and logistics realm, which is buried to avoid seeing it. The SubLab (Laboratory for Underground Architecture) under Dominique Perrault' s direction, aims to correct this low exploitation and the rather unflattering terminology associated with it. As environmental challenges and urban problematic issues are forcing architects to extend their research area, the idea is to find new ways to occupy the territory - into the depths.
The installation consists of two complementary parts: one section shows research projects with a sequence of experiments brought to Aedes by university students from EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland) and EWHA (Womans University, Seoul,South Korea) as well as the professional research corpus developed around ‘Groundscape’ by Dominique Perrault´s office research platform: DPAx.
The second section presents the newly won competition entry of Dominique Perrault Architecture in partnership with Junglim Consortium from Korea called ‘Lightwalk’. It is a definite underground urban project that will form a new zone within the city of Seoul, in dialogue with the Han River and Tancheon stream. The program with a build area of 167,000 m2 includes a multi-modal hub, train station, urban park, and commercial complex, requiring a large-scale intervention in the city. The completion is scheduled for 2023.
The proposals of Dominique Perrault´s ‘SubLab’ and the students’ research demonstrate that ‘Groundscape’ can be a potent catalyst for urban networks. It also offers naturally ideal thermal inertia and ensures utmost respect for the landscape as a whole, providing elegant enhancements to the architectural heritage. So this final terrestrial frontier is economically within reach, with its vast, virtually untapped reserve of real estate. For developers, the ‘Groundscape’ opens up the possibility of expanding a building while respecting its context. For municipal authorities, it promises to provide a major source of revenue thanks to newly available development sites in central locations. The resources unlocked from this underground zone will enable cities to intensify urban life without increasing density.