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In the 1960s, Mullae-dong was a dynamic space flourishing with the steel industry. But the demand for steel declined with financial crisis, activity in Mullae-dong has been in decline since the 1980s. Now, apartments for living occupy the space which was used to be factories. Nevertheless, small ironworks still remain in some districts. In these districts, almost all the ironworks are located on the first floor which is easily accessible. Because of the spatial composition, people in the site are in danger. People are also in dangerous environment by contaminated air which is made in processing the steels. But very interestingly, there are many artist studios in second and third floor.

Courtesy of Hyunseong Min

During the site analysis, what amazed me was the offensive smell of steel. Before long, I had a sore throat. A lot of steel dust is made in ironworks and the ironworkers always covered with this dust. To make things worse, ironworks have no space for resting because the pipes occupy most of the space on the ground. On the other hand, artist studios or galleries in the site cannot be accessed easily, like an island. Rooftop gallery in abundance is showing one example for this. This phenomenon could keep the public apart from the studios and galleries.

As a fundamental solution, magnetic bar is installed in each pipe on URBAN SHELTER. Steel dust in polluted air is gathered on each pipe because magnetic bar has attraction for the steel. The steel dust is oxidized by rainwater and transformed from dust to oxidized steel. Pipe has colorful pattern by oxidized steel dust. And seperating the oxidized steel dust from pipe can be more easily by removing the magnetic bar.

Courtesy of Hyunseong Min

Moreover, the pipes located in underground will be growing slowly like a tree. Even the people who go through the indoor exhibition space will be able to see the steel forest through the windows. In the night time, underground space linked with the wind tunnel is used as a musical venue. The space with installed pipes and shadows will provide a very unique atmosphere.

In a rainy day, the accumulated steel dust on the magnetic pipes at the top level will be moving to the purification tank located underground. While falling down, the rust will be mixed with rain, displaying fantastic colors.

Courtesy of Hyunseong Min

This purification process will offer beautiful scenery visually to the visitors through the windows surrounding the waterfall. The design offers a visible process of purifying steel dust indoors in detail, thereby providing educational values. Also, this space function as a center hall, linking the adjacent space that changes with time. The floor connected to each space forms a smoothly curved surface with dynamic scenery to the visitors.

Through this mechanism, the building, Urban Shelter, will change the surrounding environment by purifying the polluted air in the Mullae-area. Ultimately, this will return purified fresh air to the city and create a true Green City.

College of Architecture, Konkuk University, Republic of Korea

Courtesy of Hyunseong Min
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