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Speculators of Seoul have long exploited and distorted the concept of modernism to accumulate maximum earnings and profits. Homogenization of space didn’t grant social equity but rather paved advantageous platforms for real estate gamblers, leading the extinction of heterogeneous urban fabrics in favor of standardized, profitable concrete blocks. 


Fake Ville Radieuses, covering nearly half of the housing in Seoul, has dominated not only the economics of the real estate market but also meticulously curated the architectural taste of the general public. The tenant’s lifestyle, as well as the value of the complex, is determined by the colossal corporate logo on the facade and the celebrity who markets the brand. Attractive copies such as “Invest in Luxury - Samsung Apartment” are considered more vital in choosing a habitat than traditional qualities of space. Speculators of distorted utopia have perfectly secured the means for apprehending the logic of the system, dominating Seoul’s urban mechanism and spatial ideologies.


Lofty yet solitary architects in Seoul have long abhorred these speculators and their masterplans, suggesting that Seoulians should escape from the totalizing devices and seek alternatives. 


Architects started to keep away from the idea of utopianism and leaned towards heterotopia. For architects, the informal, heterogeneous places (some received from tradition and others produced by observation) and non-hegemonic programs that it contained seemed like a great army that they could train for combat against the massive concrete blocks. Some started to speak eloquently to the general public, asking them to join the journey of dismantling and hashing fake utopias through the power of heterotopias. Few sensitive people responded. Others were still busy finding a way to win the space gamble. Along with a few supporters who were determined to escape from the scam of imaginary totalization, Architects proudly declared the noble crusade against the capitalist developers.


Speculators, however, viewed the protest of the architects and their supporters as an opportunity rather than a threat. Just like how the 20th-century capitalists made money out of utopian dreams, they now had a fresh new concept, heterotopia, to exploit. Learning from their predecessors who have deformed soviet communal housing project into a giant cash-cow, developers were confident in manipulatively making profit out of emerging ideals. 


Sewon Roy Kim

Gwal Kim
Javier Morras



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