The Jahadam Project was done on a three-way pedestrian overpass located at Shinyoung-Dong, Seoul, Korea. This Project was to develop this pedestrian overpass as a public art structure using a multidisciplinary approach reflecting local cultural and historical context, the bridge’s spatial characteristics and visitor analysis to make it a meaningful experience. The Jahadam project transformed the oldest overpass structure into a new cultural space, combining the resident’s imagination and ideas arising from the surrounding environment where nature and city life coexist.
Local residents had petitioned the government to demolish the overpass because it was an eyesore, however, it was kept in order to maintain the safety of elementary school students who comprise 80 percent of the users of the bridge, with the remaining 20 percent mostly elderly people. Therefore, the surface of the overpass needed to provide adequate traction in any weather condition, in addition to having an updated look and meaning to the local residents.
The Jahadam project consists of three programs: Jaha-stone, Jaha-myth and Jaha-communion. The area surrounding Shinyoung-Dong is well known as a beautiful place surrounded by mountains, rocks and flowing water. The design team worked with a local artist to depict “Jaha-stone” on the floor of the overpass with a combination of natural and luminescent stones that glow with stored sunlight at night, giving the space a mysterious new look at night.
At the Segumjung elementary school, located next to the overpass, the deisgn team worked with students to create stories for Jaha-myth. 92 students participated in the program and drew 97 imaginary animal pictures. Their drawings where brought to life using augmented reality technology at the center of the pedestrian overpass. All the visitors can appreciate their drawings on the overpass by downloading and running the Jahadam app.
Jaha-communion provides the context about the surrounding region where modern cultural artists from various fields reside. The visitors can use the platform to share knowledge and opinions with local artists using a QR code on the pedestrian overpass. Through this platform, the local artists become mentors for students of Segumjung Elementary School and residents by telling diverse stories about their work and on life.
After finishing the project, the completion ceremony was held with more than 140 people, including participating artists, students of Sejong Elementary School and local residents. The response of residents has been positive. One said, “Previously, I was just thinking that the overpass was a very awkward way to cross the road. But, now it’s very beautiful place and I can enjoy walking on the overpass.”
An elementary school student who crosses the overpass every night said, “I am no longer scared when I walk on the newly updated, glittering overpass at night.” Through the Jahadam project, students were able to have a pleasant experience walking over the bridge. Sometimes, they gather glow stones on the floors at night and chat on the overpass, looking at their friends’ works in AR form. Because the new overpass was created with the involvement of students, it has much more meaning for the community.
"The history and context researched as part of the project’s design and development displays an awareness that an urban renewal project must be more than simply aesthetic activation or pretty colors. Each detail and point of human interaction with the new bridge is steeped in local history and culture, giving the bridge a character and place within its community that goes beyond mere public art or artifice."
"Through research and intention, a basic pedestrian overpass transforms into a work of art celebrating history, locals’ imagination, and public interaction."
Seoul Metropolitan Government: Jae Eun Park, Sungtag Woo (master planners)
The Allim: Sukjoon Jang (art director); Byungeun Hyun (principal in charge); Jinyoung Lee, Jaewoo Park (project managers); Jiin Kim (content designer); Sangah Kim (designer)
Collaborative Artists: Je Baak (media artist), Soyoung Chung (artist)
Hanseok Ceratec (pavement work)