Posts tagged with "Seoul":

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OMA’s completed Galleria department store in South Korea certainly stands out

Rotterdam-based Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has completed the newest outpost for upscale South Korean department store chain Galleria, in the fast-growing planned city of Gwanggyo. The Gwanggyo location, just south of Seoul, is the sixth and largest store overall for the venerable, nearly 50-year-old luxury retailer, and its first new location in a decade. Although other Galleria stores are distinctive from a design standpoint, this one takes the proverbial cake. Set against a backdrop of residential high-rises, the building takes the form of a monolithic slab of granite with a pixilated mosaic facade that’s meant to “evoke the nature of” the neighboring Suwon Gwanggyo Lake Park, per OMA. Protruding prism-like from the hulking structure is a meandering, multifaceted glass passageway, complete with a “series of cascading terraces,” that wraps itself around the entirety of the eight-story building twice. Beginning on the ground floor and concluding at an outdoor rooftop garden, the circuitous corridor serves as a public route where well-heeled shoppers—and also the general public—can pause and take in arts- and leisure-minded activities including exhibitions and live performances. “With a public loop deliberately designed for cultural offerings, Galleria in Gwanggyo is a place where visitors engage with architecture and culture as they shop,” said OMA partner Chris van Duijn in a statement. “They leave with a unique retail experience blended with pleasant surprises after each visit.” At first glance, this wildly idiosyncratic department store resembles a glistening, Paul Bunyan-sized mineral stone. Some critics, however, are reminded of other things: In total, the rubberneck-inducing department store, which OMA envisioned as a “a natural point of gravity for public life in Gwanggyo,” encompasses roughly 1.6 million square feet including a sizable, multi-level subterranean space complete with a market hall. The building’s upper floors are home to a movie theater, lounges, restaurants, and other amenities. According to the English-language daily The Korea Times, the Gwanggyo branch of Galleria was slated to open to the public in late February but was delayed to concerns over the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Galleria, which is akin to Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom but perhaps a touch ritzier at some locations, is owned by South Korean mega-conglomerate Hanwha.
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Seoul’s semi-basement dwellers get financial boost from the city after Parasite

Hot off the staggering success of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite at the 92nd Academy Awards, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is extending a helping hand to those living in the city’s cramped and famously flood-prone semi-basement apartments. As reported by English-language daily the Korea Herald, a total of 1,500 households living in semi-basement apartments, or Banjiha, will be eligible for up to ₩3.2 million (approximately $2,654) to invest in new flooring, improved HVAC systems, air purifiers, smoke detectors, and other items that are in need of replacement or altogether lacking in Seoul’s halfway-subterranean homes. According to the Los Angeles Times, there were over 360,000 semi-basement apartments in South Korea as of 2015, with a majority located in the country’s ultra-dense capital region. Many of the units were originally built as bunkers in the 1970s—an era when military tension with North Korea was at a boiling point—and later converted into ultra-cheap rental units with little regard for comfort or safety. Although a more affordable option compared to high-rise apartment blocks that a majority of Seoul residents call home, Banjiha are dark, damp, poorly ventilated, and often too compact to support the number of people living in them. Seventy-eight percent of Seoul’s semi-basement dwellers are in the bottom 30 percent income bracket, per city statistics cited by the Korea Herald. The Banjiha upgrade initiative, spearheaded by the city in partnership with the Korean Energy Foundation, will begin accepting applications from households in March with plans to expand the range of applications eligible to apply in subsequent years. The financial aid is being dispersed as a larger effort to help low-income Seoul residents improve and boost efficiency in their aging, with priority given to semi-basement apartment dwellers. Featured prominently in Parasite as the primary residence of the scheming Kim family, Seoul’s semi-basement apartments have garnered a significant amount of attention since the film’s release. As detailed by AN in a recent article, Bong used the built environment—specifically two very different modes of housing, the dreary semi-basement apartment and the ultramodern, quasi-suburban luxury home—to propel the film’s pointed social commentary. “Banjiha is a space with a peculiar connotation... It’s undeniably underground, and yet you want to believe it’s above ground,” the Times quoted Bong as saying following Parasite’s premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. “There’s also the fear that if you sink any lower, you may go completely underground.” While the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Banjiha-earmarked financial aid program won’t lift semi-basement dwellers fully above ground, it does function as a life preserver of sorts, helping to prevent thousands from sinking even further. Just call it the Parasite Effect.
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MVRDV to redevelop Seoul waterfront as sprawling urban park

Rotterdam-based MVRDV is no stranger to the Seoul area. Its 2018 addition to the Paradise City development, dubbed The Imprint, provided an abstract boost for the colossal entertainment complex near South Korea’s largest airport. This month it was announced the firm won a competition for the major redesign of the Tencheon valley and waterfront in Seoul with "The Weaves," set to begin construction in 2021. The Weaves site is located on a large stretch of waterfront land between Seoul’s former Olympic stadium in the Jamsil District and the central business district of Gangnam. In an area dominated by elevated roadways and parking lots, MVRDV plans to turn our attention to the natural landscape, focusing on three major aspects in its design: natural ecosystems, pedestrian access, and space for public programming. “Seoul is taking amazing steps to transform grey and obsolete infrastructure into lively green and social spaces," said MVRDV founding partner Winy Maas in a press release. "The Weaves is a design that introduces natural landscape combined with exceptional, varied access. It also responds to the local identity. Jamsil is known for its history of silk production and the design recalls the tangled silk threads of its past in a unique and playful way. It becomes an intertwining poem where movement becomes landscape poetry.” Major plans include returning the Tancheon river to a more naturalistic state, changing it from a straight canal to a whimsical, meandering stream with retention pools, islands, and aquatic plants to “blur the boundary between land and water.” Additionally, a series of winding paths will allow pedestrian access throughout the site from various points. These graded, intersecting paths will form plazas with cafes and amphitheaters to accommodate vast public programs. Construction of The Weaves is expected to take approximately three years, with projected completion in 2024.
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Obra Architects creates self-contained, yearlong spring in Seoul

The New York and Seoul–based Obra Architects, along with Front Inc., Obra Abrim, Dongsimwon Landscape, and Supermass Studio, have created an oasis of “perpetual spring” in a public courtyard in Seoul. Supported by Korea’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art as part of their exhibition The Square: Art and Society, the experimental pavilion features 150 polycarbonate “eyes” that look into a lush venue full pf weather designed to be blissful year-round. This Climate Correcting Machine does away with fall and winter to comment on the ongoing climate crisis and how environmental conditions shape how we coexist with one another. The high-concept greenhouse uses an adaptable climate control system with photovoltaic panels on the museum’s roof powering exhaust fans, aluminum curtains, and phase-change radiant floor-heating to keep the space in constant vernal equilibrium. A garden, one that normally could only survive outdoors in spring, will be growing throughout the colder months while digital displays provide info to visitors on global environmental data. The architects suggest that the season of spring is conducive not only to happiness and socializing, but to progressive values, debate, and organizing, citing events like the 1968 Prague Spring and the 2010 Arab Spring. In that spirit, the installation is designed to be a gathering point and venue for programming such as lectures, readings, and performances, as well as discussion groups. “There can be a lot of elitism in how museums are curated, this opens it up to anyone,” explained Obra principal Pablo Castro. In addition, various guests have been invited to discuss issues related to democracy and the ongoing climate emergency. The Climate Correcting Machine is a prototype for a larger “project with a capital P,” according to Castro. “We’re not building a particular space, but a deployable system.” Future systems, which are being developed along with Front and Arup, would have even more automated technologies, heating walls, and feature sensors both inside and at a distance that operate HVAC and lighting systems by taking into account approaching weather and “climactic inertia.”
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Seoul's Robot Science Museum will be its own first exhibition

The soon-to-be-built Robot Science Museum in Seoul, South Korea, will be a robotics exhibition itself. The museum, to be designed by Turkish firm Melike Altınışık Architects (MAA), will be built by robots when construction begins next year. In this way, the construction of the building itself will be the museum’s “first exhibition,” according to principal Melike Altınışık, whose firm is already known for distinctively sci-fi buildings like the 882-foot Küçük Çamlıca TV and Radio Tower, which is currently under construction in Istanbul. The ovoid form of the museum, which will display a range of technologies, including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, and holograms, is designed to create a set of “non-directional” relationships both within the interiors, but also in the public space and the street that surrounds it. The intent is to shift relationships for foot and vehicle traffic and create a more ambiguous flow between inside and out. The entire architectural and visual language of the museum is intended to showcase the museum’s own mission to educate the public on science and technology by using cutting-edge materials and high-tech fabrication techniques, including robotic construction. While the specifics of the robot technology to be used will be announced later this spring, the current plan is to use one “team” of robots to construct the curved metal facade, completing all steps from shaping to assembly to welding and polishing. An additional team of robots will 3-D print concrete, primarily for the spaces surrounding the museum. Both will be directed by BIM systems and help the building itself “manifest robots, science, technology, and innovation,” according to MAA. The museum was commissioned by the Seoul Metropolitan Government and will operate as part of the Seoul Metropolitan Museums with plans to open in full in 2022. It will form part of the Changbai New Economic Center in Seoul’s Chang-dong neighborhood as part of a new cultural center.
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MVRDV distorts reality in South Korea's Paradise City

MVRDV’s dual-building addition to South Korea’s Paradise City development is a lesson in abstraction. The new structures featuring windowless facades and glowing, curtain-like entry points. The Imprint is the Dutch firm’s idea for an arts and entertainment complex completely made for play. Located 32 miles from Seoul next to the Incheon Airport, Paradise City is a six-building campus with a hotel, casino, and food court on site. MVRDV’s recently completed buildings, designed in collaboration with Gansam Architects, rounds out the site’s masterplan with two new buildings housing a nightclub and an indoor amusement park. According to the design team, the client challenged them to conceive a design with no windows that also complemented the surrounding buildings. To achieve this, they mirrored the facades of the other structures and draped their outlines over the buildings like shadows. The result is an “imprint” or relief pattern, made out of glass-fiber reinforced concrete panels that were formed from individual molds. By emphasizing the window- and door-like shapes imprinted on the exterior cladding, MVRDV was able to create a texture and depth using different reveals and etched lines. While these forms are entirely real, for all intents and purposes they create a powerful illusion. One of the most surprising design elements is the splash of gold paint that overlaps from one corner of the rectangular nightclub and covers nearly one-third of its elongated facade. The architects lifted a center section of that exterior wall to reveal a curtain-like entryway for visitors to pass through once walking up the stairs to the complex. Inside is a psychedelic passage that brings fun seekers through the belly of the building onto the central plaza of Paradise City. The same scrunched entrance to the tunnel is mimicked on the opposite side of the building where it is painted in white. The indoor amusement park, a slightly curved, lower-hanging building, also features the expressive relief pattern that’s imprinted on its neighbor, but is strictly painted in a muted white color. A corner of the building is also lifted that serves as an actual entrance and boasts a chromatic and reflective hallway that leads visitors to the circus that’s inside.
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2017 Best of Design Awards for Representation – Analog

2017 Best of Design Award for Representation – Analog: Cosmic Metropolis Designer: Van Dusen Architects Location: Conceptual Cosmic Metropolis began as a single 18-by-24-inch improvised cityscape riff, rendered freehand in ink and marker. The composition grew organically in axonometric format from the first panel and expanded to many others. When complete, 18 panels arranged six wide by three tall make up the nine-by-six-foot mural, which repeats horizontally. The black, white, and gray tones create an illusion of depth in the total absence of shadows. “A wonderfully wild energy here.” —Irene Sunwoo, Director of Exhibitions, GSAPP (juror) Artist: Ben Van Dusen Digital Fabricator: Ellen Van Dusen Honorable Mention  Project: Trash Peaks Designer: Design Earth  Location: 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism Trash Peaks proposes six projects on geographies of waste in Seoul, represented by a carpet, a screen, and ceramics. The carpet is an infographic for each project. The ceramic models function as tea ceremony tableware. The folding screen appropriates the Korean irworobongdo, which portrays a stylized landscape of peaks, to critique the relationship between technology and threatened ecologies.
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Seoul's latest skyscraper utilizes 20 different types of glass

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The Lotte World Tower rises from bustling Seoul, South Korea, as a sleek new city icon. For the team behind the 123-story building at global architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), creating this seamless silhouette meant a challenge of engineering ingenuity—and quite a bit of glass.

  • Facade Manufacturer Shanghai Yaohua Pilkington Glass Group, Daejin (Guardian, Jin Jing, HanGlas), North Glass (glass suppliers)
  • Architects Kohn Pedersen Fox
  • Facade Installer Lixil Group (facade subcontractor); Lotte (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Alt Cladding (facade design engineer); Curtainwall Design Consulting (facade construction engineer); Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin (wind engineer); Leslie E. Robertson Associates (structural engineer)
  • Location Seoul, South Korea
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System curtain wall
  • Products DuPont SentryGlas Plus (laminated glass); mirrored frit; heat-strengthened glass; reflective coatings 

“Even though it looks like one big monolithic tower, there are 20 different types of glass on that tower,” explained KPF’s Richard Nemeth, managing principal for the project, which opened earlier this year. The 1,821-foot-tall silhouette was inspired by traditional Korean forms like pottery and paintbrushes, but its multiple functions helped dictate the form as well. Office space is located at the bottom, while the tower tapers in two directions—“think football instead of baseball”—offering smaller spans from core to glass toward the top of the tower, where the residences, hotel, and observation deck are located.

At the base, a 100-foot-tall lobby utilizes a gradient of mirrored frits on the glazing to provide shading while accommodating views at ground level; at the top of the tower, frits were used to highlight the diagrid of the belt trusses. The residences utilize laminated safety glass on the inner lite with heat-strengthened glass on the outer lite, while the hotel and office sections use heat-strengthened glass for both. To keep the building from looking like a “giant patchwork quilt,” Nemeth said, the KPF team ensured that the outer lite is always the same thickness, with the reflective coating on the number-two surface. “Then, whatever you do on your inner lite is much less visible to the outside, because it’s inside the reflective coating,” he explained. While the world’s fifth-tallest building includes a number of innovative energy-saving strategies, for many visitors the tower’s crowning achievement is the glass-floored observation deck—the world’s tallest. Cantilevering out, it offers views some 1,600 feet down—with just three layers of 10-millimeter-thick tempered glass with SentryGlas Plus interlayers separating viewers from the ground.
 
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Volcanic stone wraps new publishing headquarters

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Paju Book City, around an hour's drive north of Seoul, is a unique cultural complex entirely devoted to the creation, publication, merchandising, and sales of Korean books. Around 250 publishers with over 10,000 workers call Paju Book City home. Fittingly, Paju Book City is also the site of the Rainbow Publishing Headquarters, recently completed by London-based DaeWha Kang Design. The project is a mixed-use four-story building that combines offices, a gallery, and a residence for its Korean-based publisher. A simple box-like volume incorporates a large vertical window on its primary facade, revealing a custom-designed bookshelf and staircase configuration that provides a growing archive for the publisher’s collection of work.
  • Architects DaeWha Kang Design (design architect); Lee & Lee (local architect)
  • Facade Installer L’Espace (general contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Younha Rhee (sustainability consultant)
  • Location Jeju Book City (South Korea)
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System reinforced concrete structure with masonry veneer
  • Products locally sourced hyeon-mu-am volcanic stone
Bricks of varying depths, from approximately 2-1/2 inches to four inches, are composed to produce a staggered geological strata-like patterning up the shell of the building. This subtle use of texture and rhythm “adds layers of richness and meaning to otherwise austere forms, according to the projects London-based architect DaeWha Kang. “The challenge of the project was to create a dramatic impact within limited means. Simplifying the volume and focusing on the quadruple height space of the main circulation stair creates a sense of monumentality and strength.” The brick material Kang used is inspired by hyeon-mu-am volcanic stone traditionally sourced from Jeju Island, a volcanic island off the southern tip of South Korea, although for this project the low-density basalt veneer bricks were sourced from nearby China for budgetary reasons. The material is common among Korean decorative objects and Kang estimates around 200 to 300 buildings in nearby Seoul incorporate the material, analogous to a granite or other specialty stone, on their facade. The most notable component of the project is a staircase that wraps around a 100-shelf bookcase which serves to catalog the work of the publisher. Kang said the vision of the publisher is to produce small print run biographies of ordinary Koreans who have lived through extraordinary times of the twentieth century, building up a country from one of the poorest in the world to a globally successful economy. “Their belief is that while individual lives might be only small sparks of light when collected and seen together they might come together into a beautiful rainbow.” The staircase winds its way around one hundred levels of shelves, rising through the years from 1918 to 2017. As the publishers release each book, they will put the new biographies on the shelves corresponding to the years when their subjects were born. In this way, the journey through the building becomes a journey through the history of the country and its people. The custom fabricated wood and steel bookshelf is revealed to the exterior by means of a large vertical window. By coordinating joints of the butt glazed window panels with the angle of the staircase, a more seamless and transparent view to the bookshelf beyond was achieved. The diagonal geometry of the window panels pairs nicely with a tapered wall return, which accentuates the depth of the facade and establishes a planar starting point for the textured brick patterning of the facade. Kang’s office analyzed the siting of the building and local climatic conditions help to establish key views both to the building from the surrounding city and to the surrounding mountains from within the building. This resulted in positioning the building with precise setbacks. The long side elevation performatively absorbs winter sunlight, radiating heat to the garden while protecting the site from northerly wind. Small windows on the north elevation help to manage heat loss while encouraging cross ventilation. This understanding of the site allows the building to quietly perform. Kang said that, in the end, the project was an effort to create a timeless building through simple volumetrics and materiality.
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Pop-up playground design lets you decide what you're playing

When space to play is hard to come by, there isn't always room for multiple recreational activities like soccer and basketball. In Seoul, South Korea, designated recreational areas have to be booked up to two months in advance. Of course, as most children will gladly inform you, any space can be played in so long as there is a ball. Abiding by this ethos, B.U.S. Architecture from Seoul has designed the "Undefined Playground," a transportable and transformable sports pavilion. Offering tennis, soccer, basketball, and "flying disc" configurations, the foldable structure is set on wheels, which allows it to be rolled onto any hard surface. When folded accordingly, goal posts for soccer can be revealed, as can basketball hoops and a tennis wall. The pentagonal, steel frame features wood panelling, rises to 12 feet, and occupies 158 square feet. When fully open, a hammock (formed from nets) stretches out within the structure. Additionally, space for storage and a snack bar—which can serve as a ticket booth—make it a versatile recreation utility for dense urban environments.
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DaeWha Kang Design integrates aesthetics and building performance with workplace retrofit

"Every time we build or renovate a building, we make a public act." - DaeWha Kang

By combining contemporary material processes with organic principles, DaeWha Kang Design has transformed a 1980’s-era office building into a new dynamic headquarters for Communique, a public relations firm in Seoul Korea. With a very limited budget, the project team focused on four key points throughout the design process: the production of a human-oriented design, an environmentally responsive facade, a collaborative working environment, and evaluation of design through simulation and measurement. The renovation scope includes retrofitting a ground level parking area into an indoor/outdoor café, re-programming of the office area to maximize daylight for employee desk locations, and a rooftop terrace inspired by traditional Korean hoerang, or circumambulatory walkways. One of the most eyecatching elements of the project is an existing column, on the ground level, clad with a tessellation of silver leaves. The mirror finish stainless steel panels reflect the activity of the street while also visually doubling the height of a relatively low existing space (less than 9 feet). A curved surface between the column and the soffit is realized with singly folded diamond shaped panels, producing a triangulated effect. The pattern expands beyond the intensity of the column, into larger flat shaped panels. This geometry wraps up the facade, producing a primary grid which further warps in response to sightlines of the building from the surrounding urban context. The architects incorporated new high-performance double-glazed units and provided insulation at the exterior walls to combat significant thermal and condensation issues in the existing building. MaCheon grey granite panels regionally sourced provide a strong gray coloration to the facade. DaeWha Kang, Principal of DaeWha Kang Design, says the panels are attached to the facade with a simple bracket and pin anchoring detail allowing for future removal for maintenance if necessary: “That means that even if the building facade needs to be maintained in thirty or forty years time, it will be possible to remove each of the panels from the brackets without damaging them.”
  • Facade Manufacturer Chowon Partners (Kim Deuk Yong)
  • Architects DaeWha Kang Design (design architect); Chowon Partners (local architect)
  • Facade Installer Chowon Partners (Kim Deuk Yong)
  • Facade Consultants Michal Wojtkiewicz (innovation benchmarking); Younha Rhee (sustainability consultant)
  • Location Seoul, Korea
  • Date of Completion 2015
  • System sealed granite panels on subframe over reinforced concrete structure; stainless steel panels on ground level
  • Products fully custom MaCheon grey granite and stainless steel panel assembly, window assembly from custom profiles
Digital analysis tools were employed during the design process to correct existing glare and daylighting issues in the existing space. Solar radiation analysis helped to determine the optimum quantity and location of windows in the office floors, while various window opening directions were tested in a fluid dynamics simulation. The team ended up with a series of casement windows that produce gill-like openings in the building envelope. These openings are paired with louvered blinds on the interior for further glare reduction without blocking air circulation. One of the significant findings from the analysis was that the lower floors required larger openings than the upper floors. Establishing an optimum window opening size allowed the panelization of the facade to geometrically integrate with the openings, creating what Kang calls “a completely organic integration of aesthetics and building performance.” The patterning of the facade was further influenced by standard block lengths from the quarry where the stone was sourced, constructability factors such as the maximum weight for a one-person installation, and the reduction in quantity of more costly curved panel geometry. These constraints produced secondary panelization geometry. A hierarchy between the two grids was visually reinforced by a chamfered corner cut all at primary grid lines, producing a shadow gap along the panel edge. Kang says this architectural process has produced a project that “has content and character, not just branding and image,” and is aligned with broader community ideals: “Projects like this are crucial in Seoul. We must move beyond the city as an accumulation of isolated buildings that do nothing for their surrounding neighborhood, and instead support clients who have a vision to do something more with their ambitions.”
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Seoul Square to act as a 21st Century platform for self expression

New York based Studio Dror claims their proposal for a public space in Seoul acts as a 21st century platform for public self expression on an individual and community level. Their submission is part of the Sejong-daero Historic Cultural Space Design Competition which is seeking projects to occupy the former site of Seoul’s National Tax Service Building. The project seeks to integrate the surrounding context with the cultural history of the site by creating a meaningful and accessible public resource that touches on private and public experiences. This is achieved via the implementation of raised platforms that offering sweeping views of the area, juxtaposed by lower down areas which offer a much more enclosed space. Eager to amplify the notion of expression at this level however, Studio Dror has included a public stage with in the space creating an amphitheater that also, according to the practice, "doubles as a recording studio to document and maximize exposure." This is aided by the surrounding walls that encapsulate the space and act as an acoustic device. The square will be open 24 hours a day, all year round allowing people to express themselves whenever they want and for all voices to be heard. Recognizing the popular contemporary digital and online formats of expression, a digital archive will be formed, creating an "ever-growing oral history project: an invaluable resource for future generations and a powerful, 21st-century strategy for memorializing the site."