Mapo Cultural Depot by HENN

Mapo Cultural Depot

The Mapo Oil Depot is one of several oil reservoirs constructed in Korea during the oil crisis in the 1970s. In 2000, during the preparations for the World Cup, the depot was taken out of operation for security reasons.

This exceptional area with its morbid oil tanks is now to be transformed into a cultural and leisure destination. Like relics from a different era, the severely corroded steel cylinders have entrenched themselves in the hilly landscape on the western outskirts of Seoul.

In contrast to the busy neighbouring districts, the depot remains secluded and composed while its hillside location gives it the appearance of a rostrum opening up towards the south with a view of the skyline. Three restructuring measures are planned.

One of the five tanks will remain in its original state and will be accessible for visitors. Three further tanks that are adjacent to one another will be dismantled down to their steel framework and flooded together with the surrounding concrete shell.

A slightly sunken, three metre wide footbridge runs across the water surface, along the erstwhile circular surface area. For visitors, the surreal topography of the tanks and their “imprints” is an impressive experience. The broad, tranquil water surfaces create a horizon of their own, while disseminating a contemplative atmosphere.

The arts centre includes a café, function rooms as well as a library and is the only object which rises above the original height of the building unit. While the structure replaces the fifth tank, its cylindrical cubature and metallic recalls its steely predecessor and in this way brings the ensemble to completion. Source by HENN.

  • Location: Seoul, South Korea
  • Architect: HENN
  • Client: Seoul Metropolitan Government
  • Images: Courtesy of HENN