Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]


Interior Architecture

First Advisor

Jonathan Bell

Second Advisor

Markus Berger

Third Advisor

Julia Bernert


The early 20th century was an important time for economic development and modernization around the world. However, the Republic of Korea spent decades suffering under Japanese colonial rule. For that reason, preservation or demolition of buildings built during the Japanese colonial period remains a polarizing topic. Many of these structures have been demolished or neglected, unrecognized for their historical and architectural value. Although Koreans learn about the colonial era in school, if those physical places experienced in their daily life gradually disappear, they will forget this difficult history. These structures should be a space where people can feel historical lessons as a living part of their daily life.

The Old Seoul Station was the conduit of Japanese imperialistic exploitation of Korea, but was mostly known to millions as an active station until the New Seoul Station was established in 2004. Since the completion of the new station, the old has had no identity and been neglected from the surrounding context.

This thesis suggests that reuse should be achieved according to the programs lacking in the region to which the structure belongs. In this case, considering that the new and historic stations are focused on movement and business commuters, what local people lack is pause and this thesis reimagines how to insert a moment of rest and reflection within the station. Physical and mental relaxation is determined as the main program, and a design strategy is established based on three architectural challenges between the two stations. Disconnection and complex flow are addressed by simplifying wayfinding from the New Seoul Station into the Old Seoul Station, by coring a single passage through the historic space. The unused forecourt is reemphasized through transparency and reflection of glass to acknowledge the layered complexity of the site. Visitors explore the forecourt and Old Seoul Station according to a planned sequence with moments of restoration and reflection. Visitors will not only replenish themselves, but also realize the lessons of the past as they encounter historical evidence. Each of these moments is woven together through the spatial experience of light and darkness.

Through this form of reuse, modern structures with historical importance but alongside negative association will acquire new value and adapt into modern society.


View exhibition online: Jae Cho, Space Between Memories: PAUSE



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