Date of Award
Master in Interior Architecture [Adaptive Reuse]
Lonely Death Syndrome is a phenomenon in which an isolated person suffers a lack of social relationships and dies alone. This is a serious problem in modern South Korea, particularly among poor elderly people living in Seoul. Though the government has tried to help, there is an obvious bureaucratic limit in resolving the sense of loneliness. In Seoul, Nowon-gu is one of the districts that has the highest concentration of poor seniors, and high-rise rental housing built for this population. These apartments are uniform in design in order to house as many people as possible economically in a limited space, furthering isolation through vertical and horizontal disconnection. This typology worsens alienation not only within the same buildings but also from the people in the surrounding city. It is crucial to break physical and social walls between lonely seniors and other members of the surrounding community by making a new communal design template for existing rental housings in Nowon-gu.
This proposal is situated in Junggye Jugong Complex 9, a permanent rental apartment complex located in the center of Nowon-gu, and intervenes within two residential towers and a town hall. This apartment complex is typical of other apartment clusters in Seoul. The design intervention weaves together the existing structures from the outside, allowing residents to remain in their homes while creating common area that join previously divided units and floors. Elderly residents will enjoy renewed and diverse public networks based on their location. The proposal also provides another public zone for people from those three buildings, making a further link to the town hall for residents and younger students from a school nearby. This place is for daily casual gathering and, at the same time, producing educational content for the younger generation by gathering collective memories alongside the elders. Seniors can contribute to this community archive by providing their own remembrances and histories. As a result, through the creation of a varied infrastructure for connecting individuals, this intervention will stimulate multi-generational social interactions, broaden boundaries for seniors' daily activities, and counteract the circumstances responsible for Lonely Death Syndrome.
Kim, Woohee, "The second home: breaking the cycle of lonely death" (2021). Masters Theses. 718.
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