Whether you’re a shopaholic or a fan of cool architecture, if you’re ever in Seoul, don’t miss out on one of its newest shopping malls. The Korean capital recently completed Common Ground, the world’s largest shopping mall made from shipping containers. Designed by local firm Urbantainer, the 5,300-square-meter pop-up mall was constructed from 200 large modular containers and can be easily modified, moved, or dismantled as needed.
Located in Seoul’s Gwangjin District, Common Ground was an experimental project that sought to revitalize an unused lot in the middle of the capital. The use of prefabricated shipping containers lowered construction cost and reduced construction time to just five months. Each container is painted an eye-catching bright blue and is stacked together into three-story structures that divide the lot into two main spaces: the Market Hall and the Street Market. The stacked containers frame a central square that hosts weekend markets, exhibitions, and performances.
“Street Market draws inspiration from an alley market and keeps the texture of the container intact as much as possible,” writes Urbantainer. “Market Hall capitalises on trusses with strong architectural functions and serve as a reminder of the feeling of a market. In this part, the verticality of stacked container modules and the frames between containers are emphasised.”
In keeping with its unconventional form, Common Ground hosts up-and-coming new designers, mid-sized shops, and editorial stores, rather than large mainstream brands. The 200 shipping containers house seventy stores, twenty restaurants, and a third-floor roof terrace.
Images via Urbantainer