Madrid-based studio Daniel Valle Architects have been slected as finalists for a project in Chandong, Seoul, South Korea. The Start-up Center & 50Plus Campus is a mixed regeneration proposal which sees a 16,300 m2 urban block transformed as a hub for start-up companies as well as a 50-plus city campus. In their own words, Daniel Valle Architects explain their ideas behind the design…


At the early twenty century Spanish urban planner Cerda believed that the steam tram would dominate the future of transportation in Barcelona and as such designed the ‘Ensanche’, an urban grid with a 45 degree angle block so that the tram could have enough clearance to turn.

The mass production of cars during the last half of that same century gave birth to the suburban city in the US, a horizontal and low density urban fabric far from the old and dense city centers. Mobility has had a direct roll on city making and will continue to be critical in the shaping of urban form.

Nowadays, mobility innovation is taking place in two scales. The first one, which we hear almost everyday from the media: the long distance (autonomous, electric cars i.e.). The second one, which is happening in a shorter distante, is called ‘the first Km’ of our daily life movements: it is considered the short distance from home/office to the main public transportation hub and viceversa.

This masterplan explores for the entire area of Changdong a new mobility strategy for the FIRST 1KM concept that could shape future developments and give a unique urban character to the area..

It is proposed to allocate a number of mobile devices, with different distance range, (bicycles, scooters, zyrodrones and future ones still to be invented) in all transportation hubs available to general public so that it can be used to reach your final destination within the area. This will draw a plan where accessibility & permeability become main issues in the architectural design for the plots inside the masterplan.

Credit: DVA
Credit: DVA
Credit: DVA
Credit: DVA


It was expected the Start-up Center & 50 Plus Campus to be designed as the leading project inside this masterplan, a reflection of the mobility strategy implemented.

The proposed building is organized in four longitudinal “bands” (or buildings) in a West-East orientation in order to maximize the orientation to the south. Buildings are separated between each other by green outdoor spaces providing privacy and relaxing views from the interior. This organization also allows for natural cross ventilation in most of the interior spaces.

The four buildings are connected by the creative podium, an open plan organization in the ground level, permeable in all directions, where different generation of students and professionals can meet and share ideas. The programs related to the manufacturing (3D printing, CNC, laser printing, etc) are located in the heart of the building, accessible to all from various levels.

The creative podium has universal accessibility and it is designed to allow various mobility devices to enter and move freely.

Credit: DVA
Credit: DVA


To encourage the use of clean transportation devices the building offers a large number of parking areas for various personal mobility vehicles.

The urban bike line crosses the building and enters the Generation Convergence Zone on the 1F allocating a large bike parking in the heart of the building.

More and more we see the personal portable vehicle as an extension of our body, same way the mobile phone or the laptop are. These portable vehicles are becoming extremely light and small. The degree of permeability of these vehicles in the building is directly related to the size and weight of them. The lightest and smallest ones can be taken all the way to the working desk while the bigger ones (like the bike) penetrates only up to the 1F and 2F.

Credit: DVA
Credit: DVA
Credit: DVA
Credit: DVA

About the Architect

Daniel Valle Architects is a Madrid based group of architects and urban planners operating in the fields of architecture, interior, communication and urban design with a branch office in Seoul allowing an international practice between Asia and Europe. Daniel Valle Architects was founded in Madrid in 2003 by architect Daniel Valle.

DVA started from the very beginning to cultivate a culture of work orientated to provide the best solutions to our clients. Our aim is not only to fulfill the given requirements but to add value to all stakeholders involve in the project.

The company we wish to be is a reflection of what the world is today… multicultural and interconnected.

We have been working for the last ten years in more than thirty different projects distributed in two continents, nine countries, fifteen cities, and seven different languages. Currently the office is participating in various types of design and construction collaborations distributed along three different areas of the world such as South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, and the European Union. The EU became the early “playground” for DVA in the early 2000 when the office started to operate from Madrid office. Later the work shifted to Asia with the branch office of Seoul acting as the magnet of latest work. Between the years 2009 and 2011 the office was involved also in various projects in the Middle East.

DVA has gained building experience in countries like Spain, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates allowing us to offer our clients the expertise and “know how” to design and build in those areas and others still to explore. The fields of expertise cover the entire process of design and construction including conceptual design, preliminary design, construction documents, tendering, construction supervision and commissioning and handover. DVA provides services to obtain sustainable certifications (LEED, Estidama or CTE) for our building and master plan.

Project Credits

Project name: Design competition for a Start-up Center and 50Plus Campus and the Urban Regeneration Project in Changdong and Sanggye

Competition finalist

Location: Chandong. Seoul, South Korea

Size: 16300 m2

Year: 2017

Credits: Daniel Valle Architects (Daniel Valle, Irene R Vara, Yejun Pee, Sojung Noh, Iago Blanco)

Visualization: Fran Mateos

Façade consultant: VS-A