OWL Magazine Korea

Seoul Innovation Park at Bulgwang Station, Eunpyeong-gu

Located in Nokbeon-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul, the Seoul Innovation Park was developed on the site where the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) was previously situated. It serves as an innovative space where citizens can find a place for relaxation and various experiences related to healthy living, as well as engage in activities addressing social issues.

Established in 2015, the park stands as one of the achievements of former Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon. Recently, current Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon has set a goal to transform this place into a new landmark since taking office.

“Seoul Innovation Center in Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul”

The Seoul Innovation Center was established in 2015 under the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s ordinance on the installation and operation of Seoul Innovation Park. Since 2021, a consortium selected through public bidding has been entrusted with its operation.

The complex includes three buildings, ten wings, one annex, two cafes, an innovation square, Seoul Archives, and the Seoul 50 Plus Sub Campus.

“After 10 Years, a Visit to Seoul Innovation Center”

Personally, my first visit to this place was a decade ago. I visited on December 11, 2013, when it was still called the “Seoul Creative Lab” before its name changed to the Seoul Innovation Center. Back then, I attended a lecture by photographer Cho Jae-man at this location.

Photographer Cho Jae-man was internationally renowned and had taken photos with famous football players such as Park Ji-sung and Zlatan Ibrahimović, among others. He was an artist engaged in various activities.

The core of his lecture was “Have more than two occupations and hobbies.” Looking back, it’s been over 10 years since I attended that lecture. At that time, I had just been selected as a power blogger, and it was a time when I was surprised to be selected as one. I had been steadily writing on my blog without anything special, maintaining my own style. Through this, I happened to be selected as a power blogger, and it was a time when I was surprised at myself.

Since then, I continued to write on my blog steadily, and now I have become someone who has been operating a blog and a website for over 10 years. In a way, starting writing as a hobby and side job, it may have led to having both a job and a hobby.

“The Landscape of Seoul Innovation Center”

The day I visited Seoul Innovation Center was a quiet Sunday afternoon. Many people were visiting the campus as the weather had turned warm after a long period of cold. I could also see many kids riding bicycles and scooters.

Since it was a holiday, I couldn’t enter the building, but it was refreshing to look back at the campus where I had attended a lecture long ago.

“The Buildings of Seoul Innovation Center”

Seoul Innovation Center consists of various buildings, including:

  • Future Wing: The main building that serves as the center of the innovation center, and also houses the Seoul Innovation Center.
  • Imagination Wing: Used as a shared and multi-purpose experimental space.
  • Youth Wing
  • Training Wing: A social community hostel for experiments and relaxation.
  • Connection Wing: A meeting space connecting the Training Wing, Imagination Wing, and Sharing Wing.
  • Sharing Wing: A multi-purpose space.
  • Participation Wing: A space for citizen convenience.
  • Regeneration Wing: Formerly the ‘Experiment Wing’ during the KDCA era, now used as an experimental space for various forms of upcycling and recycling.
  • Theater Wing: Previously used as the main hall for the Health and Welfare Human Resources Development Institute during the KDCA era, it now serves as a public cultural collaborative workshop for citizens.
  • Art Wing: Formerly the wastewater treatment plant during the KDCA era, now used as a space for various genre convergence experiments through collaboration with artists.
  • Taste Wing: A space for culinary culture experiments.
  • Production Wing
  • Woodworking Wing
  • SeMA Warehouse: Originally a reagent storage of KDCA and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, it is now utilized as an exhibition space for the Seoul Museum of Art.
  • Café for Thinking about the Earth
  • Innovation Square: A grassy square with a basketball hoop inscribed with the word “LIVE.”
  • Piano Forest: A forest with a piano that provides a space for relaxation.

“Seoul Innovation Park, Soon to Disappear”

In truth, the reason I revisited Seoul Innovation Park was simple. Through an article, I learned that Seoul Innovation Park is set to disappear into history. Although I had only visited this place once before, hearing that a space imbued with memories was about to vanish, I decided to take another look before it disappeared.

On a weekday, it would be a different kind of place, but on a weekend, Seoul Innovation Park at Bulgwang Station was a calm and comfortable place for a stroll. While it will create new scenery and memories as it transforms into a different place, it has not disappeared yet. Before it does, it might be good to visit once more.

“Seoul Innovation Park in Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul”