Sinchon Station Old and New: The Korean curse of false monumentality

The old Sinchon Station is visible in the midst of the overbuilt development that makes up the new Sinchon station.

The old Sinchon Station is visible in the midst of the overbuilt development that makes up the new Sinchon station.

The new shopping is center has essentially closed down, whether awaiting redevelopment or something else.

The new shopping is center has essentially closed down, whether awaiting redevelopment or something else.

The quaint Sinchon station now exists as a center for tourism information.

The quaint Sinchon station now exists as a center for tourism information.

One of the saddest aspects of contemporary Korean culture is the emphasis on false monumentality.

The assumption among many Koreans, and especially city planners, that large and impressive structures create a modern, and therefore more enjoyable and more livable, environment.

Nowhere is this tragedy more apparent than at the Sinchon station near Yonsei University. The has been built up into an enormous shopping center, but there is almost no business and the building was so poorly constructed that it has been shut down for repairs. The assumption was that somehow through this massive over-development the neighborhood would be improved. But the simple original Shinchon Station remains as a contrast. This handsome building is more than sufficient as a station and with a bit of modification could still be employed today.

 

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