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Seoul plans Jamsil Olympic Stadium ‘rebirth’

Featured image credit: MCFC795/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced plans for a major redevelopment of Jamsil Olympic Stadium as part of proposals to bid for the 2036 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Located in Songpa-gu, a district in the southeastern part of the South Korean capital, Jamsil Olympic Stadium opened in 1984, ahead of Seoul’s staging of the 1986 Asian Games, followed by the 1988 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

The Government, according to JoongAng Daily, plans to transform the stadium complex into a new sports and cultural space, in line with its ambitions to attract the Olympic Games back to the city for the first time since 1988.

The new project will look to focus on the interior of the stadium under a three-year plan that intends to be completed by December 2026. The exterior of the stadium, including its symbolic canopy, will, retain its original design in order to preserve its historical value, city officials said, according to the Yonhap news agency.

Seating capacity will be reduced from 65,000 to 60,000, with 30,000 seats being replaced to match the other half that were upgraded ahead of the National Sports Festival held in 2019. Around 350 extra seats will be provided for those with disabilities.

An additional giant screen will be installed in the northern part of the stadium, adding to the one already located in the southern end. The stadium’s surrounding area will also be revitalised under the concept of an urban park.

Concrete decks that currently adjoin the exterior of the stadium will be replaced with a 30-metre-wide pedestrian plaza, connecting the venue to the Han River and Tan Stream in southern Seoul. The renovated stadium will also have a public space where people can visit and exercise.

Along with the redevelopment of the stadium, the Jamsil Students’ Gymnasium located in the southeastern part of the complex will be relocated to the southwest. The new gymnasium is set to include pools for swimming and diving.

The Government also has plans to enhance the stadium’s sustainability. Hydrothermal energy harnessing the power of the Han River will be used to replace 35% of the energy used to air-condition and heat the stadium.

City officials believe this energy plan will help cut greenhouse gas emissions by 1,450 tonnes each year and annual electricity expenditures by KRW220m (£131,000/€153,000/$166,000).

“The city government will try its best to rebirth the facility as a city landmark and complex for culture and sports that preserves the history as the venue that hosted the Seoul Olympics in 1988,” a Government spokesperson said, according to JoongAng Daily.

The latest news comes after plans for the Jamsil Sports MICE Complex were revealed in March 2022. At the time, it was said that the Populous-designed complex would include a 35,000-seat open-air baseball park which will be the home for two local teams, and an 11,000-seat complex capable of hosting local sport, esports, live performances and other events.

As part of the plans, the 35-hectare site was due to be reimagined into a urban development. The Hanwha E&C consortium was selected by the Seoul Metropolitan Government to carry out the work, with Populous to be responsible for the overall masterplan and architectural concept design for the venues.

A new convention centre with over 100,000 square metres of exhibition halls, pre-function spaces, meeting rooms, a concert hall, commercial offerings and ballrooms will also be built.

Additional features will include a 3,000-seat indoor underground swimming pool, a five-star hotel with over 300 rooms, a four-star business hotel with 300 rooms, 123,000 square metres of cultural and commercial retail space, and a 300-room serviced residence and hotel tower.