Jeonju station

Jeonju, South Korea

When in the early twentieth century the railway station in the South Korean city of Jeonju was developed, it was built in the traditional Hanok style, known for its sober and harmonious proportions and the elegantly shaped roofs with glazed black tiles. Nowadays extensive plans exist to renovate the area surrounding the station and the land on the eastern periphery of the city. The station will have to be expanded and adapted to a higher volume of high speed train arrivals. High towers are planned around the station and the rural area that can be seen from the station, leading to the snow-capped mountains in the distance, will be developed. Traffic around the station is now threatened by congestion.

Old and new

Keunjeong Architects & Engineers invited the architectural studio ZJA to participate as a team in an international design competition for the future appearance of Jeonju railway station. Bosch Slabbers joined the consortium as landscape architect. The objective was to preserve the monumental station as a landmark, the historical centrepiece in a new and futuristic part of the city, reinforced with a contemporary extension.

A place and a connection

To improve connections to the city and offer better infrastructure connections, the square in front of the station will undergo a new lay out. A huge improvement will be achieved by a underground parking garage with 430 places, new bus stops, a separate lane for taxis and new continuous routes for pedestrians and cyclists towards the East side of the station.

The new square is designed to be an environment to linger and spend time, just like the station itself, a destination in its own right within the city. High bamboo bushes on the perimeters and gingko trees create a green enclave among the glass high rises.

A pleasant garden atmosphere is the result of wide paths leading through green patches. Two large round vacant spaces make a visual connection and give access to the underground parking garage.

A transparent pavilion shaped to make allusions to the lines in the historical building, provides access via a wide spiral staircase to the lower level garage where shops and restrooms are situated.

The old Hanok station can shine in its full glory, its interior being transformed into a wide and light space, giving access to the platforms but also accommodating cultural events.

The covered promenade

A landmark in itself and a grand gesture framing the historical station is the light and slender building behind it, that not only leads to the platforms, but also offers passage to the area to be developed to the east. It functions as a square hovering over the platforms and the trains, a covered promenade. The choice for a construction with a light design allows for a wide span and offers a view of the countryside to the east and the impressive mountain ranges in the distance. The glass facade is supported by slightly outward leaning joists, which emphasizes the elevation and the expansive view.

Approaching from the direction of the city, the light and expanding roof of the new building will appear to embrace the old station in a protective and admiring gesture. It is a functional and spacious entrance to the trains, and also to the new neighbourhood behind the station, while offering a pleasant space to linger and stay.

This is because of the soft and clear light falling through the skylights, the wooden elements and the large containers with shrubbery, all inviting visitors to stay a little longer, have a drink and do some shopping.

The promenade is a place to enjoy the sight of the arrival of the streamlined high-speed trains, the light playing over the valley, and the passing stream of cyclists against the background of the snow-capped mountaintops on the horizon, that seem to be stoically watching over it all.


Architect: ZJA
Client: Keunjeong Architects & Engineers
Landscape architect: Bosch Slabbers Landschapsarchitecten
Year: Design competition in 2019
Project: #1175

Visuals: ZJA and A2studio



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