Located in one of the only open spaces in the centre of Busan, along the banks of the Suyeong River and close to the base of Mt. Jang, is the Busan Cinema Complex. The urban core of the city of Busan is extremely dense and chaotic and in need of more public space as well as an icon that carries a strong identity. Therefore, instead of filling the entire site with a building, the complex is designed by Erick van Egeraat as an island with public space on several levels, referencing to its natural surroundings. The iconicity of the design is built upon two basic values: nature and distance. The latter originates in the (financial) value that is attached to the amount of distance between adjacent properties in Korea. In the design for the Busan Cinema Complex, the relationship between distance and nature is radicalised and physically defined to a point where the connection between the two is re-established and visible.
The clear shape of an ellipse is used to achieve horizontal distance by means of concentration, and creates a green oasis in the urban fabric. It offers distance from the ground, and space on the upper levels. Where public space in Korean cities is often the result of left-over space, this project uses distance to conduct and create the public space. The cinema theatres and ancillary program are rationally positioned and organised in efficient floor plans, thereby intertwining public space and the experience of the complex. The presented intervention is the opposite of a building to a square; this complex is itself the public space.