Urban Mirage

Site: Incheon, South Korea

Status: Conceptual Design

Program: Commercial|Landscape|Urbanism

Client: Incheon Metropolitan Government

Sorae Harbor / Railroad Bridge Master Plan depicts a horizontal diaphragm covering the harbor and fish market. Reflective surfaces and mist-cooling sprays of water produce a mirage effect between the ground and sky.  In this space, the visual intensity of the landscape and social activities multiply, depending on the variable mirage created by this diaphragm.


The structure is conceptually a vertical conveyor from ground to floating rice fields and fisheries, transferring water and fertilizer in a productive ecological loop.  These supports also cool the market visitors in hot weather through a series of misting tubes.  The surfaces of the overhead elements vary from reflective to translucent to open. The goal was to create an effect between the ground and the horizontal structure that reflects and heightens the intensity of the sky as well as the fish market activities below in an intensified mirage.  This would allow visitors to experience multiple market activities and to see a fragmented sky, with both sides of the horizon line doubled.  This optical effect would inject new energy into the edge between city and water, forming a hyper-real social environment that blurs the boundary between phenomena and place.


On the upper level, visitors experience contained elements of landscape, views into the market and observation platforms looking over the city and river.  While the mirage below captures events, the space above orients the city to boundless landscape which, ultimately, makes Sorae a place of reflection.