Ewha Womans University / Dominique Perrault Architecture

© André Morin / DPA / Adagp

Architects: Dominique Perrault Architecture
Location: , Korea
Partners: Baum Architects, Seoul
Engineering: Perrault Projets, Paris (Architectural Engineers); VP&Green Ingenerie, Paris (Structural Engineers); HL-PP Consult, Munich (Building Services); Jean-Paul Lamoureux, Paris (Acoustic), Rache-Willms, Aix-la-Chapelle (Facades)
Consultant: Jeon and Lee Partners, Seoul (Structural Engineer), HIMEC, Seoul (Mechanical Engineer), CG E&C, Seoul (Civil Engineer), CnK Associates, Seoul (Landscape)
Built Area: 70,000 sqm
Completion: 2008
Photographs: André Morin

© André Morin / DPA / Adagp

The complexity of the immediate site through its relationship to the greater campus and the city of Shinchon to the south demands a “larger than site” response, an urban response, a global landscaped solution which weaves together the tissue of the EWHA campus with that of the city. This gesture, the “campus valley”, in combination with the “sports strip”, creates a new topography which impacts the surrounding landscape in a number of ways.

The Sports Strip, like the Valley, is many things at once. It is a new gateway to the Ewha campus, a place for daily sports activities, a grounds for the special yearly festivals and celebrations, and an area which truly brings together the university and the city. It is most importantly a place for all, animated all year long.

© André Morin / DPA / Adagp

Like a horizontal billboard, the sports strip presents the life of the university to the inhabitants of Shinchon, and vice-versa. Once through the sports strip, pedestrian movement and flow through the site is celebrated. A new “Champs Elysées” invites the public into the site carrying students and visitors alike through the campus center northwards, bringing together the different levels of the site.

The pastoral nature of the campus is perhaps its most remarkable quality. It should be permitted to grow outwards, or inwards in this case, covering the campus center with trees, flowers, and grass. The park is re-drawn. An idyllic garden is the result, creating a special place for gathering, conducting informal classes, and simply relaxing. The notion of weaving together the campus is again evident, blurring the distinction between old and new, building and landscape, present and past.

© André Morin / DPA / Adagp

“Les Champs Elysées”

A new seam slices through the topography revealing the interior of the EWHA campus center. A void is formed, a hybrid place, in which a variety of activities can unfold. It is An avenue, gently descending, controlling the flow of traffic, leading to a monumental stair carrying visitors upwards, recalling les Champs Elysees or the Campidiglio in Rome.

• An entry court, from which access to the various departments exist,
• A node, or point on a trajectory to another destination,
• A forum for the exchange of ideas as students gather after class to discuss their views,
• A piazza, with the cafeteria spilling out creating a real “place” to stop and relax,
• An outdoor theatre, as the stair can be used in an amphitheatre like fashion,
• A sculpture garden, where indoor gallery events can push outwards.

elevation and plan

It is precisely this flexibility (conceptual and real) which permits the New EWHA campus center to inevitably weave itself into the landscape sometimes a building, sometimes a landscape, sometimes a sculpture.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Ewha Womans University / Dominique Perrault Architecture" 19 Apr 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=227874>
  • http://www.pasinga.com Antje Pasinga

    this is great and green design – really like it

  • Susana Saraiva

    I loved this concept since the very time I saw the project. I hope I wont get disappointed once I have the chance to visit it, because to me you can only really evaluate architecture if you experience it….live…

    • nerdy

      I’ve been there Susana. I actually never seen birds eye photos and I only approached it from the street. Until today, actually thought more of it was dug into the earth. but realized that not being the case. sounds silly, but that was impression. I was rushed on time so I didn’t walk around all of it but walking between both buildings feels like you’re really dug into the ground.

      inside the “two halves” it’s like a college union center with shops, restaurants, and I other campus community facilities.

  • Ofir

    A very inspiring project, although it seems that the inner spaces are lacking in design and proportions, and the circulation seems impossible!
    But again – I think this is fascinating!

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  • will

    Susana, totally agree with you. I’d also like to evaluate it in-person. But I am wondering if a male is allowed to visit the university, seeing that it’s a Women’s facility.

    • Goen Kim

      You are allowed to visit there. Actually, there are foreign exchange students who are male and also you’d see a lot of guys hanging out in the building, since they have public facilities, such as theaters and performing arts hall and so on.

      • -will-

        Thanks Goen Kim!
        Can’t wait to visit it.