Architect: G.Lab* by Gansam Architects & Associates Location: 540 Ochon Dong Suncheon City, Jeonnam Province, South Korea Project Architect: Chuloh Jung Design team: Dae Hyun Im, Sang Hyun Son, Daniel Da Rocha, Tana Hovland, Alex Cornelius, Lawrence Ha, Lyla Wu Client: Republic of Korea Site Area: 33,000 sqm Building Area: 8,300 sqm Competition Year: 2009 Images: G.Lab*
Suncheon is one of the 5th largest tidal flats in the world, making it an international wetland that attracts approximately 2.8 million visitors in 2008. The methodology for this design began with the concept of leading visitors through the wetlands to the Suncheon Bay. The imprint of the receding tide water becomes the concept for this design.
The visitor’s center is placed at the Northeast corner of the site, identified with meandering pathways which encourage and direct visitors to experience the wetlands and outdoor exhibitions. The choreography of these pathways allows visitors to experience the topographical change of the site from forest to wetland. The placement of the building maximizes both the picturesque views to the mountains beyond and to the river, creating a visual continuation of both the water’s path and visitor’s circulation.
The buildings and pathways are designed to minimally affect the natural order of the protected wetland. Recesses in the pathways around the building allow for the wetland to continue under the structures. Building functions are separated into distinctly different envelops to allow for greater climactic control and lessen the overall energy usage. The green roof continues the language of the mountains beyond, allowing the gallery interior unobstructed views to nature.
The wooden façade is intended to minimize summer sun exposure, maximize potential winter day lighting and blend with the surrounding woodland to the north. Framed views from the gallery through these wooden slats capture light and help set the mood for this visitor’s center.
Providing connectivity to the 2013 garden expo, and the greater city of Suncheon, this design intends to reconnect visitors to nature and a network of facilities designed to teach about wetland preservation.