The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History / G.Lab*

The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History / G.Lab*
© G.Lab* by Gansam Architects & Associates

G.Lab* by Gansam Architects and Partners sent us their proposal for the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History in Seoul, using a mix of reinforced concrete and steel structure to create two interesting volumes to house 5,000 years of history.

Images, drawings and the project statement after the break.

Despite its prime location on the axis through the heart of Seoul, The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism building had remained undisclosed to the general public behind its façade. The historical axis of Gwanghwamun that connects the City Hall, Sungnyemun, and Seoul Station has been recently receiving much attention along with Gwanghwamun Plaza as the place of communication and interaction of the Korean citizens. This phenomenon imbues a symbolic meaning to the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism building, breaking its mold as an exclusive building. The five-thousand year history of Korea and the emergence of Korea as one of the leaders in the global culture are summarized with the phrase “Dynamic Korea.” The dynamic nature of Korean culture, history, and its citizens become the driving force behind the design. The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History is the collection of various historical events and experiences of the contemporary Korean history; the movement of people in response to the dynamic spatial experience of the museum will narrate the birth of a new national landmark and a place of cultural value.


First Floor

first & second floor plans

The first floor features the landscape of the site with pattern geometry laid out to create variety of paths and landscape features such as shallow pool, benches, decks, and gardens. Our plan is to make the entrance to the building feel as diverse as possible, as to attract visitors via elements of interest, and gradually increase their curiosity about what this place is. The first floor is focused on providing the public with a place to relax and rest, a missing amenity in the Sejongno area. The garden will offer the visitors with a great experience itself even without having to visit the museum.

The two cores are separated with for functional reasons: the core for the visitors is located on the right side of the floor plan; they will enter a hall with double-height space, and there are elevators as well as an emergency staircase is provided for the visitors. They can also direct arrive at the deck via a staircase. The core for administration is much larger, containing storage rooms for art work, maintenance, and other facilities for administrative use. The parking lot is planned for ten vehicles, and is visibly hidden by the mechanical room mass, and the administration core.

We’re proposing to landscape the public park which is at the moment, underused and neglected. By designing a deck that extends to the public park, reaching all the way to the U.S. Embassy, we hope to increase the number of visitors from all directions.

© G.Lab* by Gansam Architects & Associates

Second Floor

The deck expands horizontally; it connects to the small outdoor theater space carved into the mass of the mechanical room. From the deck, the visitors can view the Gwanghwamun Plaza to the west, and a glimpse of Gyeongbokgung. The visitors can then proceed to the roof top via the elevators.

Roof Floor

© G.Lab* by Gansam Architects & Associates

Visitors will take the elevator all the way up to the roof level, enjoying the view of the Gyeongbokgung, Namsan, and Sejongno. The garden gives the people a much needed break from the busy city life before they can descend down back into the building to view the exhibition.

Exhibition Space

Entering the within the building, the visitors will be faced with a variety of spatial experiences. As they descend down the ramp and view the exhibition, they will be guided by the circulation of the ramp to walk through the existing façade. The exterior ramp is covered with a fritted glass skin. As they walk back into the building, they’ll be faced with the vessel space, which is the iconic center of the building where special exhibitions make take place in. The visitors aren’t necessarily obligated to enter the vessel, or forced to go through all the exhibitions. They have a variety of choices; there are different exhibitions on different floor heights composed of varying ceiling heights. Skipping an exhibition is also possible by taking the staircases located within the additive glass atrium filled with tall trees. Amenities are provided on halls on each floor.

© G.Lab* by Gansam Architects & Associates

Site Location: Seoul Jongno-gu Sejongno 42 Site Area: 6,446.00 sqm Gross Floor Area: 9,513.85 sqm Building Area: 2,813.61 sqm Building Coverage Ratio: 43.65% Floor Area Ratio: 147.59% Usage: Culture Facility and Assembly (Exhibition) Structure: Steel + Reinforced Concrete Floors: 6 Floors (Main Building) 5 Floors (Mechanical) Maximum Building Height: 27m Parking: 11 (1 for Handicapped) Project architect: Chuloh Jung Design team: Wookjin Chung, YounSook Hwang, Sang-Hyun Son, Seungwon Choi, Song Han, Tae-Wook Kang, Kyungjoon Chung, Sungwha Na

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Cite: Nico Saieh. "The National Museum of Korean Contemporary History / G.Lab*" 22 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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