Location274-1 Jegi-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, South Korea
StructureDawoo Structural Engineers
Text description provided by the architects. Seonnongdan is a place where the king used to perform ancestral rites to pray for the next year of good harvest. Going through Japanese colonial era and rapid urbanization in 60s and 70s, the original figure has been distorted left to be in shabby condition and put a side on a corner. Through an architectural design competition, Seonnongdan was designated to be history and culture park, in which formality of the rituals merges with the actual historical and cultural content of the place.
The section where playground existed is covered with soil to extend the ground level maximizing the denotation of the altar which then made it possible to restore the original form to certain extent. The underground space beneath the altar houses agricultural exhibitions and programs where visitors can experience. In this manner, above ground and underground level of Seonnongdan is naturally separated into two different layers of spaces. Amongst exhibition rooms, the court is named as ‘room of time’ is a connector of the two different levels. The room is open to the outside to bring in the natural daylight and induce natural ventilation. The four walls of the room represent cardinal points and four seasons (24 seasonal groups in lunar calendar), additionally maximizes the architectural experience of the visitors by the acrylic rods on the surface of the wall which allow infiltration of natural light sources. Throughout the design, Seonnongdan was carefully planned to be a space where people can experience the change in light and shadow due to the sun from inside to imply the farming is germane to the act of managing time.
Moreover, the altar in the room of time is engraved in hollow relief manner and the one above the ground is engraved in relief so the visual contrast of the altars was intended to ruminate the historical meaning of the spaces represent. The exhibition space, centering around the court, enables the visitors to flow through spaces by ramps and stairs and enjoy the exhibitions.