Text description provided by the architects. Soorim Arts Center is located at Hongneung, Seoul, once the royal grave site of Empress Myeonseong(1851-1895). We renovated the former head office of the Korean Film Council at Hongneung into what is now Soorim Arts Center, complete with a memorial hall, an art gallery, and a concert hall. Much of the former structure was built underground; it did not have enough natural light and air. Our main goal for the renovation was to expose the space to more natural light and air, and to enlarge the main hall. The main entrance hall of the existing structure was 1.2 meter above the street level; one could only access it through a narrow stairway, which in turn was obstructed by another staircase.
We thus demolished the extra staircase, adjusted the floor levels, and created a bridge to connect the space to an open area, which we turned into Heesoo Kim Memorial Hall, in honor of the founder of Soorim Arts Center. Formerly, the main floor in the space was a closed area with a lack of ventilation and natural light. In order to make the space more three-dimensional, we opened a section of the floor slab to introduce natural light and fresh air. Also, we installed an additional elevator in the main hall to facilitate access to the rooftop. The spacious film development room with a 5.5 meter-high ceiling was converted into an art gallery. We took advantage of the different floor levels, introduced light by opening up the southern wall with the use of Kalwall and created flexible exhibition walls with the use of two layered moving walls. We increased the parking and art storage area by efficiently reducing the size of the maintenance area.
A skylight box was created to introduce light into the garden, and art gallery also functions as a sculptural element in the garden. The office sits on the first floor; the triangular patterned glass and aluminum walls were each designed differently based on their direction and exposure to sun light. The water tank on the rooftop was converted into an observatory and is open to public.