Chosen from 81 entries, Office Ou, a Toronto-based architecture and landscape design firm, has been announced as the winner of South Korea's International Competition for the National Museum Complex Master Plan of the New Administrative City (Sejong City). As a proposed self-sustaining city of 500,000 people, Sejong City will serve as South Korea's administrative city, transferring multiple national government functions from Seoul. The Museum Gardens will amplify the cultural landscape of South Korea's new metropolis.
Promoters for the competition described the projects as, a world-class cultural complex that will be on par with Berlin's Museuminsel, Vienna's Museumsquartier, and Washington D.C's Smithsonian museums.
Museums for architecture and the city, design, natural history, and Korea's archival traditions and Office Ou's National Children's Museum contribute to the almost dozen museums that will be built on the site. At 190,000 square meters, Office Ou's master plan was inspired by its surrounding environment —including rice paddies, wetlands, forests, and riverbanks — all organized around a central square. Each museum will be influenced by its adjacent landscapes, guiding the design of the courtyards.
The architecture is not iconic, Office Ou principal Uros Novakovic stresses, it's a permeable, space framing device that allows the unique landscapes to be more fully experienced.
The master plans also draw from the traditional palace architecture of Korea’s Joeseon Dynasty, in addition to creating an organic integration of nature and architecture. This strategy is exemplified by the landscape of the Children's Museum, which allows children to play and adventure within the space. Similarly, the Archives Museum will be nestled in a mountainous environment, creating a secluded identity, while the Architecture Museum is distinguishable in an urban landscape.
Office Ou Team: Nicolas Koff, Uros Novakovic, Sebastian Bartnicki, Tom Kwok, Marisa Bernstein, Hani Kim
Junglim Team: Jinwoo Lim, Moon-Ki Bae, Wonhyuk Choi, Suengyoul Yoo
News Via: Office Ou