This relationship is mirrored in the constant interaction between the interior of the building and landscapes that surround it. The circulation spaces are designed to have an extroverted approach, with open views to the park. In contrast, the gallery spaces are more introverted, with controlled natural light, maximizing display space for exhibitions. The overall architectural design is inspired by the heritage of Korean Confucianism and its philosophy of art through simplicity of form, materiality, and composition and through its harmonious relationship to nature. The complex offers and iconic destination to residents to the city and visitors alike.
The immersive experience of the art center begins with the approach along a road winding up a steep wooded hill, followed by pedestrian paths meandering through the thoughtful landscape of the cultural park. The museum building is configured around a central courtyard—a feature inspired by traditional Korean architecture—and is organized into three main volumes; the north wing, a large, cantilevered pavilion housing temporary exhibits; the “cube,” an immaculate volume housing the permanent collection, offices, and library; and a transparent pavilion housing the main entrance, lobby, café and museum shop. Circulation follows a T-shape that provides both a means of movement between the museum’s different floors and spaces and opportunities for interaction with the outdoor exhibits, gardens, and the reflecting pool beyond.
The museum is distinguished by the exceptionally high quality of its interior exhibition spaces. The permanent collection housed in the “cube” is contained within an unusually tall space crowned with a skylight treated with opaque-translucent glass for diffused light. Modestly sized windows are strategically placed to enliven the space with controlled natural light and create framed views towards the park while still maximizing wall space for exhibits. Each gallery has a unique character, with fully capability to control the gradation of natural light and artificial light, allowing curators to set the mood depending on the requirements of the art to be displayed.