FIGURING THE VOID
Sejong Administrative City, South Korea

Project
Masterplan; Museums, Operation Center, Central Art Storage Facility

Client
Sejong, Administrative City

Size
190,000 sqm / 2,045,000 sqft

SOUTH KOREA NATIONAL MUSEUM COMPLEX

In an effort to relocate government more centrally in greater South Korea, the government has been building an Administrative City 120 km (95mi) South of Seoul. In order to make this city a center for culture the government commissioned a National Museum Complex on the edge of the central ‘green heart’ of the city.

Museum Districts are often built as collections of individual iconic objects with little relationship between one another. With the National Museum Complex, Korea has the opportunity to invert this typical condition. In this new Museum Complex, the voids of public space are the iconic spaces reflecting a new attitude and relationship between the public and spaces for viewing exhibitions. The buildings become a textural space joined by voids of public space and intimate passageways.  Just as the different museums will support each other through programming, we envision the site as a matrix of interdependent buildings and spaces.

FIGURING THE VOID

In order to construct this textual space we deployed a formal system that facilitates urban density and spatial variety onto the site.  A South East to North-West striation of the site serves to connect the Central Park to the east with destinations to the west.  This striation reduces the scale of the building masses, allowing natural light through the gaps while facilitating east-west connections between the park and destinations across the creek.  The cuts in the massing provide a rhythm of internal streets as one transverses the long direction of the site creating pedestrian scale intervals between buildings and space.  Wider routes are cut across these bands to delineate primary axes across the site, setting up a hierarchy of movement without reducing flexibility and serendipity.  The result is a perceptible urban texture laid across the site which helps orient and pace one’s movement in and around the buildings.

  FIGURAL STRATEGY   The form of the overall masterplan is derived through a series of formal subtractive steps within an overall volume:  1. EXTRUDE SITE & SETBACK Within the site setbacks an extrusion 24m high was made to allow for buildings with a maximum of 4 floors.  2. STRIATE EAST-WEST A series of East West Diagonal Striations are made to create connections between the park and waterfront as well as to allow summer prevailing winds from across the park and river.  3. CUT VOIDS A series of primary voids are cut into the overall volume to define major public spaces, courtyards, and areas where the masterplan opens to the waterfront, park, and city.  4. CUT ROAD & WALK A North to South one-way Road, a two-way East West Road, and a 25m wide pedestrian Mall are cut into the overall mass in order to facilitate North South connections and to connect the project to the city as a district.  5. OPTIMIZE HEIGHT & MASSING The overall building heights and volumes are adjusted with respect to the size of each museum while determining strategic positions for each of the museums on the site. Heights and volumes of each museum were optimized in order to provide ample double height spaces for lobbies, atria, and galleries while creating a gentle undulating variation in the roof lines.  6. LANDSCAPE The re-imagining voids are patterned with a diverse collection of landscape patterns in order to create a playful variation of ground textures and park spaces.

FIGURAL STRATEGY

The form of the overall masterplan is derived through a series of formal subtractive steps within an overall volume:

1. EXTRUDE SITE & SETBACK
Within the site setbacks an extrusion 24m high was made to allow for buildings with a maximum of 4 floors.

2. STRIATE EAST-WEST
A series of East West Diagonal Striations are made to create connections between the park and waterfront as well as to allow summer prevailing winds from across the park and river.

3. CUT VOIDS
A series of primary voids are cut into the overall volume to define major public spaces, courtyards, and areas where the masterplan opens to the waterfront, park, and city.

4. CUT ROAD & WALK
A North to South one-way Road, a two-way East West Road, and a 25m wide pedestrian Mall are cut into the overall mass in order to facilitate North South connections and to connect the project to the city as a district.

5. OPTIMIZE HEIGHT & MASSING
The overall building heights and volumes are adjusted with respect to the size of each museum while determining strategic positions for each of the museums on the site. Heights and volumes of each museum were optimized in order to provide ample double height spaces for lobbies, atria, and galleries while creating a gentle undulating variation in the roof lines.

6. LANDSCAPE
The re-imagining voids are patterned with a diverse collection of landscape patterns in order to create a playful variation of ground textures and park spaces.

  PHASING & PROGRAM DISTRIBUTION   The National Museum construction phasing is oriented around the individual voids in order to construct the outdoor public spaces in conjunction with the museums. The first construction phase occurs in the center of the site and includes the Children’s Museum, the Central Operation Center, the Central Storehouse (which is partially below ground) and a portion of the underground parking garage and loading spaces. The second construction phase expands the site to the North and includes the National Digital Heritage Museum, the National Archives Museum, National Design Museum, and National Architecture and City Museum. 

PHASING & PROGRAM DISTRIBUTION

The National Museum construction phasing is oriented around the individual voids in order to construct the outdoor public spaces in conjunction with the museums. The first construction phase occurs in the center of the site and includes the Children’s Museum, the Central Operation Center, the Central Storehouse (which is partially below ground) and a portion of the underground parking garage and loading spaces. The second construction phase expands the site to the North and includes the National Digital Heritage Museum, the National Archives Museum, National Design Museum, and National Architecture and City Museum. 

  URBAN CONTEXT   The National Museum Complex of Korea’s Administrative City is located across a stream from the city’s soon to becity center to the West. To the East lies the city’s primary park and “green heart.” The National Museum Complex occupies a threshold between these two spatial conditions on a greenfield site. Our proposal creates multiple “sites” within this newly formed site. Voids located between museums are either completely internalized with selective openings to the park and water front or located on the edge of the site forming generous connections to the water front and park alike.

URBAN CONTEXT

The National Museum Complex of Korea’s Administrative City is located across a stream from the city’s soon to becity center to the West. To the East lies the city’s primary park and “green heart.” The National Museum Complex occupies a threshold between these two spatial conditions on a greenfield site. Our proposal creates multiple “sites” within this newly formed site. Voids located between museums are either completely internalized with selective openings to the park and water front or located on the edge of the site forming generous connections to the water front and park alike.

  SITE PLAN   Each museum is oriented around a major void of public space. Phase two is built at the South end of the site comprising the Natural History Museum, two Small Scale Museums, and two Middle Scale Museums, each oriented around a single large public plaza. The basement and garage contain ample parking and art storage oriented around a central spine of circulation connected to loading docks and elevator cores of all the museum and comfort and amenity programs and

SITE PLAN

Each museum is oriented around a major void of public space. Phase two is built at the South end of the site comprising the Natural History Museum, two Small Scale Museums, and two Middle Scale Museums, each oriented around a single large public plaza. The basement and garage contain ample parking and art storage oriented around a central spine of circulation connected to loading docks and elevator cores of all the museum and comfort and amenity programs and

  ART SCIENCE FORUM AT NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM   The Art Science Forum at the natural history museum, medium size museums, and small museums is the largest void in the overall masterplan. It creates a monumental punctuation within phase two facilitating pedestrian interaction between the natural history museum and the medium and small museums. The large plaza may be used f

ART SCIENCE FORUM AT NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

The Art Science Forum at the natural history museum, medium size museums, and small museums is the largest void in the overall masterplan. It creates a monumental punctuation within phase two facilitating pedestrian interaction between the natural history museum and the medium and small museums. The large plaza may be used f

  CULTURE WALK AT CAFE AND CENTRAL OPERATION CENTER   The Culture Walk is a single twenty five meter wide void running two thirds the length of the entire site connecting primary voids and public spaces while creating a North-South pedestrian and bicycling route. The linear shape of the pedestrian walk encourages interaction across its width and differentiates the scale and type of public open spaces within the museum complex.

CULTURE WALK AT CAFE AND CENTRAL OPERATION CENTER

The Culture Walk is a single twenty five meter wide void running two thirds the length of the entire site connecting primary voids and public spaces while creating a North-South pedestrian and bicycling route. The linear shape of the pedestrian walk encourages interaction across its width and differentiates the scale and type of public open spaces within the museum complex.

  YOUTH PARK AT CHILDREN’S MUSEUM AND CENTRAL STOREHOUSE   Within the curvilinear family of voids, each void is unique in form and scale providing a layered and varied experience. The curvilinear Youth Park at the children’s museum and central storehouse is located centrally in the overall masterplan and provides a partially enclosed area for contemporary sculpture and a safe area for children to play away from traffic. The partial enclosureof the courtyard opens directly onto the adjacent park and ends in a series of terraces spilling into the park and physically connecting the two spaces.

YOUTH PARK AT CHILDREN’S MUSEUM AND CENTRAL STOREHOUSE

Within the curvilinear family of voids, each void is unique in form and scale providing a layered and varied experience. The curvilinear Youth Park at the children’s museum and central storehouse is located centrally in the overall masterplan and provides a partially enclosed area for contemporary sculpture and a safe area for children to play away from traffic. The partial enclosureof the courtyard opens directly onto the adjacent park and ends in a series of terraces spilling into the park and physically connecting the two spaces.

  MODEL AND SECTION   Located at the edge of the National Park overlooking the CBD, the National Museum Masterplan forms the connection between the creek to the West and the park to the East.

MODEL AND SECTION

Located at the edge of the National Park overlooking the CBD, the National Museum Masterplan forms the connection between the creek to the West and the park to the East.