This project won an honorable mention award and was one of ten final projects selected in an open international competition for a new museum dedicated to Korean Culture. Robert Siegel led a collaborative effort that included two large Korean architectural firms: Samoo Architects and Kunwon International Architects. The site in Seoul is located in a park formerly used as an American army base. The museum’s organization is based upon its position as the terminating building of a proposed park of cultural institutions, which extends to the historic center of Seoul.
As opposed to the centralized vertical structures of western architecture, monumentality in traditional Korean architecture is achieved through the interdependence of multiple relationships. These include the culturally shared recognition of important places, the integration of the building in nature, the anticipation of that which lies beyond, the horizontal continuity of space, and structured spatial progression. The design of this building and its site integrates these fundamental architectural elements of the traditional Korean palace and thus represents the transcendent modernity of Korean Culture.
We researched examples of Korean palaces and discovered that they often consist of a series of repetitive parallel buildings and courts connected by corridors. As a result, there are two distinct kinds of spatial experiences: perpendicular and parallel. Movement perpendicular to the buildings creates an experience of alternatively passing through buildings and outdoor spaces. Movement laterally through the length of the buildings permits travel along a continuous pathway.