whanki museum

seoul, republic of korea

The 16,000 sf museum is dedicated to the memory and spirit of the contemporary Korean painter, Kim Whanki. The program for painting and temporary exhibition galleries, café, library, and multi-purpose hall, is distributed among four volumes that merge with the topography to create a unique landscape of terraces and buildings. To house the extensive program and maintain a balance between open space, building, and the surrounding neighborhood, many spaces are located underground. The center of the museum is a courtyard partially submerged in the earth. Light from a central skylight fills the volumes below, while perimeter stairs connect adjacent gallery spaces and exterior terraces.

“The formal and geometric echoes and counterpoints are precise—vault and mountain, glass and stone, circle and square, ground and sky. They lend an almost metaphysical quality to this empty, ordered space, contrasting powerfully with the landscape and the lyrical play of light, form and art that distinguishes the museum interiors.” —Museum Architecture