Seoul Craft[ed] Museum

Title : Seoul Craft[ed] Museum
Program : Cultural
Location : Seoul, Korea


Masters had created crafts…

Stored and preserved until today, they are not just old valuables but very special objects with unique individual history of artisan spirit. Our proposal invites public to experience these historic artifacts within a well-crafted settings: the Seoul Craft[ED] Museum.

It stands on the junction where the large number of public flow from a few adjacent attractions of Seoul City. It welcomes public and excites them providing various distinctive spaces and connecting those historical objects to contemporary urban narratives, so the museum opens to the city.

We have designed this place in the careful and thoughtful process to create another active civic platforms with urban, historical, and museological understanding and consideration as well as traditional museum environment, so the museum contains public.

Three Conceptual Scales

In order to achieve vigorous interactions among them, we developed three different conceptual scales:

The first scale is urban context.

Our hope is that the museum should work as a node of the cultural network in the downtown of Seoul which has good natural environment and man-made places. The site has been detached from urban structure since the Pungmoon Girl&s High School was built in 1940. 율곡로3길 is an important axis but people has been using this street as just a linear pedestrian experience. Demolition of high wall on 율곡로길 and creating direct access from 윤보선길 will open up this important cultural facility again to the city network as an important connector. It would also be a focal point from the sequence of 인사동길 experience as well as a place of gradual connection between 북촌마을 and 경복궁 through 율곡로3길. As the adjacent Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) has been welcomed with the openness, this place will be also worked greatly without physical boundary. Since we open the museum&s boundary with more interactive landscape, people can expand the linear pedestrian experience into the museum. It will complete the walk network in this area. The museum would be merged into the urban fabric and everyday life gradually.

The architectural response is the second scale.

All exist buildings which had been originally parts of the school were carefully analyzed and converted for the new museum programs. Vertical wooden structure was added on and will create &variety in unity& for the entire museum complex. Ground level has piloti to provide visual relationship and porosity of public space.

The last scale is the program.

The optimal arrange of program through existing buildings follows the sequence of craft period. The identities of each kind of traditional craft are expressed on the building facades. This museum was designed for not only visiting and observing traditional exhibition but also experimenting and making everyday&s craft. Due to the recent trend of &from mass production to customization&, new craft movement has been spreaded out vastly. In this museum, therefore, one of the most significant program would be the creation of the main platform for those craft-related activities along the west side of East Building. Education area is closely located to this main platform for better program relationship and the platform is open to everyone who wants to learn skills, make products and/or trade to buyers. Either physically visiting the museum or using online system, everyone can create their own customized craft by using modern technology like CNC or 3D printer as well as traditional methods of crafting. Also, this &Public Craft Platforms& will be used for special day event of making everyday&s craft. Low-rise display areas on the west edge of the site will display public&s own craft objects. So the museum is able to be identified by contemporary craft narratives. We believe that this platform program would be another important role for this museum to work as a collaborative civic craft platform.

Five Platforms

Within these multiple levels of scales, We also have designed five public open spaces:

  1. Civic Platform& (The Quadrangle):  Surrounded by existing school buildings and defined by the deck on the 2nd floor level, this open courtyard to contain various civic activities, such as concerts, special market day or ceremonies. The ground surface is finished with decomposed granite soil which has been used in traditional Korean open spaces. The Plaza exposes the trace of 안동별궁 in front of the main building and is enclosed by the &Colonnade (회랑)&.
  2. Linear Platform& (Deck over Colonnade): This embraces all museum complex as a major circulation element. On the ground level, the Colonnade provides shaded passageway to museum complex and connects both entrances from 율곡로3길 and 윤보선길. Above this colonnade is a public circulation deck that connects another level of exhibition programs and the Main Platform to the Public Craft Platform. This would also be an attractive rest and circulation area with Korean granite paving and sophisticated wooden columns. This wooden columns that were applied here as deck supporting structures and other buildings were inspired by the traditional architecture and wood craft.This Colonnade ties the Main Building, Science Building, New Open Atrium, and East Building together as a museum complex.
  3. Container Platform& (New Open Atrium): The open-to-air box infills  existing empty on north east corner of the site, connecting two main pedestrian networks. This lifted and floating box allows public to access freely to the Civic Platform on the ground level and contains multiple layers of circulations on 2nd &3rd floor level. Similar wood structure detail supports sophisticated metal mesh screen wall on all 4 sides. The screen wall limits the view to the sky, just like the same experience from the courtyard of traditional Korean architecture. Certainly, oversized Jeulmun Pottery shaped special exhibition space extends the Korean craft history almost 10,000 years from today and will catch everyone&s eyes, giving an extraordinary moment to the visitors and general public.  
  4. Floating Platform& (Observation Deck / Outdoor rest area): Salvaged structure of existing IT Building will float this Floating Platform, a full moon-shaped wooden plate observation deck. It is another very special, yet, a spot with very different character where everyone can enjoy 360 degree view of surroundings. Visually connected to 경복궁, 인사동, 북촌 and 북악산 in distance, visitors will also be able to reaffirm a sense of place of this museum in old Seoul City.
  5. Craft Platform& (Open public plaza): From the west edge of the site and surrounded by North Building, East Building and Main Building, the Public Craft Platform starts on the same elevation of the Linear Platform, in order to make natural connection among programs. Following the gentle green slope, the platform evolves into various scales of flat area. Each area is carefully transferred from the volume of courtyard in adjacent traditional Korean houses. These area is intended to use spaces for meet, communicate, trade and other craft-related events.

… so we crafted the Seoul Craft Museum.