Seoul’s range of architecture is diverse. There’s a wide variety of styles and scales of buildings spread across distinct neighborhoods. Adjacent to the Gyeongbokgung Palace are mixed residential and commercial areas with narrow streets and a collision of traditional and modern buildings. Also located in this is the National Museum of Modern Art surrounded by loads of art galleries. I stumbled on the metal curtain wrapped K3 Gallery by accident. It’s an encapsulation of Seoul experimental architecture culture that reaches every corner of the city.
There’s no better example of this than Seoul City Hall by Yoo Keri of iArc. While it was completed in 2012 and is now more than a decade old, it’s still an incredible structure to experience. Definitely a bucket list building to see for any architect or designer. The curving glass facade and sculptural interior are meant to reference and reimagine traditional Korean architecture. And like a visit to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, it’s quite a sensory experience.
One other location on my must see list was the Dongdaemun Design Plaza by the late Zaha Hadid. Completed in 2014, this sprawling development was once the site of a sports complex. It now includes a design museum, bookstore, fashion shops and transit hub. During construction, historical remains were found and these have been preserved and are part of the main sunken courtyard. The site is impressive and well used for events beyond those design focused.
Photos and Text: Dave Pinter