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Competition: National Museum of World Writing, South Korea

The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced an open international contest for a 55 billion KRW National Museum of World Writing in Songdo (Deadline: 2 June)

The competition seeks proposals for a 15,650m2 landmark museum dedicated to world literature within the pioneering smart city’s landmark Central Park. The project aims to deliver a new ‘Larchivium’ where the functions of a library, archive and museum are combined.

Proposals for the new structure – intended to attract tourists and drive creative interest in the futuristic urban vision of Songdo – must feature a large multipurpose exhibition hall, six galleries, public areas, offices, lecture halls and a storage zone.

Contest site: National Museum of World Writing in Songdo

Contest site: National Museum of World Writing in Songdo

Contest site: National Museum of World Writing in Songdo

The competition brief says that the new museum ‘plans on realising diverse social, cultural, and educational values by developing and supplying creative cultural contents.

‘Such exhibit space demands proposals for various methods to allow more intimate interaction between the exhibit and visitors, not simply looking at the exhibited artefacts.’

The Songdo International Business District (SIBD) is a pioneering smart city development planned to complete in 2018. The district is around 65km south-west of Seoul within the Incheon Free Economic Zone. 

The huge waterfront development, masterplanned by KPF, broke ground in 2004 and received a multibillion injection of government funding eight years ago. The project aims to set a new international standard for green and low-carbon urban design, harnessing high-tech infrastructure for waste management and transport.

Known as Songdo City, the 600ha development is being built on a large area of land reclaimed for the Yellow Sea. The district is home to South Korea’s second tallest tower, the North East Asia Trade Tower, designed by KPF.

Contest site: National Museum of World Writing in Songdo

Contest site: National Museum of World Writing in Songdo

Contest site: National Museum of World Writing in Songdo

Other KPF-designed schemes within Songdo include a Canal Walk and ‘Superblock’ residential development. HOK has also designed a 50-storey Central Park-style blocks

Attractions within the city’s Central Park zone – inspired by New York and Venice – include the Hanok village, TriBowl Cultural Center, a boat house and popular facilities such as a ‘Rabbit Island’, a deer farm and long walking promenades.

The National Museum of World Writing project aims to enhance this emerging landscape. Around one-fifth of the project’s total budget is set aside for the design and construction of a grand exhibition hall, which will be the centrepiece of the venue, featuring events and exhibits to draw visitors from around the world.

The competition languages are English and Korean. Any international winner will be required to team up with a locally registered firm to deliver their scheme.

Submissions may feature up to six A1-sized landscape featuring diagrams along with up to 15 sides of A4 with written descriptions.

The overall winner, to be announced on 15 September, will receive the design commission while a second place prize of 50 million KRW and third place prize of 30 million KRW will also be awarded along with two honourable mentions worth 10 million KRW each.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for registration is at 18:00 (GMT+9) on 2 June
The deadline for submissions is at 18:00 (GMT+9) on 1 September

Contact details

Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism
Government Complex-Sejong
388 Galmae-ro
Sejong-si
30119
Republic of Korea

Tel: +82-44-203-2000

View the competition website for more information

Marbach Modern Literature Museum case study: Q&A with Alexander Schwarz

The partner and design director at David Chipperfield Architects Berlin discusses lessons learned designing a writing museum in Marbach, Germany

Alexander Schwarz

Alexander Schwarz

Source: Image by Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

Alexander Schwarz

How did your Modern Literature Museum project create a appropriate new facility for Marbach?

The architecture of the museum of Modern Literature articulates the relationship between the place and the objects of the collection. The place is characterised by the existing institution with its buildings of the Schiller National Museum and the archive for German Literature as well as the topography providing panoramic views. The objects are very delicate manuscripts which require very stable climatic conditions and only very little lighting. The building deals with the transition from the panorama of the place’s quality to the required intimacy of the exhibition spaces.

Marbach Modern Literature Museum by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin

Marbach Modern Literature Museum by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin

Source: Image by Ute Zscharnt

Marbach Modern Literature Museum by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin

Which architectural, material and other methods did you harness in your design?

The architecture does not try to comment on modern literature. Its means are much reduced to architectural essentials such as horizontality and verticality, opening and mass, daylight and material. The material palette is equally reduced, but solid and physically present.

Marbach Modern Literature Museum by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin

Marbach Modern Literature Museum by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin

Source: Image by Ute Zscharnt

Marbach Modern Literature Museum by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin

What advice would you have to contest participants on designing a new National Museum of World Writing in South Korea?

There is a big difference between an art museum and a museum for literature or writing, as the primary objects of a literature museum mostly have little physical presence in themselves and are not made for being shown.

Marbach Modern Literature Museum by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin

Marbach Modern Literature Museum by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin

Source: Image by Ute Zscharnt

Marbach Modern Literature Museum by David Chipperfield Architects Berlin