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Competition: Seoul Arts Complex

Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced an international competition to design a 13.9 billion KRW (US$12 million) arts complex in historic Pyeongchang-dong (Registration deadline: 25 January)

Open to domestic and international teams of architects, landscape architects and urban planners, the anonymous competition seeks proposals for a 5,101m² arts centre on the outskirts of the South Korean capital.

The project will transform a vacant 7,347m² site (pictured), overlooking Mount Bukhansan, into a combined art gallery, museum, archive, library and community centre.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

Pyeongchang-dong art complex contest site

According to the brief: ‘The art complex aims to contribute to the development of the local community, the maturity of the local cultural environment and to communication between artists by creating a complex cultural space combining the enjoyment of culture, research and development and learning with the use of abundant local heritage and an art archive as the medium.

‘The competition sets out to achieve openness and connections between the building’s spatial elements instead of division by function. Therefore the winning design is expected to feature an innovative plan which forms connections and interactions between materials and activities throughout the space. Also it must be an ecologically friendly space that is in harmony with nearby Bukhansan, Bugaksan and the surrounding natural environment.’

The hilltop settlement of Pyeongchang-dong, around 5km north of central Seoul, is famous for its many museums, art galleries and picturesque historic buildings.

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

Pyeongchang-dong art complex contest site

The complex will occupy four plots spread along the busy Pyeongchangmunhwa Road, which connects Pyeongchang-dong with nearby Buam-dong and other districts.

Proposals for the new building must be lower than 20m in height, with at least one underground level and three above-ground floors. Participating teams should have a maximum of five members and at least one licenced Korean or international architect.

Judges include Korea National University of Arts president Bongryeol Kim, Seoul Museum of Art director Honghee Kim, and Hongnam Kim, professor emeritus at Ewha Womans University. Submissions may be in English or Korean.

The winning team is set to be announced on 20 February, and will receive a design contract worth around 752 million KRW to deliver the project. There will also be a second prize of approximately 30 million KRW; third prize of 22.5 million KRW; fourth prize of 15 million KRW and 7.5 million KRW. The scheme is planned to complete in 2018.

The registration deadline is 25 January and submissions must be completed by 1 February.

How to apply

Visit the competition website and select English in top left corner for more information

Contact details

Bureau of Urban Improvement of Seoul Metropolitan Government

Tel: +82-2-2133-7619, 7620

Design Competition Management Team

Tel: +82-10-6496-736

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art case study: Q&A with OMA

The Rotterdam-based practice discusses lessons learned designing a new 5,400m² art gallery complex for Moscow

How did your Garage Museum of Contemporary Art create an appropriate gallery for Moscow?

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is a renovation of the 1960s Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year) restaurant, a prefabricated concrete pavilion, which has been derelict for more than two decades. OMA’s design for the 5,400m² building includes exhibition galleries on two levels, a creative centre for children, a shop, café, auditorium, offices, and roof terrace. The design preserves original Soviet-era elements, including a mosaic wall, tiles, and brick, while incorporating a range of innovative architectural and curatorial devices. Garage Museum of Contemporary Art was founded in 2008 at the Konstantin Melnikov designed Bakhmetievsky Bus Garage. Relocating from a semi-industrial neighborhood in the north of Moscow to one of the city’s best known public spaces (Gorky Park), Garage will address a much larger and diversified audience.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

Source: Image by David X Prutting

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art by OMA

Which architectural, material and other methods did you harness?

Exposed to snow, rain, and sun since it was abandoned in the 1990s, the former Vremena Goda restaurant – once a popular destination in Gorky Park – had become a ruin without façades. Even as a ruin it preserved the ‘collective’ aura of the Soviet era; it was a sober public space adorned with tiles, mosaics and bricks. The new building offers two levels of unobstructed open space that will be dedicated to exhibitions, organised around two circulation and service cores. Museum programmes occupy three levels, adapting to spatial and structural possibilities of the existing structure. The more fragmented spaces in the north-eastern part of the pavilion surrounding the main core primarily accommodate education and research programmes. The large open spaces in the south-western part are dedicated to exhibitions, projects and events.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

Source: Image by Vasily Babourov

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art by OMA

The building offers a wide range of interior conditions for the exhibition of art beyond the ubiquitous ‘white cube’, and provides innovative curatorial possibilities, such as hinged white walls that can be folded down from the ceiling. They provide an instant white cube when an exhibition demands a more neutral environment, while the existing walls retain their brick and green tile cladding. A 9 x 11m opening in the floor of the upper level creates a double-height space (10 metres) for the lobby, allowing extra-large sculptures to be displayed. A public loop on the lower level will connect the bookshop, mediatheque, auditorium and a café, which is envisioned as an informal living room with Soviet era furniture.

The existing concrete structure is enclosed with a new translucent double layer polycarbonate façade, which will accommodate a large portion of the building’s ventilation equipment, allowing the exhibition spaces to remain free. The facade is lifted 2.25m from the ground in order to visually reconnect the pavilion’s interior to the park. The entrance to Garage Gorky Park is marked by two large façade panels that slide upwards to frame the art in the lobby’s double-height space and provide a view through the building from the park.

Moscow, Russia

Moscow, Russia

Source: Image by Iwan Baan

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art by OMA