Art Museum in Gijang

Art Museum in Gijang

Art Museum in Gijang © Kengo Kuma & Associates
Art Museum in Gijang © Kengo Kuma & Associates
Art Museum in Gijang © Kengo Kuma & Associates
Art Museum in Gijang © Kengo Kuma & Associates
Art Museum in Gijang © Kengo Kuma & Associates
Art Museum in Gijang © Kengo Kuma & Associates
Art Museum in Gijang © Kengo Kuma & Associates

Art Museum in Gijang

Art Museum in Gijang

Gijang, Busan, South Korea
Art museum, Gallery and Cafeteria
Site area: 6,000 m2
Floor area: 3,300 m2
Partner in charge: Javier Villar Ruiz

Busan, already the second largest city in South Korea due to its strategic position and unique character, is currently seeing rapid development. Trapped by mountains and the sea, the city is quickly expanding toward the north-east. Areas, which until recently were serene farmlands and quiet fishing villages are now occupied by massive condominiums, resorts, department stores and the subsequent infrastructure; highways and bridges. Gijang, is a municipality which has been a close witness to these changes.

We were asked to design a mid-size museum to exhibit the works of Nam June Paik and Chong Hak Kim in one of Gijang’s small villages. We were very excited to work with the contrast between the extra-contemporary aspects of such a museum and the bucolic character of this site. It was clear to us that our main task was to identify a strategy with which we could integrate this 3500m² museum into the small-scale, and organic configuration, of the surrounding village. We also wanted to clearly oppose the overwhelming new developments which erode the charm of the region.

Breaking the mass of the building into small volumes (each, similar in scale to the surrounding houses and farm sheds) allows the museum to integrate itself into the village. By choosing natural stone for the exterior and avoiding the direct presence of architectural elements such as doors, windows, and eaves we hope this new structure will appear as a fragment of the traditional walls which hold the terraced fields around this beautiful site. We hope in this way that the village can remain a village; that it can be a bucolic place with an exciting museum to discover, rather than a self-imposed museum, bothered by few nearby humble houses waiting to disappear.