UNStudio's proposal wins competition to design Chungnam Art Museum, South Korea

Chungnam Art Museum by Dutch firm UNStudio and DA Group from South Korea is envisioned as a dynamic space for engaging the community through art and technology.

by STIRworldPublished on : Jul 22, 2021

With an aim to make art accessible to all, UNStudio’s design proposal for the new Chungnam Art Museum in South Korea has won an international competition. The firm’s proposal was chosen over five other entries from renowned architectural practices including BIG, Steven Holl Architects, Snøhetta, Grafton Architects, and ALA Architects. Amongst the six proposals, three entries were shortlisted out of which two finalists were chosen, before announcing the winner. UNStudio’s proposal is a collaboration between the DA Group, Squint/Opera, a design agency based in London, and Loos van Vliet, a Netherlands-based landscape architecture firm. The team will work together to deliver a unique zero-energy art museum, the first of its kind in South Korea.

  • The aerial view of Chungnam Art Museum and its surrounding landscape | Chungnam Art Museum | UNStudio | STIRworld
    The aerial view of Chungnam Art Museum and its surrounding landscape Image: Courtesy of UNStudio
  • The museum aims to make art accessible to all by providing a space where visitors can engage and interact with the art exhibits in new ways | Chungnam Art Museum | UNStudio | STIRworld
    The museum aims to make art accessible to all by providing a space where visitors can engage and interact with the art exhibits in new ways Image: Courtesy of UNStudio

In an attempt to move away from the traditional notion of an art museum, the Chungnam Art Museum is envisaged as an immersive and sustainable cultural centre for the community. “It is a cultural and social experience for the whole community. It is a living, breathing space that will grow and morph over time. And it will be a place for inspiration where you can participate in and contribute to art,” says the founder and principal architect of UNStudio, Ben van Berkel. With its state-of-the-art facilities, it will act as a platform for people to come together to actively engage with art and technology in new and exciting ways. 

The museum sits gently on its landscaped site | UNStudio | STIRworld
The museum sits gently on its landscaped site Image: Courtesy of UNStudio

The sleek cuboidal form of the museum with its voluptuous openings sits gently on its landscaped site. The design of the museum facilitates the studio’s vision of providing a diverse and holistic experience of the different spaces and artworks for the users. It employs two defining design elements that the studio defines as ‘Big Details’. In this proposal this includes the central courtyard and the cultural boulevard. Both these spaces are instrumental in creating public spaces for the visitors and help them navigate the museum. A similar approach is observed in UNStudio’s earlier work, such as the Het Valkhof Museum in The Netherlands. Here the two ‘big details’ are the ceiling and a staircase that connect the different exhibition spaces together and act as a guide for the people through the building.

Conceptual rendering of the central courtyard and the cultural boulevard | UNStudio | STIRworld
Conceptual rendering of the central courtyard and the cultural boulevard Image: Courtesy of UNStudio

The central courtyard acts as a communal space, creating an informal area for learning, sharing, and interacting. The cultural boulevard is designed as a central passage which runs throughout the site seamlessly, connecting the outside with the inside. This boulevard connects the surrounding natural landscape and the Chungnam Library to the Arts Centre. Along with acting as a continuous guide for the user, it also creates and activates pockets for public activities to unfold.  

The axonometric view of the museum showing different spaces of the building | UNStudio | STIRworld
The axonometric view of the museum showing different spaces of the building Image: Courtesy of UNStudio

The museum is designed with the intent of providing the community a diverse and meaningful experience through art. “Art has the power to bring people together. It inspires, it teaches and it fosters communities. The Chungnam Art Museum will be a place for everyone to experience this – and of course much more than this alone,” mentions van Berkel. With a vision to provide a world-class contemporary museum facility for the community, the Chungnam Art Museum is committed to stand as a symbol for accessibility and inclusivity.

The sustainability diagram for Chungnam Art Museum | UNStudio | STIRworld
The sustainability diagram for Chungnam Art Museum Image: Courtesy of UNStudio

Project Details

Project Details
Name: Chungnam Art Museum
Location: South Korea
Site Area: 26, 478 sqm
Architect: UNStudio
Design Team: Ben van Berkel, Astrid Piber with Sontaya Bluangtook, Marc Salemink and Heeyoun Kim, Hyoseon Park, Alba Pelaez, Andrii Kniaz
Collaborators: UNStudio and DA Group
Digital Content and Exhibition Design: Squint / Opera
Landscape Consultant: Loos van Vliet
Community Content: UNSense
Visualisations: Bloomimages
Animations: Morean

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