“It’s wonderful to see how such traditional and modern spaces have been made to blend together so smoothly, without any sense of incongruity,” Yun Gyun S. Hong says. “People who have lived and worked in traditional Korean houses say how relaxed they feel in them, and how their movements tend to slow down while they’re in them. It makes us realize anew the huge impact that traditional spaces have on us.”
The public and exhibition spaces occupy the more sociable lower floors and the offices are situated above. Sliding panels in the walls of the courtyard can be opened to look out onto the street below. Such gestures are important because community is at the heart of this project. To fulfill its purpose as a temple to the past, the foundation holds frequent exhibitions on food, architecture, fashion, and more. The purpose of this welcoming architecture is to draw people inside: the local community from nearby Seochon Village—historically known for its artists and artisans—as well as Seoul more broadly and, increasingly, the wider world.
By all accounts, it’s succeeding. “The people living in the neighborhood love being here,” says Yun Gyun S. Hong. “I’m sure the building will continue to inspire people for a long time.”