UUL, Seoul branch of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea to open in 2013

UUL is the new name of the Seoul branch of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (NMOCA) which is to be open at the end of 2013.

It is an acronym of the Korean word “우리[wuri]” which refers to “we” and Korean word meaning “fence.” It embodies the concept of the Museum as “our own museum, which is always with us.” It also suggests a new definition and roles of a museum as an open venue encompassing arts and culture instead of a walled-in, closed space. “UUL” also implies relevance to Seoul, globally promoting the status of the Museum as a new cultural landmark of Seoul.

As a word mark symbolizing the CI of NATIONAL ART MUSEUM, SEOUL, the image consisting of dots and lines represented a living organism like a tree using binary numbers symbolizing the harmony of traditionality and modernity. The mark also illustrates the cutting-edge digital culture. It well indicates a museum, which creates a new paradigm for the 21st century as a cultural organism by combining sensibility and new technology as well as traditionality and modernity. It defines a museum as a place for interactions with the public, and reflects the status of the Museum as a barometer of the Korean culture ever evolving. The dots and lines are fluidly and rhythmically broken and flowing to portray “Shapeless Museum,” the architectural concept of the Museum.

Being a winner of the two famous design awards, Red Dot Design Award and Korea Design Award, the design value of UUL is already widely acknowledged.

UUL is….

Project Stage
South Korean President Lee Myung Bak announced a plan to house UUL (NATIONAL ART MUSEUM, SEOUL) at the former Defense Security Command site at the new year’s gathering for cultural and art sectors held in early 2009. The research on master construction plan and the feasibility study were conducted, and architect Minh Hyun Jun was finally selected as the chief architect of the project on August 5, 2010. With the design and construction underway, the Museum is scheduled to initiate construction by the end of 2011.

Surrounding Area
UUL will be built on 27,402㎡ plot of land located in Yulgokro 1st Street, Jongno-gu. The plot is neighbor to Gyeongbok Palace, a symbolic landmark of the Joseon Dynasty, and walking distance from Changdeok Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage. The area is also home to a spatter of various modern art galleries. With the Bukchon Hanok (traditional housing) Village to the east, Gwanghwamun Square to the southwest, and the Insa-dong Street to the southeast, UUL will be established in an area central to Korean history and culture.

Jongchinbu and the Defense Security Command
The site of the future UUL is rich in history, home to Jongchinbu (Office of Royal Family Affairs_During Joseon Dynasty Period), Gyujanggak (Royal Library), Saganwon (Office of Censors) and various other royal institutes. In particular, the Gyunggeundang and Okcheopdang, the main and annex buildings within the Jongchinbu, were relocated in 1980 to their current location at the Jeongdok Library, but the foundation stones remain at the future site. UUL is currently coordinating with the Cultural Heritage Administration and related authorities to harmoniously blend aspects of the new museum with the Jongchinbu.

UUL architecture
UUL is a museum that encompasses the underground space and the ground space that are sloped. The ground structures that are segmented by exhibition are separated into seven boxes, creating the space of the museum by being clustered with the yard. The structures occupy the ground like an archipelago with a flexible flow of empty spaces. The structures with the style of an archipelago serves as a museum and park. There is no facade and backyard in the museum but the site may be transformed into the facade and the backyard. In addition, there is a public space deep inside the museum, which means the museum offers a park for both local residents and visitors deep inside it. Exhibition facilities and additional facilities are equally important, and the space for creation aims to facilitate creation of new arts. Visitors are allowed to move to additional facilities through the museum, and in contrast, move to the museum through the additional facilities. Boxes, as islands of the museum, accommodate individual and independent forms for arts exhibitions. Each island is independently and individually structured according to the exhibition needs rather than architectural issues. The museum does not limit exhibitions based on forms of buildings but individually identify requirements of each exhibition and arrange the exhibition spaces equally. The exhibition spaces may be interpreted as figures and the yard and the pathways as the ground. This method of space layout offers the spaces enabling networking, which may facilitate various creative activities and new art forms. The figures and the ground are separated into individual spaces but harmonized into the historical scenes.

97 Yulgokro 1st Street Jongno-gu, Seoul KOREA

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