New national art museum to open in Seoul in 2013
By Kwon Mee-yoo
Construction of the Seoul branch of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) began in Sogyeok-dong, central Seoul, Wednesday.
It is being built on the site of the former headquarters of the Defense Security Command and Armed Forces Seoul District Hospital, next to Gyeongbok Palace. The museum is scheduled to open in 2013.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site that formerly housed the headquarters of the Defense Security Command. Some 600 guests, including French Ambassador to Korea Elisabeth Laurin and Spanish Ambassador to Korea Luis Arias Romero, attended the event.
“The National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul is going to be a world-scale museum, communicating internationally through modern art and making a creative contribution to national growth,” Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Chung Byoung-gug said at the ceremony.
Mihn Hyun-jun of mp_Art Architect and Siaplan have designed the facility. The new museum will be built on some 27,000 square meters site, with three stories below and three above ground. The building will be low-rise to match the surrounding landscape of hanok, or Korean traditional house.
There will be seven galleries, an information center, library, multipurpose hall, art shop and restaurant. The buildings of Jongchinbu, office of Royal Genealogy during the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910), which moved to Jeongdok Library, will be restored to its original place in the museum.
“The Seoul branch is going to be a friendly museum. Visitors can enter through three sides — from Gyeongbok Palace, Bukchon and Samcheong-dong,” Kang Seung-wan, head of the new museum’s planning and construction department said. “The downtown museum aims to be a home to interdisciplinary art, amalgamating film, music and performance. Our multipurpose hall will house such art forms.”
The MOCA also plans to commission site-specific works for the museum. Renowned artists Suh Do-ho and Kim Soo-ja have been contacted for the project and the museum will also seek international artists to create works for it.
The new museum will also open late to accommodate more visitors during the evening.