H Architecture, in collaboration with Haeahn Architecture, has won a nation-wide competition, organized by the Korea Sports Promotion Foundation,to design the renovation of the 1988 Olympic Gymnastics Arena.
The Olympic Gymnastics Arena and its location within the Olympic Park has important cultural and historical importance. It has been one of the most prominent cultural performance venues of Korea and represents the historical legacy of the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, a significant event in modern Korean history. Furthermore, due to its accessibility within one of the largest public parks in Seoul it is able to provide a memorable everyday experience to a large number of visitors.
The arena is being renovated with the goal of establishing a new programmatic identity while preserving the historical and symbolic significance of the existing structure and façade. The scope of construction was minimized by reusing a majority of the existing structure. The circular gallery surrounding the outer edge of the building was expanded to accommodate a wider range of retail and event-related programs, and more importantly prepare the facility for any future expansions. Much of the renovation was focused on the roof structure which was replaced with a dynamic 3D truss system inspired by the form of a tornado, symbolizing the venue’s central role in the recent surge of global popularity of Korean pop culture.
The newly designed arena is a dynamic intersection between the venue’s legacy as not only one of Korea’s most important sports arenas but also as the premiere performance venue for showcasing the ever-evolving popularity of Korean culture around the world. What makes this fusion even more meaningful is that it is located within one of the largest man-made public parks in Korea. The renovation is an important opportunity to preserve a cultural landmark and also establish a new typology of hyper-public cultural performance facility which fulfills the needs of its various users and accommodates a vast range of concerts and other cultural events.