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As part of Central Park in Song-do City, a reclaimed land area in Incheon, the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism decided to build a National Museum of World Writing as a monumental project dedicated to the public. The building size is approximately 16,094m² and will house theater, office, research facilities and various exhibitions about world writing. The mound shaped landscape of the park will be lifted up from the ground to the 2nd level and opened to the public, providing porous and transparent approaches as well as passageways through the park.

Letters and writing are usually configured on a certain type of medium, a background. Writing cannot be recognized without a background, it can only be perceived through a figure-ground interrelation. Thus, the “spacing” generated by figure-ground interaction within graphemes, letters, words, sentences and paragraphs, is what characterizes writing; that is, it’s system. For instance, the sculptured nature of a glyph in written form allows people to recognize and define a certain writing, making it special, recordable and communicable. A similar rule is found in a park. People usually identify a place filled with various greenery as a park. The configuration and “spacing” amongst grassed fields, bushed mounds and forests with various size and height of trees begin to organically define and create various territorial and spatial senses that promote diverse activities, experiences and scenes of intimate and/or dynamic.

The design scheme explores the idea of “spacing” within the realm of museum architecture, for the purpose of celebrating the building in the park and dedicating the building to the public as well as to the institution while embodying a new writing museum. The idea of “spacing” is applied to and realized in the building plans, sections, envelope and even structural system. The building sits on the reconfigured mound extended from the adjacent green space along the waterfront, offering maximum lake-side views. The mound proceeds to the ground floor of the building, where visitors enter the welcoming hall and other communal spaces. This allows for uninterrupted open and shared interaction between the public and the activities in the park. Thus, enabling the ground floor to be fully accessible by the public, creating a horizontal spacing within the building to be shared and enjoyed. As a response to the museum’s digital-based exhibition plans, the first floor of the main exhibition area is submerged below the ground floor, allowing for easier access to the public and helping maintain a black-boxed space. Administrative, research and educational functions are elevated, located hanging above the ground level. Except for secured areas, all public functions are linked through a vertical space formed by an elliptic hyperboloid of steps, forming the multi-functional memorial hall. The hall, named the World Writing Memorial, acts as the central circulation space that provides continuous connection between all public functions and also provides additional space for public use such as breaking, reading, lecturing, exhibiting and performing which are occasional needs by the museum and/or visitors. The idea of spacing is thoroughly completed with a lattice-type building structure, which is combined with the building envelop and interior, together serving multiple functions; structural, functional, spatial and sustainable. Due to the quality of the lattice, the inner space is more plentiful with daylight and shadow. Moreover, the expression of the building and the view to the park throughout the building is enhanced and dramatized by its overlaying effect, creating a dynamic experience of constant exposure and camouflage within the park. By means of experimental application of “spacing”, the design proposal accomplishes a more open, sharable and experiential place for the public while providing a more professional and iconic place for the institution.




173,234 sq.ft. (16,094 sq.m.)

Incheon, Korea




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