Seoul Photographic Art Museum
Client: Seoul Metropolitan Government
Place: Seoul, South Korea
Date: 2019 Competition
Type: Culture, Education, Office
Budget: KRW 21,000 million
Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Maider Llaguno-Munitxa, Ivaylo Nachev
Our proposal for the Seoul Photographic Art Museum aims to produce a building which will become an ideal facility for experiencing, creating and teaching photography while being able to represent photography and engage the public with its history. Our project uses a novel technology of automated daylight shutters capable to control daylight conditions in the rooms with unprecedented precision. Our proposal is to use the mechanisms of a camera (iris shutters and flipping mirrors), to deliver optimal performance for multiple display possibilities and an efficient management of light, producing a unique experience of a building aimed to capture the essence of photography.
The building is shaped as a black box hovering over the public space. The box will be covered by an LED screen on its entire South face, projecting its content toward Modeul-ro street and the Changdong Cultural Industrial Complex. All sides of the box will be clad with a glass screen laminated with a dichroic film, which will turn the box into an inscrutable volume which reflects light into a constantly varying spectrum of colours. Light will turn into a visual spectacle when reflected by the dichroic surface. The box is hovering over the public space. A pattern of perforations in the dichroic film will allow daylight to enter the rooms when needed (for example into the labs and reference rooms) or will permit the LED grid to project images onto the South face.
The public access is located in the centre of the building, where a circular atrium cutting through the three levels performs like a huge light machine, using two large mirrors, one above the atrium (6m diameter) and another located on the ground level (10m diameter), mounted on robotic arms. The combination between the two rotating mirrors will perform by projecting images of the surrounding skyline into the lobby, connecting visually the lobby with the central atrium on the gallery level and the educational facilities, providing an infinite amount of visual connections between the three layers of program. A 6m mechanized diaphragm at the top of the atrium will allow to regulate instantly the amount of light entering the atrium, as if it was a photographic chamber, a camera obscura. These mechanisms are aimed at providing the public with the experience of being inside a photographic chamber.