top of page

Pyeongchang-dong Art and Culture Complex 

Seoul, Korea


Type: Cultural Institution

Size: 55,000 sf

Project Text

The Community Art Platform for Pyeongchang-dong aims to create a flexible, informal space that allows for the archiving, displaying and creation of art and cultural artifacts.  It works as a creative knowledge think-lab— a shared space for all to be artists, poets, musicians and philosophers.  The design is organized by a vertical public stair that runs from the corner of Pyeongchangmunhwa-ro and Pyeongchang-dong to the top of the building— connecting to a parking garage located on the lots of 148-9 and 148-19 Pyeongchang-dong.  This entire flexible, creative space works to connect the valley to the mountaintop and the visitor moves up or down the mountain to experience the various creative activities. 


This public art network is framed by a timber diagrid structure, made from engineered, glulam members that serves as a storage and display mechanism for the art platform.  Thus it serves dual function:  it is both a primary structural element and programmatic, curatorial framework.   The timber diagrid runs parallel to the public stair can connects ground to sky—or Corner Pedestrian Entrance to Parking Entrance.  The stair works to catalyze a conversation between the historical archive of works and new work supported by the cultural complex.   This allows the open-archive platform to run, vertically thru the entire building, with spaces dedicated to flexible creative activities on each floor. 


The building works as a bridge – connecting the upper sites with the lower sites found on Pyeongchangmunhwa-ro. This allows for two circulation flows.  One, starting at the lower elevation, which immediately connects citizens to the art. The galleries are located on this lower level as well as an orientation desk.  Also, as you immediately enter, you encounter a creation zone— a large table sits in the triple height open-archive platform—allowing visitors to collide with the creative, collaborative energy of the space.  This table, along with the many, large tables that can be found on each floor work as a shared territory for experimentation. 

The natural materiality of wood is continued to the exterior building skin for the Pyeongchang-dong Art and Culture Complex.  The entire building envelope is clad with a timber rain-screen that is charred to increase durability and fire resistance.  This timber rainscreen is made from two layers of wood that alternate directionality and produce a moiré pattern with this directionality. 


The Northern side of the building is landscaped with a terrace.  This terrace steps down the hill in a similar method as the internal public archive stair.  This outdoor space allows the building to navigate the steep topography of the site and creates a theatrical public space for more creative work and performances.  At the lower level of the terrace is a plaza that allows the office space to spill outdoors for meetings and conversations.

The main concept for this design proposal for the Pyeongchang-dong Art Complex is to use the building to connect the complex terrain of the site and to use it to connect multiple creative and cultural identities.  This concept allows for maximum penetration by the public, while creating quiet, well lit study and research areas that look out, onto the open archive.  This proposal creates a shared territory for all citizens to learn about, be inspired and make art.



Seth McDowell


©mcdowellespinosa architects

bottom of page