Mario Botta, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, 2004

Mario Botta,

Seoul, South Korea,



Built by the Samsung Foundation, designed by Ticino architect Mario Botta: the Seoul Museum of Traditional Art is a building that will not go unnoticed, not only because of its prominent hilltop position, but above all because its clean lines contain clear symbols and historical references.

Mario Botta, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, 2004 The building's construction is part of a wider-ranging programme including (Jean Nouvel)'s Contemporary Art Museum and a large display space for temporary exhibitions by (Rem Koolhaas).
Botta chose simple, essential lines enclosed in three elements: a base and 2 buildings, one parallelepiped in form and the other in the shape of an upside-down cone. A sort of crenellation at the top of the parallelepiped alludes to the ancient palaces and medieval fortresses that once stood on the tops of the hills.
The adjacent building suggests greater dynamism, with the slight slope of its walls seeming to rise upwards from the base or, to the contrary, collapse inside. The two buildings, which have in common a great simplicity, interact in different ways with the space around them and give the museum complex different connotations.
The particular layout of the stairwell permits it to be illuminated by natural light through a big skylight, and tapers down into the basement of the building, where visitors can proceed on to the contemporary art museum or the temporary exhibition area.

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