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TYPE: Design Competition

LOCATION: Jinju, South Korea

YEAR: 2023

COLLABORATORS:

MMK+

Strange Works Studio

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Jinju's current National Museum is located within the city's historic Jinjuseong fortress which is designated as a national historic site. The Jinju National Museum of Korea sought to expand their current facilities through the construction of a new museum integrated with community and educational programs. Due to the impossibility of expanding on the current historical grounds of Jinjuseong fortress, the competition brief called for the relocation to, and transformation of, the old Jinju station railway yards (a brownfield site) into a new cultural park with this museum complex at its center. Located south of the river in the district unit plan area of old Jinju station, the site serves as new base for culture and tourism while playing an important role in historic Jinju downtown's urban regeneration. In addition to housing permanent and special exhibitions on war diplomacy history and their cultural artifacts, the museum also called for the integration of new public community spaces, including a children's museum, multi-purpose hall, and educational facilities

Our proposal Jinju Sky Gate responds to this brief by imagining an open landmark that gathers community to its center while mediating the complex connections and orientations of the formal railway site. Through the reinterpretation of historic Korean fortress architecture, we propose the formal and spatial motif of the wall, the gateway, and the thresholds they serve as an opportunity to establish specific visual, physical, and typological relationships between the new museum and its surroundings. Rather than a monolithic object in a park or a transparent vessel without boundaries and without identity, this proposal argues that the relationship between park and museum is enriched by creating a distinct zone of transition between the two.  Our proposal inverts the typical museum type from a moment of arrival to a series of gateways where unpredictable interactions and experiences might occur.  The sequence through the city is not concluded upon arrival at the museum lobby but is an ongoing, continuous experience. By doing so, the proposal simultaneously acknowledges the institutional history and typological form of the old museum, the history of Jinju as a site of military conflict, and the linearized morphology of the site as a former railway yard.

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A gateway is a memorable, iconic form — unique in that it is both open and closed.  It mediates two different conditions, is directionally specific, and has the potential to connect or divide what is on either side.  It has thickness and forms a border where one can occupy neither of the two mediated conditions, but a separate zone that is somewhere in between. As an urban type, the gateway was, and still is, a moment of exchange in the urban fabric.  The thickness of a wall creates a period of transition, passing from one region to another in the city. Historically, gateways formed border zones between distinct urban ecologies, serving as gathering points for diverse publics and as critical spaces of communication and exchange. Evoking the formal and spatial legacy of Jinjusong Fortress, the morphology of this perimeter wall is subverted to create zones of ambiguity and thresholds, rather than a distinct perimeter.  

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Jinjuseong Historic Walled Fortress

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Fortress Walls as Spatial & Tectonic Framework

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Wall as Historic Boundary

Wall as New Porous Gateway

Connective Urban Gateway

The site suggests important connective axes in two directions.  As a historical boundary between neighborhoods on the east and west, the project must provide a connective border condition between the two.  As the central site along a linear masterplan ranging from north to south, the project must provide continuity and connectivity derived from the existing railway morphology.  Our proposal acknowledges these two key connective requirements, but argues that they are not the same, and cannot be dealt with through the same spatial devices.  East-west, the project provides a gateway and a series of spatial thresholds to create a sense of transition, complexity, and interface between different conditions.  East-west the project is a series of perforated, layered facades that control view (of local monuments and edifices) and access.  Passing north-south, park-goers may slip between the spatial layers of the project, providing a sense of continuous movement.  The project provides a monumental, complex border of interaction between Jinju Avenue and the new cultural street, while providing a continuous linear axis between the aerospace science museum and railway park to the north and south.

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While typical museums place the lobby at center, our proposal places community at the center.  Organized as five distinct volumes, the center volume containing the Welcome Center is elevated above the ground plane, allowing the center of the project to be used for local markets or other community functions; an urban center for surrounding communities.  The park and city flow through the center of the project, allowing educational programs that inhabit the other four volumes maximum horizontal connection to their surroundings.  The floating form of the welcome center provides protection from sun and inclement weather, while a water feature to the south-west takes advantage of prevailing winds to provide a cool and comfortable outdoor environment even during summer months through evapotranspiration.  We envision this covered plaza as an active center for the community; a 24-hour urban space.

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The project is arranged through two distinct material systems that promote passive heating and cooling strategies and the filtering of light and view.  An airy, cloud-like tectonic system of steel and glass is contained within a heavy stereotomic system of poured-in-place concrete and locally-sourced granite facing.  The theme of heavy and light evokes a theme of ground and sky in section; a theme which extends to the building’s environmental strategies.  The sky is a source of excess light and heat in the summer and a heat sink in the winter.  The ground is a heat sink in the summer, and a source of warmth in the winter.  Our proposal imagines a section where these two systems interlock like fingers, maximizing the boundary between the two systems and promoting heat exchange.  The stereotomic form of the walls radiates heat into exhibition spaces during the winter and draws off excess heat during the summer through a geothermal exchange system embedded in floor sections and concrete walls.


Passive ventilation strategies are another important theme of the project.  In plan, voids in the linear spatial system are arranged to take advantage of summer prevailing winds for cooling the shaded public plaza at the center of the project.  The heavily planted area of the park to the northwest provides a baffle to undesirable winter winds.  Passive ventilation strategies for the interior of the project take advantage of the vertical form of the walls and the prevailing wind direction during summer and winter.  The two prominent, central walls would operate as stacks for drawing fresh air through each of the major programmatic volumes, with operable louvers located on both sides, to be alternated according to season and prevailing wind direction.  Air intakes would be located on either side of the base of the project, passing hot or cold air through the passive cooling/heating of the thermal mass of the base before filtering through major spaces.