3XN/GXN's chungnam art center in south korea recalls the wave of a conductor’s baton

3XN/GXN's chungnam art center in south korea recalls the wave of a conductor’s baton

winning design for the Chungnam Art Center in South Korea


3XN / GXN unveils its winning design for the Chungnam Art Center in South Korea. Proposed alongside project partners SIAPLAN and MDA as part of an international invited competition, the design will serve as the last piece of the Chungnam Art Precinct. Once completed, the culture and performance hub will unite a global design perspective with local knowledge and experience. ‘The key inspiration for our design comes from movement. Chungnam Art Center will be a place as vibrant, layered, and expressive as the art it will be home to,’ shares Kim Herforth Nielsen, Founder and Creative Director at 3XN GXN. 

3XN/GXN's chungnam art center in south korea recalls the wave of a conductor’s baton
all renders © 3XN/GXN



3xn/gxn finds inspiration in artistic movements


As founder Kim Herforth states, the Chungnam Art Center is made in the language of expression and movement, taking inspiration from the wave of a conductor’s baton and the arc of a dancer’s pointed toe as it arcs through the air. Balancing rational concept with an expressive form, the key elements of the program (the halls, lobby, and fly-tower) are efficiently clustered together, with the subtle arched forms of the roof responding to the heights and volumes of the program within. Echoing the curves of the roof, a scalloped timber cladding envelops the hall’s outer walls, the concave spaces creating entry niches, seating, and program spaces along the lobby’s periphery. The lobby is clear and open, with sharp sightlines across the lobby and to the gardens and plazas.


Performance facilities have a high level of complexity, but it is important that users – whether they are visitors or performers – do not feel this complexity,’ explains Fred Holt, Partner and Director of 3XN Australia. The roof’s curved expression masks a simple diagram: the roof plane is draped over the program volumes, folded in half over the central, diagonal axis, and then sliced and arced to fit the functions below. ‘It’s a building that expresses movement while reducing its perceived scale,’ says Holt.

3XN/GXN's chungnam art center in south korea recalls the wave of a conductor’s baton
winning design of the Chungnam Art Center



creating strong physical and visual connections


The Chungnam Art Precinct is nestled between the growing district of Naepo New Town and the Yongbongsan Mountains, a small range to the southwest of the site that is strewn with popular hiking trails and lookout points. The mountains form the backdrop to the precinct, a sprawling park landscape populated by the art center, library, and art museum (for which UN Studio won the competition in 2021). ‘It was important that the building related directly to its immediate context, as seen with the rotation of its siting to have a face towards the main arrival, but also to the surrounding mountains and landscape. It’s a building that pulls visitors in while providing great views outward, allowing the mountains to act as an interior elevation, so to speak,’ notes Holt.


Respecting this location, the building’s footprint is concentrated to give as much park space back to the city as possible. Where the library and art museum follow an alignment with the main street, the art center is rotated to create better physical and visual connections to both the other buildings and to the surrounding nature. The building is designed with no visible ‘front side’ or ‘back side’, giving visitors stunning views out, and passersby a beautiful image in of the building regardless of where they are in the precinct. ‘When visitors approach the art center from the street and ascend through the landscape with its cluster of trees and winding paths, the roof and arrival lobby are revealed, both mimicking and framing the surrounding mountain landscape,’ adds Holt.

3XN/GXN's chungnam art center in south korea recalls the wave of a conductor’s baton
echoing the wave of a conductor’s baton



Chungnam Art Center’s holistic sustainability strategy


The sustainability strategy for Chungnam Art Center is holistic and integrated into the architecture. This includes working with biodiversity, human wellbeing, comfort, and a resilient and robust design. That being said, a strong sense of place is a cornerstone of sustainable design. Through a placemaking strategy, the building amplifies the site’s existing qualities for all users, making it a space that brings people together and where culture becomes accessible and inclusive. Learning from the existing landscape, the approach to biophilia reflects twin strategies, a direct and an abstract connection with nature. For direct connection, the focus is on maximizing visibility to the grand landscapes surrounding the site with a planted park that dissolves the boundary between nature and culture as one approaches. The abstract connection is found through the curving roof forms and the use of natural materials such as wood and stone. Additional sustainability efforts include photovoltaics integrated seamlessly into the roof while rainwater will also be harvested.

3XN/GXN's chungnam art center in south korea recalls the wave of a conductor’s baton
a slightly arched roof that responds to the heights and volumes within



The Chungnam Art Center will be 3XN GXN’s first project in South Korea, with expected completion date for the project currently anticipated around 2028/2029. The architecture office has previously competed a design for the Seoripul Open Storage Museum in Seoul, and has extensive experience in performing arts centers, including the Muziekgebouw aan t’IJ in Amsterdam, Plassen Culture Centre and Buen Cultural Centre in Norway, and the recently won Riverside Theatres in Parramatta, NSW, Australia.

3XN/GXN's chungnam art center in south korea recalls the wave of a conductor’s baton
concert hall


the Chungnam Art Center is expected to complete in 2028/2029


project info:


name: Chungnam Art Center

location: Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea

architect: 3XN/GXN@3xnarchitects

in collaboration with: SIAPLAN and MDA

expected completion: 2028/2029

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