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AZPML's museum in korea proposes an ecological solution to a degrading environment

AZPML and UKST have unveiled their winning proposal for the ‘korean museum of urbanism and architecture’, conceived as an ecological and a cultural adventure in sejong. the project is born of the conundrum in which architecture finds itself today — while urbanization is constantly increasing, cities are the main source of environmental degradation, and they account today for nearly 70% of global carbon emissions and 66% of energy consumption. the team claims that a museum of architecture and urbanism needs to address this problem in 2020. while proposing a contemporary solution to the projected climate crisis, the team celebrates the historic architectural language of south korea, expressing the stepped eaves of traditional hanok roofs.

korean museum AZPML
all images and video courtesy of AZPML



the team at AZPML and UKST proposes the korean museum of urbanism and architecture (KMUA) to exemplify the industry’s best construction practices in terms of ecological and environmental performances. the project will simultaneously pay tribute to an age which saw a failed national economy transformed into a thriving economy through a process of radical transformation of cities. the museum will reuse the steel girders of decommissioned infrastructure to build an oversized scaffolding to hold real fragments of architecture. the project will exemplify urban mining, preserve resources, and reduce embodied energy, carbon emissions, construction waste, and pollution. 

korean museum AZPML



the korean museum of urbanism and architecture is envisioned as a collection of full-scale pieces of architecture and will remain forever under construction. designed to recall an infrastructural scaffolding, the building will sit on a walled ‘treasure garden’ where architectural fragments will be displayed between abundant trees and vegetation, in a picturesque fashion. the building provides a generous canopy over the public space as a shield from rain and sun while providing a monumental access to the building. the lobby opens onto a central void linking visually to the temporary galleries and the accessible storage spaces above. two vertical circulation cores covered with stones from historical korean fortresses are located around this piranesian space.

korean museum AZPML



the museum’s permanent collection will be laid out as a ring of column-free space spaces around the north sunken courtyard. this area becomes a part of the exhibition galleries and offers the possibility of an outdoor exhibition space. two sets of stands link the two levels of the permanent collection, creating topographies for casual presentations and events in the gallery which will introduce a theatrical effect into the exhibition spaces, offering an elevated perspective over the exhibits on the lower level.

korean museum AZPML




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project info:


project title: korean museum of urbanism and architecture (KMUA)

architecture: AZPML + UKST

location: sejong-ri, sejong, republic of korea

lead architects: alejandro zaera-polo, maider llaguno-munitxa

client: the national agency for administrative city construction

design team: (AZPML) ivaylo nachev, carlota mendez, claudia baquedano, claudia zucca | (UKST) yukyung kim

status: open competition phase 2

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architecture in korea (405)

AZPML / alejandro zaera-polo + maider llaguno (15)

museums and galleries (659)


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