kengo kuma and associates designs a pavilion which emerges from the grounds of south korea’s gyeongju world culture expo. this memorial hall pavilion is designed as an interstitial form, characterized both as architecture and as ground. while the design team generates the concept of ‘connection’ between ground and architecture to be continuously displayed after the expo, it is imagined to bear an enduring presence, rather than that of a temporary pavilion. the ‘roofless museum’ of the gyeongju world culture expo has contributed to the globalization of korean culture and the promotion of local culture and arts in gyeongju. with the goal of becoming a center of the ‘cultural korean wave’ in the 21st century as it emerges as a global brand, the expo strives to realize communication, convergence, and creation of culture.

kengo kuma gyeongju
all images © kengo kuma and associates



the design team at kengo kuma and associates introduces its gyeongju international expo memorial hall as a pavilion which negotiates between ground and architecture. with its exterior, a new topography is generated, gently sloping upward and implying a continuation of the expo’s paved ground. toward its interior, a distinctive and cavernous space is flooded with overhead light through a narrow channel above. the team makes use of locally-sourced basalt rocks, introducing an organic, earthen feeling. the intervention seamlessly cloaks the ground and the adjacent building, with the exhibition space hidden behind. plants grow between each stone, suggesting that the wall stands an element of the earth, and were indeed a lifeline for living creatures. the greenery will eventually grow and return the architecture to the earth.

kengo kuma gyeongju

kengo kuma gyeongju

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project info:


project title: gyeongju international expo memorial hall

architecture: kengo kuma and associates

location: gyeongju-si, gyeongsanbuk-do, korea

project team: javier villar ruiz, seungjun lee, shoki an, sungju lee

local architect: ju architects