mass studies: songwon art center
mass studies: songwon art center mass studies: songwon art center
jan 24, 2013

mass studies: songwon art center

‘songwon art space’ by mass studies, seoul, koreaimage © kyungsub shinall images courtesy of mass studies



acclaimed firm mass studies has just shared images with us of their new ‘songwon art space’ in seoul, korea, situated on a challengingly irregularsite with a significant transverse grade change and a slender angle where two roads converge. the footprint came about by this perimeter restrictionand the neighboring heritage house informed the height of the structure as it could not block sunshine to the protected site. the result is a mostlysubterranean building with exhibition spaces and parking in the basement levels where light can be more easily controlled and a commercial restaurantin the top two levels where the sun is fully invited. the underground skeleton is made up of a customized pilotis system that raises the building off thethe ground allowing the necessary dimensions for cars while creating an area for the entrance. the edifice above ground in contrast is made up of a solidreinforced concrete shell and a dramatically sloping translucent roof. along the sharp corner of the site, a two windows unexpectedly reveal the secretof the building, extending views 11 meters upwards through the public space and 8 meters downwards through the exhibit functions, and suddenly the scope of the project is revealed as the visitor finds themselves floating in the middle.


the glass canopy is composed of a triple-glazed system with embedded expanded steel mesh that helps filter direct light. this same louver mechanism is applied into the display areas, not to filter but rather to manipulate light. exposed subtle materials were used throughout the project, white and polished surfaces provide a neutral backdrop for any art exhibit and rough untreated textures and colors define the social programmatic elements. the exterior metal panels were manufactured by a local steel manufacturer who supports the songwon culture foundation and whose technologies make it possible to create affordable sheets of glavanized steel, roll painted with any color and texture to appear as another material.



elevation from the streetimage © kyungsub shin

steel panels made to look like concreteimage © kyungsub shin

corner siteimage © kyungsub shin

image © kyungsub shin

car entry on gradeimage © kyungsub shin

front elevationimage © kyungsub shin

in the urban contextimage © kyungsub shin

triangular skylight reveals the total depth of the structureimage © kyungsub shin

entrance vestibuleimage © kyungsub shin

underside of entryimage © kyungsub shin

image © kyungsub shin

stairwellimage © kyungsub shin

exhibition spaceimage © kyungsub shin

void in the floor creates a larger spaceimage © kyungsub shin

thin louvers in the ceiling make a distinct style while controlling lightingimage © kyungsub shin

image © kyungsub shin

image © kyungsub shin

image © kyungsub shin

image © kyungsub shin

double height spaces allow natural light to seep deep into the structureimage © kyungsub shin

(left) stairs leading to the restaurant area(right) glass canopy and louver systemimage © kyungsub shin

restaurantimage © kyungsub shin

image © kyungsub shin

image © kyungsub shin

image © kyungsub shin

image © kyungsub shin

glass roofimage © kyungsub shin

site plan

floor plan / level 0

floor plan / level 1

roof plan

floor plan / level -1


floor plan / level -2



floor plan / level -3















project info:



name and site of the project: songwon art spacearchitects: mass studies : minsuk cho, kisu parkdesign team: mass studies: zongxoo u, yoonhwan kim, youngjoon chung, joungwon lee, daeun jeong, hyunjung kim, sanghoon lee, songmin leestructural engineering: teo structuremep engineer: hana consulting & engineerslighting engineer: newlitelandscape design: soltos landscapingclient: songwon cultural foundationconstruction: jehyo engneering & constructiontype: commercial, publiclocation: seoul, koreasite area: 297.18 m2 site coverage area: 175.01 m2total floor area: 841.51 m2building-to-land ratio: 58.89%floor area ratio: 90.25%building scope: 2 floors, basement: 3 floorsstructure: reinforced concretefinish: steel panel, glass, cool-shade glass ,exposed color concrete, design phase (beginning and ending month, year): 2006.7 – 2011.1construction phase (beginning and ending month, year): 2010.12– 2012.05design phase (beginning and ending month, year): 2006.7 – 2011.1construction phase (beginning and ending month, year): 2010.12– 2012.05

  • Interesting project, inside space feels much bigger than judging from outside. It’s unexpected. Huge skylights bringing in diffused nature lights but not direct sunlight, its quite successful. An observation- the arrival experience to this gallery is almost like arriving to a friend’s house (the front door, looking at the garage). I assume that this was intentional. its very low key in a way..

    twny says:
  • Love this ! Small footprint and not dominating the neigbourhood like some other gallery’s / musea. The inside spaces feel great and ideal to present artwork or installations. Both entrances are subtle and especially the lowest one is very surprising !

    Oliver says:
  • Well done. For once an architect who understands the need of clear flat wall space on which to hang art/project art/focus the mind/work on/create on
    nice visual lines….use of solids and negative spaces and how one enters the building both visually and physically
    I wish I could experience this in reality but Vermont is a long way away
    thank you

    Paedra says:
  • Nice!!!
    That’s ARCHITECTURE….no arbitrary blobs, no not functioning messy colisions…
    thank god there is still architects like this out there….

    Chanyatola says:
  • All u guys comment fail to realise this business is all about opinion. I know u all making reference to danile Libeskind and other innovative architects. not because u like a certain style means your views are correct because there is no right answer in architecture.

    Thats why we are all different individuals with different taste so just give out of the box architects a break and stop chatting trash.

    Anyway nice design

    sheema says:

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