in order to completely comprehend soft architecture lab’s vision for the award-winning mokyeonri wood museum — supported by korea forest service and organized by incheon metropolitan city — one must elaborate on the project’s namesake. mokyeonri, meaning ‘a harmony between trees from different roots’, identifies architecture as a series of spatial experiences, sensing diverse attributes of wood.

the mokyeonri wood museum enables visitors to experience wood through an atypical exhibition



previously, timber structures commissioned by korea forest service have been unsuccessful in attracting visitors to wood museums, as the structures have been somewhat generic. in an attempt to spruce-up its image, soft architecture lab‘s mokyeonri wood museum enables visitors to experience wood through an atypical exhibition. accordingly, the design itself creates a spatial experience where one can uses their sense of smell, sight, hearing and touch within the architectural ambience, while harmonizing with the surrounding forest.

the wood museum harmonizes with its botanic surroundings



the design strategy is to create a symbolization of arboretum in the incheon grand park. architectural abstractions are prominent within this project, where sunlight between leaves constantly shift, depending on the direction of the wind via the ambience wall (the interactive wood apparatus). this allows visitors to have a multi-sensory experience of wood in diverse architectural levels, reflecting the variations of the forest hour by hour. 


mokyeonri: kinteic wood museum
video © softarchitecturelab

the design strategy is to create a symbolization of arboretum in the incheon grand park

the panoramic view of the north side

main gate where the shadow can be differently shaped depending on seasonal solar altitude

the void space in the hall embraces the ceiling with japanese cypress bars

the inner and outer space are communicated via the parameter to make ambience wall moving

outdoor deck composed of silhouette and shadow of the wooden wall

interior shadows of the wall

night view of the southernmost side

details of the kinetic wall with consecutive merbau pieces that moves with twisting mechanism

details of the ambience wall at the main gate showing its scale and spatiality



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: lynn chaya | designboom

  • A country with an extremely rich tradition in wood architecture builds a wood museum in concrete where wood is reduced to ornament. This museum is an allegory in itself for the failure of Korean traditions to survive the Japanese occupation, the Korean War and the Korean modernization. A country where you cannot find a single structural engineer who can calculate wood structures (for a simple wood beam roof we had to find a Japanese engineer to calculate it.), where you cannot find a single construction company that can build a contemporary wood structure (except specialized companies that reproduce traditional houses or standardized American balloon frame systems). This “wood museum” just makes me scream out in desperation after working for 15 years in Korea. It represents a systemic failure on an almost sarcastic level.

    (and i know designboom will never publish this comment, as every critical comment is just suppressed … but still after seeing this confession of failure i had to write something expressing my frustration working in an environment that sees architecture as a sheer capitalistic product wrapped in marketing and not as a cultural expression … )

    Kasimir says:
  • It is an amazing project showing a great creative interpretation for wood with contemporary technology. Beyond conservative and stereotypical view for wood-related architecture under the name of tradition, this interactive architecture, mokyeonri, really accomplished the innovation that can expand people’s spatial experience. Very lovely job!!

    Emma says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news