Rethinking Space: Voyage of Imagination

Rethinking Space: Voyage of Imagination is an architectural project that examines and celebrates the interior and exterior spaces of MMCA Gwacheon. After having originated in 1969 inside Gyeongbokgung Palace, MMCA eventually moved into its new facilities in Gwacheon in 1986. Since then, the museum has opened new branches in Deoksugung (1998) and Seoul (2013), but MMCA Gwacheon remains the administrative headquarters for all of the branches. The construction of the MMCA Gwacheon building, designed by architect Tai Soo Kim, included large storage areas and exhibition spaces, which have helped the institution to establish itself as one of Korea’s premier art museums. Indeed, in the rapidly changing urban landscape of Korea, MMCA Gwacheon is a rare and welcome example of a building that has maintained its original look for a relatively long period of time. But the museum still wishes to encourage people to imagine future architectural experimentations, in accordance with the evolving roles of art museums and the needs of different generations.

To celebrate the museum’s 30th anniversary, MMCA invited thirty architectural firms to design special projects related to the changing role of art museums. The participating architects were asked to newly imagine scenes and activities for art museums, beyond their former status as “homes for beautiful objects.” In particular, this project was intended to suggest interesting new functions and stories for MMCA Gwacheon, moving beyond its current image as a rather solemn and stable institution. The project also aimed to re-examine the museum architecture, especially in terms of its sustainability. With these themes in mind, the thirty architects presented their fresh conceptions of MMCA Gwacheon, providing an outlook for the next thirty years. Some of the participants chose to offer architectural interventions, while others conducted research on the overall system of the museum architecture. Ironically, rather than suggesting renovations, some of the architects provided ideas about how to respectfully honor and protect the current architectural structure. In sum, the project was truly a “voyage of imagination,” encompassing diverse experimentations and efforts to rediscover the contemporary value of the museum and revisit the meaning of the museum’s architecture through visual images. By providing a platform for innovative new ideas on how to advance and improve the museum’s architectural features, the project connects the audience with the nexus of arts and architecture.
In addition to the on-site exhibition, an online platform (www.imaginemmca.org) has also been created, which not only showcases the new architectural ideas, but also includes material such as historical images, films, and documents of MMCA Gwacheon. Various programs related to the roles and relationships surrounding the museum’s architecture will follow, including interviews with architects and artists, site tours, roundtable discussions, a public competition, and many more.

Aisle on 3rd Floor (MMCA Gwacheon)


Participants (30 teams): 
Boonserm Premthada (Bangkok Project Studio); Byoungsoo Cho(BCHO architects); Chanjoong Kim (THE_SYSTEM LAB); Cheonkang Park and Bobae Goo (Cheonkang Park architects); Choon Choi (CCA); Didier Faustino (Didier Fiuza Faustino); Doojin Hwang (Doojin Hwang Architects); Florian Idenburg and Seunghyun Kang (SO–IL); Hyungpyo Kwon and Soonju Kim (Bau Architects); Hyun-jun Mihn (mp_Art Architects); HyunSeok Kang, Gunho Kim and Chung Hyun (SGHS); Incheurl Kim (Archium); Ivan Capdevila and Vincente Iborra (PLAYstudio); Jang Yun Kim (Article Architecture Office); Jeonghoon Lee (JOHO Architecture); Jungwoo Ji (eu.k ARCHITECTS); KyungEn Kim and Eulho Suh (Suh Architects); Marco Canevacci (Plastique Fantastique); Moongyu Choi (GAA-Arch); Nathalie De Vries and Kyo Suk Lee (MVRDV); Pablo Castro, Jennifer Lee, and Shin Kook Kang (OBRA Architects); Pei Zhu (Studio Pei-Zhu); Seungmo Seo (Samuso Hyojadong); Simone Carena and Marco Bruno (MOTOElastico); Steven Holl (Steven Holl Architects); Unchung Na and Sorae Yoo (Nameless Architecture); Yangkyu Han, Hanjin Yoon and Seungjae Han (FHHH Friends); Yerin Kang, Chihoon Lee, and Jaewon Lee (SoA); Yoon Gyoo Jang (Unsangdong Architects); Young Chul Jang and Sook Hee Chun (WISE Architecture)


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