For Kukje Gallery in Seoul, SO – IL has developed a master plan of the gallery’s “art campus” in the historic urban fabric of Sogyeok-dong, a low-rise area in the northern part of Seoul. Small alleyways and courtyard houses characterize this neighborhood, which is currently being infiltrated by newly constructed galleries, boutiques and coffee shops.
One of the newly planned buildings within the master plan is SO – IL’s 12,000 sf gallery. Considering the clear diagrammatic geometry of the white cube too rigid within the historic fabric, the building is enveloped in a permanent “nebula”—a pliable chainmail veil. The stainless steel mesh produces a layer of diffusion in front of the actual building mass, through a combination of multidirectional reflection, openness, and the moiré pattern generated through interplay of its shadows. The layering technique provides that the building with an inherently closed program looks fascinating both day and night. It allows for a highly flexible white box gallery by placing circulation on the perimeter. An additional quality of the material is that it can stretch, thus avoiding creasing. It is strong yet pliable, and can easily wrap around crude geometries.
The structure is a single-story, clear-span art space. A perimeter skylight admits and diffuses natural light. The ground floor is used for large installations, performances and other functions, while the two sublevel floors house a 60-seat dark stained wood-clad auditorium, administrative areas, catering spaces, restrooms and mechanical spaces.