Jeju Island is one of the most renowned natural touristic attractions in South Korea. The proposed Wood Experience Center is situated in an area of Jeju called Redorum; the location proved to be both a great attribute and obstacle with this project. Surrounded by dense untouched cedar woodland and a beautifully calm lake, we faced many challenges with the balancing act of preserving the unspoiled beauty of the landscape whilst creating an iconic innovative building that will entice visitors and accommodate an exhibition hall, workshop and library.
How to build in a very sensitive natural site without hiding below ground or camouflaging. How to design a building which can truly be in dialogue with the “genius loci” of the site?
The one story linear structure aims to not only blend but also connect and compliment; by bridging two ends of the forest a seamless line emerges amidst the horizon. The semi-circle clearing to the back forms a natural courtyard for the building to open on to enclosed solely by the heavy wood; to the front the view beautifully juxtaposes this with the openness of the lake.
The proposed timber structure building aims to reflect and respect the surroundings through its materiality, proportion and architectural expression.
Externally the pure natural materiality of the external timber cladding and the vertical rhythm of the parabolic roof dialogue mirror the surrounding tree trunks. The cladding is left untreated so that it will silver and further synthesize overtime.
The usage of timber continues internally with everything from the floor, ceiling and walls made from it adding an organic sensual element with the rich smell of the wood; this really connects the inside with the out in an effortless flow. The extensive use of wood makes this somewhat of a modern interpretation of a tree house or hut. The only other material used is the glazing from the carefully placed windows in order to select and optimize different and specific views, some of which lead to balconies or open viewing decks. The ceiling is double height with a large mezzanine that cuts through the building allowing you to be over the tree tops and gaze as far as the eye can see.