Asymptote's design for a new Center of Performing Arts for the city of Sejong in South Korea celebrates the cities emergence and growth as a place of stature and culture. The proposal calls for an architecture centered around notions of contemporary urbanism as expressed through a distinctive and unique envelope and object-bulling perched on an open site that connects the city, a park and nearby waterway. By confronting different aspects of the site the architecture sets out to capture the cities vitality and history by alluding tectonically to the spirit and flavors of local Korean architectural traditions. The curved and mathematically precise roofs of nearby pavilions and temples are quoted here and set against the stoic solidity of traditional monumental buildings also part of the surroundings.
The new Sejong Arts Center is designed to seamlessly connect to the city fabric where the two main entrances to the building are placed along an east-west axis that cuts diagonally across the site. As this axis passes through the building's interior it connects the upper foyer of the Arts Center with the city center to the west and the riverside park and museum district to the east. The treatment of the main urban façade as a large multi-story glass expanse creates a theatrical display and show window into the world of performance and theater. With its intricate patterns of louvers the façade performs environmentally as well as aesthetically providing a compelling and dramatic backdrop to the exterior public space that it overlooks.
The interiors are designed to make for a theatrical setting for the audiences gathering and using the buildings spaces. Two theaters and nested into the buildings interior as well as cafes, reception and waiting areas cinemas and other functions. The notion of bundling and 'packing' the buildings function into a singular experience and form allows for both utility and a powerful and 'episodic' interiority and experience. The New Sejong Performing Art Center is a centerpiece for the city, a gathering place of history, contemporary culture, performance and spectacle.