Morphosis unveil designs for Korean American National Museum

12 August 2019
  • Morphosis
  • Morphosis
  • Morphosis
  • Morphosis

Los Angeles

United States

State of California awards $4m in funding for new institution

Morphosis have unveiled new designs for the Korean American National Museum during an event at the building’s future location in Los Angeles’ Koreatown district. The event celebrated an award of $4m by the State of California to establish a permanent home for the museum, which was founded in 1991 as the first institution devoted to the Korean American community’s cultural heritage. Jae Min Chang, museum board vice chair, stated: “This building will stand as a vital institution for the millions of Korean Americans who have made this country their home, and will beautifully represent the strength and accomplishments of our community.”

The overall design for the two-storey structure is based on the idea of a lifted, displaced landscape - a piece of Korea grafted onto Los Angeles - containing the museum within. A sculptural roof garden and terrace crown the building with plants iconic to the Korean landscape, including maple, pine, and bamboo. Beneath the roof garden, the museum follows the classic courtyard plan of a traditional Korean Hanok, which considers a house in relation to its surroundings. The building encircles a central open space with a fluid, interconnected ring of galleries, meeting rooms, and offices. The museum’s street presence is defined by greenery and a patterned façade featuring a traditional Korean motif.

The architectural team are led by predominately Korean and Korean American designers under the direction of Morphosis founder Thom Mayne and Eui-Sung Yi, a partner at the firm and project principal for the Korean American National Museum. “This museum honours the sacrifices and hardships of our parents and grandparents while showcasing the fruits of those sacrifices: the accomplishments of future generations. We aimed to reflect this sentiment in our design,” said Eui-Sung Yi.

The museum is scheduled to break ground in 2020, with projected completion in 2022.

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

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