Asian Cultural Center



Gwangju, South Korea



City of Gwanju



23 acres | 9.3375 ha



527,500 sf | 49,000 sm



Cultural Center including gallery and exhibition areas, digital labs, performance venues, retail, auxiliary serves









Redefining the Urban Park Through the Lens of History and Culture


The government of the Republic of Korea intends to create facilities which will strengthen the cultural viability of Gwangju.   It looks to do so by formulating a strategic foothold in highlighting the latest culture and the arts through a new Cultural Center.  The role of this facility is to be the center for the production, exchange, consumption, and the research entity of culture, under the Asian culture umbrella.  It is to be understood as a ‘cultured space’ which encompasses the identity and regional characteristics of the city of Gwangju.  At the same time, it is to be known as a ‘space of culture’ which promotes and generates broader cultural activities.


Through the examination of ideologies and what could define an Asian Cultural Complex, we integrate and break down formal arrangements of expected program elements: environmental, research, production, educational, and consumption.  We focus on the expansion of the meaning of “cultural complex” as well as its function within today’s mega-culture.

Our investigation is centered on four concepts: (1) the integration of natural systems within architecture; (2) connection and bridging of programs; (3) interaction and interrelation the various ordering systems; (4) and the emblematic imagery of the Democratization Movement of 1980.


Our strategy creates a land-mat away from and around the existing historical context of the Jeonnam Provincial Office.  The creation of a new ‘front yard’ forms the Citizen’s Culture Park within the existing context.  Its plan develops out of a need rather than a predetermined urban strategy.   The platform forms the basis for the built environment and nature to coexist.  The plinth houses the more supportive functions of the facility with the main exhibition | performance spaces defined further above.  The solution develops out of an integration of the programmatic organization and urban/park typologies.  It is a hybrid land strategy that overlaps various constructs and ordering systems, giving less of a hierarchal relationship and more of an assemblage of various constructs.


The Asian Cultural Complex evolves the urban core of Gwangju and transforms it into a nexus of diverse, social, and interrelated activities.  This abstract framework, with its multiple references to the structure of the city is used as the departure point for this 21st century reinterpretation of culture.