Seoul National University Museum, Seoul
OMA - Office for Metropolitan Architecture 

Seoul National University Museum, Seoul

OMA - Office for Metropolitan Architecture 

Defined by its location on the side of a hill and close to the entrance to the university, the building’s form was conceived as a basic rectangular box, with a diagonal cut that adjusts to the incline of the hill. The form is then raised over a central core – the only point of contact with the ground – so the building is nearly all cantilever, following the topography and appearing to hover above it. The ground beneath is kept largely free, and becomes a conduit between the university campus and the outside community.

Outside and inside, free-flowing circulation was key to the thinking behind the building. The central core is an atrium with a square-spiral staircase linking the program areas: exhibition, education, library... The educational spaces – lecture hall and auditorium – exploit the slope for their tiered seating, and the library inhabits the structural core of the building. The exhibition space inhabits the entire top floor, but also invades the educational spaces below by means of a ramped circulation path. The materials used in these spaces – concrete flooring, plywood, translucent plastic over fluorescent lighting – signal the continuity in the program. The museum’s facade is also translucent, revealing the structural steel truss work beneath. 


Seoul National University Museum

Design Development

Partner-in-charge: Rem Koolhaas

Associate-in-charge: Kunle Adeyemi

Concept: Roberto Otero, Shiro Ogata, George Bucher

Schematic and Design development: Rodrigo Núñez, Jeremy Godenir, Camia Young, Steffi Wedde, Natacha Fricout, Daniela Zimmer, Antonis Karides, Rodney Eggleston with Minsuk Cho

Local Architect: Samoo Architects & Engineers

Structural Engineer: Arup

Landscape Consultants: Inside Outside, Petra Blaisse

Schematic Design 1997

Partner-in-charge: Rem Koolhaas,

Team: Minsuk Cho, Wim Eckert, Roberto Otero, Shiro Ogata, George Bucher, with Piet Eckert, Young Joon Kim, Anthony Fontenot, Philipp Oswalt, Tae Hong Park, Andreas Huhn, Rodrigo Patricio, Sabine Schaaf, Rob de Maat, Franz Blok, Don Weber, Pilar Armand-Ugón, Emese Barcosi, Matteo Poli, Isabel Silva, Isabel Casanellas

Architectural Technical Consultant: Jihyon Kim Architect

Structural & Mechanical Engineerings: Arup

Research & Development: Erik Schotte, Bill Price

Acoustical Engineering: TNO, Renz van Luxembourg

Lighting Consultant: Arup

Landscape Consultant: Samoo Architects & Engineers

Museology Consultant: Netherlands Architecture Institute, Martin Langerlaan


€ 7.7 million


4,478 m²: exhibition, education, library and operations


Philippe Ruault; Iwan Baan; OMA