Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Ahnjungguen Memorial Hall in Seoul, Korea by D•Lim Architects
April 6th, 2014 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: D•Lim Architects
Ahn Jung-geun was a Korean independence activist, nationalist, and pan-Asianist. The Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall, rebuilt after the old one was demolished in 2009, is nestled in a small plaza behind the original building. Next to the site are the remnants of an old war shrine where Japanese people worshipped their warlords and spirits during the colonial era. Having dug up the age-old reminder of disgrace and humiliation, the new building for Ahn Jung-geun (1879-1910), a patriot and martyr, stands triumphantly over the site.
The new memorial hall is configured as a cluster of 12 columns that shoot up from the sunken base. The number 12 symbolizes the unsung heroes of Dongeui Danjihoe ― a secret society whose name roughly translates into the Society of Patriots ― that was originally organized by Ahn. The members severed their little fingers in 1909 in a demonstration of their loyalty and determination to the underground liberation movement. The 12 massive columns stand tall, like spirit tablets, towering over the old site of the war shrine.
The building creates bright, diverse spaces inside the 12 luminous “boxes.” The translucent outer layer enables the scenery lighting to come from the building itself and helps maintain the symbolic significance of the commemorative hall. After viewing the final exhibition room, visitors are led to the exterior of the building through the southern staircase, which provides a fine view of the Han River.
Sustainable design integration
The Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall is surrounded by 40-foot tall trees in Mt. Nam which is located in the center of Seoul. It is perfectly cube-shaped to be as compact as possible and half of its volume is below the ground level, which avoids being taller than trees around. Even if the site is exposed in the hillside of the mountain, the building is energy-efficiently nestled in the ground.
The skins of the building are double-layered. In the assembly hall, polycarbonate panels are installed with 600mm spacing from double U-shaped glass to keep inside temperature stable as well as to bring natural light in. Water in the perimeter of the site is falling down to the sunken floor in summer, which cools down the building around. A three-storied void space is placed in the center of the building with a retractable skylight, which allows day light in and the building to be naturally ventilated in and out.
Young Lim AIA, LEED AP, Ph.D
Sun Kim RA
Lim and Kim, co-head of D·LIM, an architectural group in Korea, received several architectural awards such as Korean Architecture Award(2012), Seoul Architectural Award (2010), Young Architect Award (2010), and “Best 7” Award from KIA (2011). Their major projects are She’smedi Hospital, Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall, P&P Tower, KIM’s House, H&M Donggyo, and Stardom office. Lim, a professor at Hongik University and a registered architect in Pennsylvania, is responsible for creative design. Kim holds a master’s degree in project management from Harvard University and is responsible for the execution of projects. She is a registered architect in Korea.
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