The basic concept of the new museum is to reinterpret the traditional architectural spirit of Korea in a contemporary way. An open plaza connects the museum’s two main wings, making them appear to be one grand building. The open plaza is designed to evoke maru (wooden floor), an architectural element unique to Korea. Open to all visitors, the plaza serves as a gateway to every point in the museum, including the exhibition halls, the special exhibition gallery, and the staff offices.
Mountains and water are indispensable aspects of the Korean environment. Like yin and yang, mountains and water coexist as elements of harmony and balance, and together they generate prosperity and stability. In accordance with traditional Korean architecture, the NMK building is located deep within its lot, far from the boundaries. The museum faces south, with mountains behind and water in front.
At the core of the museum’s architecture is a harmonious arrangement of the central pond, the outdoor exhibition area, and the main facility. The natural scenery of Yongsan Family Park provides a graceful setting for the NMK building. Waterfalls, streams, and green areas have been cultivated to create a useful and refined cultural space.
A secondary gate has been planned on the north side of the National Museum of Korea in conjunction with the ongoing development of the Yongsan area and the planned relocation of the nearby US military base. The gate will be part of the central axis of Seoul and will make the National Museum of Korea the center of the first museum complex in Korea.