tadao ando inserts 'a space of light' into museum SAN's premises in south korea
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tadao ando inserts 'a space of light' into museum SAN's premises in south korea

Sep 05, 2023

The Space of Light, a meditation pavilion designed by Tadao Ando, was recently unveiled at the Museum SAN in Wonju, South Korea. A decade ago, Tadao Ando had already created the museum, nestled amidst the serene mountains of Wonju, South Korea. Today, the new addition marks Ando’s second meditation pavilion and the latest installment in his contemplative series.

The design aims to blend tranquility and minimalism, bringing together a dynamic fusion of light, concrete, sharp lines, and a connection with nature. ‘A space created to make people feel that they are always living together with nature,’ explains Ando. The resulting square structure is pierced with cross-shaped incisions on the roof, letting the rays of sunlight gently filter through. The cuts remain uncovered, allowing the elements to freely enter the space without any glass obstruction. ‘In the Space of Light, the light falls in directly from the sky, just like the Pantheon in Rome,’ says the architect. ‘I believe this has a significant impact. When you look at the light, there’s a feeling that touches the heart’.

all images by Museum SAN

The pavilion was built to celebrate the Museum SAN‘s tenth anniversary. Two imposing diagonal walls shape a narrow pathway, guiding visitors toward the entrance of the building. This design creates an inviting and meditative ambiance, encouraging exploration and self-reflection. Stepping onto the driveway, visitors find themselves in a triangular antechamber, devoid of a ceiling, where sunlight bathes the space, gently intertwining with the square building. As users pass through this area, the interior of the building, clad with exposed concrete, is revealed, and thin streams of sunlight cascade through the cross-shaped ceiling. The radiant light envelops the entire space, creating a sacred atmosphere.

The museum begins with a welcoming center and a grass parking lot along the trail. It further reveals the Flower Garden, Water Garden, Main Building, Meditation Hall, Stone Garden, and James Turrell Hall. Within the main building lies the architect’s philosophy of connecting the earth, sky, and people by integrating four wing structures, forming square, triangular, and circular spaces. Space of Light plays with stillness and motion, tension and openness, crafting an engaging experience for visitors. delicate cross-shaped cuts on the roof let the rays of sunlight gently pour in

As part of the anniversary celebrations, the main museum building is currently hosting an exhibition titled ‘Tadao Ando – Youth,’ which delves into Ando’s body of work. The exhibition includes a collection of 250 pieces representing various stages of Ando’s illustrious career. This marks the first time the architect’s creations are showcased within the space he designed himself.

two monumental walls build up a narrow pathway directing visitors to the entrance of the building within the square pavilion, visitors encounter the interplay of cross-shaped light

a dynamic fusion of light, concrete, and sharp lines

Tadao Ando inside the pavilion

project info:

name: The Space of Light

architects: Tadao Ando

location: Museum SAN in South Korea

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