Korean American National Museum Announces New Design by World-Renowned Morphosis Architects
The Board of Directors of the Museum unanimously voted to approve the new architectural designs presented by Morphosis Architects. Morphosis is the award-winning design firm headed up by Thom Mayne. The Museum project is being led by Principal Designer Eui-Sung Yi, with assistance from Sung Lim, Paul Choi, and Janice Kim, all with Morphosis.
The Museum is incredibly proud to be working with such a renowned firm and is especially thrilled that the design team comprised of Korean-American talent. This team has reframed the conversation of what this museum represents to our community and designed a building that speaks to our culture and lineage within a modern framework.
It was a difficult decision to move on from the Museum plans that included 107 rental apartments that the Board had been working with since the official announcement of the project back in 2014. The reasons for the change had to do with increased construction costs and the inclusion of prevailing wages. Those factors made the proposal unfavourable to the bottom-line, and it became clear that the increased costs would jeopardize the idea of building apartments to partially- fund the operations of the Museum.
Despite best efforts, the Board decided in November of 2018 to stop work on the multi-use project and to focus solely on building a world-class museum. Morphosis was brought in earlier this year to conceptualize a design. It became clear that to build a culturally significant and symbolic building within a modest budget it was necessary to decrease the size of the building. The mandate became for Morphosis to conceptualize a design no larger than 17,000sf that could be used as a free-flowing space.
The two-story museum is focused around a central courtyard, or “madang”. There are two gallery spaces, administrative space, educational/multi-use space, and archive storage space. The second-floor garden courtyard can also accommodate events and programs. The central courtyard can be accessed from the interior space and will allow museum events to incorporate the whole entirely of the first floor, thus allowing for larger events. There will also be one and a half levels of public parking.