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Kukje Gallery

  • Kujke Gallery
  • Kujke Gallery
  • Kujke Gallery
  • Kujke Gallery

After three years of design and construction, SO – IL, the Korean architectural studio of Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu, complete a space for Kukje Gallery, in the historic neighbourhood of Samcheong-ro in Seoul.

The new building greatly expands the gallery’s programming possibilities with the addition of a 16 x 9 x 6m day-lit gallery space, a 60-seat auditorium, offices and art storage spaces.

Small alleyways and courtyard houses characterise this neighbourhood, which is currently being infiltrated by newly constructed galleries, boutiques and coffee shop - considering the clear, diagrammatic, geometry of the white cube, too rigid within the historic fabric the building is enveloped in, a permanent “nebula”—a pliable chainmail veil.

The stainless steel mesh produces a layer of diffusion in front of the actual building mass, through a combination of multidirectional reflection, openness, and the moiré pattern generated through interplay of its shadows. An additional quality of the material is that it can stretch, thus avoiding creasing. It is strong, yet pliable, and can easily wrap around crude geometries.

The structure is a single-storeyed, clear-span, art space. The ground floor is used for large installations, performances and other functions, while the two sub-level floors house a sales room, a lecture space and storage areas. Circulation is pushed out to the edge of the building to maintain the pure geometry of the box. A perimeter skylight admits natural light. The light also emphasises the flexibility and fluid aesthetics of the PVC ceiling.

The architectural proposal resolves a perceived disjunction between the dynamism and boldness of Kukje Gallery’s organisation and artist roster, and the fragile historic fabric saturated by materials and details that surrounds the site. Studies led to a soft and ambiguous building that gently nestles itself into the site.

Architects | SO-IL, Seoul, South Korea 
Location | Seoul, South Korea
Technical info | Barrisol PVC Ceiling
Picture credits | Iwan Baan