THE SEOUL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER,   Nodeul Island, Seoul, South Korea

THE SEOUL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, Nodeul Island, Seoul, South Korea

Architecture has now progressed beyond the idea of seeking environmentally friendly  solutions and energy efficient buildings. It is becoming aware of its power to evoke emotions that may lead to а life more appreciative of nature. We use architecture to influence perceptions provoking a revelation of nature's immense diversity and complexity .

Designing a whole island is a great challenge and a huge responsibility. It is like creating a new city - a blend of old knowledge and new technologies.  The Island of Nodeul is situated in the heart of Seoul and its future appearance should signify a new landmark - a vision that should correspond to the nature of music and arts. A union of modern and classical, functional and irrational, spiritual and materialistic, romantic and technological.





Heaven, Fire, Water and Earth. These four elements – the symbols on the Korean flag -are so much around us that we sometimes forget about their actual power. Now, we take these strongest forces of Nature and use them as building materials. Directly or through metaphoric equivalents - they are integrated in the design of the Performing Arts Center:

The island itself symbolizes Earth.

Heaven – represented by the spacious interiors, covered with transparent dome-like ceiling structures. 

Water is used as a main component of the design concept – the whole island is surrounded by one of the kind, 50 meters high, dynamically changing water figures resembling giant leaves. Each one has a slim metal-frame "skeleton" overlaid by sparkling water "skin". A computerized  system synchronizes thousands of nozzles and valves situated inside the metal frames to transform water into all possible shapes and create the most fascinating effects – from water curtains and jet flows, to tiny drops, bubbles and vapor, snowflakes and ice sculptures…

Multi-colored lights, projected onto these 3D water screens create an amazing impression, resembling a burning Fire, the fourth element. 





Besides the aesthetic and symbolic value of the high-rise water structures, they play an important practical  role - providing an independent microclimate for the whole island.  They are not only a filter for negative climate aspects  but  significantly reduce dust and noise coming from the city as well. All of this is achieved by using the power of The Hangang River as a natural conditioner





In addition - there are several energy-saving solutions integrated in the design of the building:

- use of light reflecting surfaces
- structural insulation and special heat resistant materials for the roof panels
- natural ventilation system in the building
- smart lamella system
- use of deflected daylight in the interiors
- passive solar cooling for offices and open areas
- shade walls of overhanging vegetation





Creating a provocative bionic appearance for the Performing Arts Center and surrounding it with a fairy tale – colorful, leaf-like water structures - reveals our ecological and symbolic intentions for the project, as well as our striving for an amazing interior of the whole island.

The Seoul Performing Arts Center is a great challenge towards the progressive and cosmopolitan face of Seoul, looking both to the roots of tradition and to future horizons. A new cultural symbol that can be described with two adjectives – mystical and technological.





© 2005 R. Bekirova, S. Stefanov

Architectural planning

Public building
Conceptual project / International competition project
total area:
25 000.00 sq. m