PAF Architecture’s proposal for the 2004 international Seoul Performing Arts Center design competiton is a dramatic and memorable architectural landmark for the city. Inspired by the creativity and story-telling of the performing arts, the building’s design presents its own narrative about the unique qualities of the proposed building site, surrounding Hangang River, the building’s function, and the city.
The design narrative was informed foremost by the site – Noduel Island – and the many trees covering the island. Resilient and hardy in floodwaters, the trees are the only permanent structures on the island. The design of this landmark structure honors the enduring quality of the surrounding island trees.
The building’s design is an abstraction of a deciduous island tree. The tree-as-metaphor concept informs the structure’s form and internal circulation. Monumental heartwood fly galleries support cantilereved House seating. A centralized lightwell with stairway functions similarly to a tap root – with secondary circulation paths branching outward below, to capture visitors to the building – and above to distribute the visitors to stage seating.