‘Water Drop’ Museum Winner

Your Winner of the Week: Korean based architecture firm Archiplan for their first prize design of a contemporary art museum solely for the work of Korean painter Kim Tschang-Yeul. Actually, the big winner out of all of this is Kim. How cool is this: 1. an entire museum dedicated to your work and 2. the museum’s design is based off your work and philosophy. This makes the Michael Jordan statue outside the United Center seem tame.

It’s Archiplan‘s immersiveness to Kim’s work and philosophy to be reflected in the architecture that really resonated with me. You can sense that in their brief statement:

We spent a long time understanding [Kim] – understanding his life, intention and his philosophy. It is necessary to transform his philosophy into a constructed architectural space.

The biggest illustration of how Kim’s philosophy is reflected is how his paintings’ signature water drop is included in the center of the museum’s design. First, read Kim Tschang-Yeul‘s comments on the water drop:

The act of painting water drops is to dissolve everything inside them and return them to a state of nothing. When everything like anger, anxiety and fear is brought to the point of nothing, we experience a state of peace and comfort.

Firstly, this is true. Think back to a time when you conquered those emotions: anger, anxiety, and fear. Isn’t that first moment of peace a wonderful feeling? We can visualize this experience the next time we feel angry, anxious, or afraid and return sooner to a platform of peace, especially as we become more mindful of it in the present moment. Archiplan’s overall design embodies the concept in Tschang-Yeul’s quote.

The natural segue to the photos above and below where we can see that the water sits at the lowest level of the building with a courtyard surrounding it. The water’s location, and the substance itself are embellished through light and shadow, and thereby form Kim’s water drop.

Kim’s water drop exists through light and shadow. The water drop becomes the ‘giver,’ origin, and the void of the light and the darkness at the same time. The darkness is empty, though, it’s full of potentials for life. The courtyard of Light at the center of the museum is the most symbolic space, where the light constantly appears and disappears through an ambiguous boundary.

Via Archiplan

Via Archiplan

This additional quote from Archiplan further relates the deeper relationship between the water drop and the (to-be constructed) water drop:

While many marveled at the substance of the water drops set against canvas, only a few are able to recognize the water drop as merely a medium by which to reveal the surface. As the water drop reveals the surface as a medium, this museum also becomes a medium and abstracts the idea of returning to the mother earth.

Aside from the deeper meaning behind the design and Kim’s work, the plan for the water drop courtyard brought me back to a personal memory. In fact, this was the first thing I thought of upon discovering the lead image of the museum, and thankfully recalling this childhood experience reeled me in to see one of the greater design and philosophy unions I’ve resonated with in recent memory. Alas, it was The Sims — a game I played back in high school for a couple of reasons: to design cool houses and create my family with alternative career paths. For my dream house, I designed a swimming pool at the center of an outdoor courtyard on the first level and surrounded it with two stories — the second containing balconies jutting out over the pool. This was my version of the “water drop”, with the deeper meaning being the ability to let my Sim land 12-foot cannonballs from the second floor balcony. Fortunately, Archiplan’s “water drop” is of greater deeper meaning, ha!

h/t ArchDaily (more images here)