Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall

Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall, Seoul, South Korea, D.LIM Architects
Project year: 2010
Address: Jung-gu, Namdaemunno 5(o)-ga, 471-2, SEOUL, South Korea
Latitude/Longitude: 37.55384333780911,126.98052547342812


Ahn Jung-geun was a Korean independence activist, nationalist, and pan-Asianist. The Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall, rebuilt after the old one was demolished in 2009, is nestled in a small plaza behind the original building. Next to the site are the remnants of an old war shrine where Japanese people worshipped their warlords and spirits during the colonial era. Having dug up the age-old reminder of disgrace and humiliation, the new building for Ahn Jung-geun (1879-1910), a patriot and martyr, stands triumphantly over the site.

The new memorial hall is configured as a cluster of 12 columns that shoot up from the sunken base. The number 12 symbolizes the unsung heroes of Dongeui Danjihoe – a secret society whose name roughly translates into the Society of Patriots – that was originally organized by Ahn. The members severed their little fingers in 1909 in a demonstration of their loyalty and determination to the underground liberation movement. The 12 massive columns stand tall, like spirit tablets, towering over the old site of the war shrine.

The building creates bright, diverse spaces inside the 12 luminous “boxes.” The translucent outer layer enables the scenery lighting to come from the building itself and helps maintain the symbolic significance of the commemorative hall. After viewing the final exhibition room, visitors are led to the exterior of the building through the southern staircase, which provides a fine view of the Han River.

Sustainable design integration
The Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall is surrounded by 40-foot tall trees in Mt. Nam which is located in the center of Seoul. It is perfectly cube-shaped to be as compact as possible and half of its volume is below the ground level, which avoids being taller than trees around. Even if the site is exposed in the hillside of the mountain, the building is energy-efficiently nestled in the ground. The skins of the building are double-layered. In the assembly hall, polycarbonate panels are installed with 600mm spacing from double U-shaped glass to keep inside temperature stable as well as to bring natural light in. Water in the perimeter of the site is falling down to the sunken floor in summer, which cools down the building around. A three-storied void space is placed in the center of the building with a retractable skylight, which allows day light in and the building to be naturally ventilated in and out.

Text description provided by the architects.

Architect: Yeonghwan Lim + Sunhyun Kim (D·Lim Architects)
Project team: Sunyoung Hwang, Jihwan Kim, Seokwon Lee, Kyungtae Park, Hojun Song
Building area: 1,185.02m2
Gross floor area: 3,756.61m2
Structure engineering: Kyungjai Structural Engineers Co., Ltd.
Civil engineering: Saegil Engineering & Consulting Co., Ltd.
Mechanical engineering: ENG Energy Design Lab
Electrical engineering: Hitec Engineering Co.,Ltd
Lighting design: Well-light
Construction: Daewoo E&C

Contributed by D.LIM Architects