Jeongok museum, Korea
The prehistoric Acheulean axe can be seen as a mother of all human tools and handcraft. The new building for Gyeonggi-do Jeongok Prehistory Museum is a tribute to this chain of development. The sculptural wooden solid that rises from the hillside can be seen as a metaphor of a manually carved object the first man produced with his axe. The tools have developed but the human intention to protect and remember remains the same.
The main entry from the southwest is defined by a small scale entry plaza and the sculptural geometry of the building. The small valley between the two hills becomes the starting point of the different walking tours to the excavation sites. The pedestrian walkway is bordered by a forest. The parking areas are located on the western side of the site. The different parking areas are divided into smaller lots with softening fields of flowers.
One enters the building through a low entryhall into the central space of the building. This is the main exhibition hall. It is defined by vertically cut massive Basalt stone wall. The wall itself can be seen as an exhibit and it is present on all levels of the building. This space is used as a changing forum for the changing exhibitions.
The permanent exhibition is placed on two levels. There are two different types of exhibition spaces: The larger exhibition halls on the riverside and the cavelike vertical spaces carved into the hill. The spaces are placed on both sides of the vertical cut and they can be reached by small bridges across the hall. The larger exhibition halls consits of perfectly controlled exhibition environment with artificial lighting and controlled humidity. The top lit cavelike spaces on the other side present the visitors with the athmosphere of prehistoric excavations.
The top floor serves as a social activity point. There are the educational facilites, administration and the panorama café. Some of the excavations can be seen from this top floor level. There is a direct access to the excavation tour paths from this level. The path along the excavations will be defined by sculptural wooden constructions for observation points and possible shelters for ongoing excavations.
The material palette and detailing of the building is minimal. The facades consist mainly of rough vertical wooden boards. On the top floor the large windows are covered with vertical wooden trellis for sun protection and solid appearance. The main entry is a calm glass surface.