2010 Seoul Architectural Awards
2011 Korean Institute of Architects Awards (Best 7)
The Ahn Jung-geun Memorial Hall is nestled around forest in the Mountain Nam where is located in the center of Seoul, Korea. 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 memorial hall is configured as a cluster of 12 masses 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 entrance leads visitors to the ramps situated one level below the surroundings. As the visitors walk onto the ramps, they will see Ahn’s legacy of handwriting works imprinted on the black wall on the right. The path stretches all the way to the back, where the main entrance is located. The walk is a long, serene journey connecting the present with the past. It serves as the conduit between times, as well as a link to the hall’s outdoor exhibition space. The attention of the visitors naturally moves from the real world to the memorial space and from the surrounding calligraphy through adjustment in level variation. Dedicated to Ahn Jung-geun, the exterior of this new facility is wrapped around in a consistently-textured, semi-opaque layer. Inside, there is an intriguing diversity of openings and closings, featuring various functions. Instead of favoring dark, dramatic spaces, 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 out over the city skyline, towards the Han River.