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NO.317 04.03.2017

History, Tradition, and Vision: New Kyung Hee Campus Embodies


The first phase of the campus development project “Space21” is nearing completion in the first half of 2017.

On the Seoul Campus, new buildings for the Colleges of Korean Medicine, Science, Nursing Science, and the “Happy Dormitory” will be finished by the end of June 2017. On the Global Campus, the main Sports Complex will be completed in April 2017. This series will take an in-depth look at the main components of the Space21 Phase One until the end of the project. In the third installment of the series, today’s focus is on the new college buildings on the Seoul Campus.



Available-terrain design befitting a nature-friendly campus
The Seoul Campus is located on the slope of Gohwang-Mountain and has an end-to-end grade variance: the campus is on a considerable incline. Instead of artificially flattening the ground, however, the Space 21 architectural design embraces the terrain feature by blending buildings seamlessly into the landscape. The new buildings set to be finished in June 2017 are part of a major reorientation of the Seoul Campus that removed old grand stadium and amphitheater. The new buildings for the Colleges of Korean Medicine, Science, and Nursing Science will repurpose the lot vacated by the old grand stadium. A new concourse lawn will be built where the amphitheater used to be. These buildings are conceived from the beginning as modern, nature-blended structures that are seamlessly in harmony with both the terrain and the existing buildings, with a strong design emphasis on the theme of openness and candor. Tracing the natural flow of the grade of the site, a walk starting from the new concourse to the buildings would lead to atriums, inner lawns, and a big plaza served by staircases and rooftop gardens. The chief architect Hyunho Lee said, “We wanted to preserve the distinctive balance between history, tradition, and vision of Kyung Hee that is such a unique and cherished trait of the current campus. While retaining the green space and the classical ambience that flows from the Main Library, the University Administration Building, and the Grand Peace Hall, we added an air of youthful brightness and freedom.”

Unbound openness, accentuated by a colonnade, between nature and structure
The two new buildings are ten-story structures with three underground levels with a gross floor area of 46,211㎡. One of the main design themes is “friendliness” in that the buildings do not appear domineering or threatening, while emphasizing diversity in shapes, contours, and colors. Architect Lee added, “We intended to give the buildings a multifaceted look that changes depending on the vantage of the people looking at them. To give an illusion of discontinuity, the lower parts of the buildings utilize colonnades and podiums that have a different architectural grammar from the upper parts, making them appear as two different buildings. This effectively reduced the visual footprint of the building exterior from the approaching pedestrian’s perspective, and the open blending of the available flora in the lower part would blur the line between nature and structure.” 


The colonnade in the lower part will echo the classical architectural language the Seoul Campus is famous for, and staircases will connect buildings to accentuate the discontinuity. These open spaces will serve as an inviting venue for conversation, discussion, and respite for the Kyung Hee community. 


From the designing stage, all new buildings on the Seoul Campus have gone through series of public hearings, town hall meetings, and opinion polls to incorporate actual needs and wants of the Kyung Hee community, up to 22 times respectively for each college moving into the new buildings. After the construction began, the “Space21 Ombudsman Committee” composed of the representatives of students, faculties, and university administrative staffs was launched to share all relevant information on the process of the construction and the financial support.

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