The proposal by MAA-Melike Altinisik Architects + BAUM Architects + Aliveus Landscape for the 2nd Sejong Performing Arts Center has been shortlisted. The urban design strategy for THE SPARK, the 2nd Sejong Performing Arts Center, focuses on creating a cultural complex that becomes a landmark in the city’s heart, fusing nature and culture into a harmonious community space. THE SPARK, located at the corner of Yeouido Park, is surrounded by the Han River on the northeast side and connects waterside public activities to the southwest. Its purpose is to preserve the existing ecosystem while providing a venue for urban cultural events adjacent to Seoul’s international financial district.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has unveiled the five winning designs from the international architectural planning and design competition for the Yeouido Park 2nd Sejong Performing Arts Center. The winning designs were submitted by MAA-Melike Altinisik Architects + BAUM Architects + Aliveus Landscape, Durig AG, DMP Architects + Viron, Heerim Architects, and Zaha Hadid Architects + ULD Studio. Overall, their respective visions meet the requirements of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The competition aims to transform Yeouido Park from a residential area into a cultural center, with the winning project focusing on the river and enhancing urban functions.
THE SPARK’s design philosophy is distinguished by synthesizing the natural landscape, waterscape, cultural scape, and cityscape. It prioritizes cultural and natural values to create an eco-friendly complex harmonizing with its surroundings. The design provides multiple access points to diverse cultural landscapes, allowing continuous visual and natural circulation.
People can now freely traverse the semi-covered Urban Passage and the Elevated Plaza between the separated cultural buildings on the ground level from all directions. This proposal creates a new public plaza by constructing elliptical ring-shaped pedestrian bridges between Waterside and Yeouido Park. These pedestrian bridges serve as observation platforms for visitors to experience a new type of journey in the heart of Seoul, with breathtaking views of the Han River, the Financial District, and Yeouido Park. The bridges facilitate movement and become an integral design element contributing to the Cultural Complex’s sustainable environmental role.
The cultural complex consists of five separate structures: the Grand Performance Hall (2000 seats), the Medium Theatre (700 seats), the Museum & Exhibition, and the Education & Management buildings, all centrally located to form THE SPARK. These buildings share a basement level with underground parking for approximately 450 vehicles, providing convenient access to concert halls, parks, and other facilities for visitors.
The design of the ground floors of the buildings facing the Urban Passage fosters interaction between public outdoor areas and indoor spaces, thereby enhancing pedestrian connections between the Han River, Yeouido Park, and the Financial Center. The Elevated Plaza (+6.00) is designed to extend the park as a sloping hill and observation platform towards the Han River, City, and Park, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to experience nature, culture, and architecture under one roof.
The Grand Performance Hall and the Medium Theatre Hall are positioned strategically on the northeast side, directly facing the Han River. Simultaneously, the Museum & Exhibition and Education & Management buildings face Yeouido Park on the southwest side. Along the Urban Passage and Elevated Plaza levels, art shops, cafes, and restaurants are arranged to promote public gatherings and increase time spent within the cultural complex. Grand Performance Hall and Medium Theatre feature rehearsing rooms, restaurants, cafes facing the Han River, and observation terraces from which visitors can view Seoul from above.
THE SPARK is envisioned as a cultural hub for the community, providing various performing arts, exhibitions, museums, festivals, concerts, and other venues. It serves as a symbol for the city, gives citizens ownership of public spaces, and contributes to Seoul’s cultural and social fabric. The addition of the urban passage, elevated plaza, and pedestrian bridges enhances the overall experience for visitors. Further, it solidifies THE SPARK’s position as the central landmark of the Cultural Complex.
On September 8, 2023, the five teams selected in the first phase gave a public presentation at Seoul City Hall. In the third quarter of 2024, preliminary procedures, such as the central investment review, will be completed, and the design competition for the second phase will be announced. In the first half of 2025, the second Sejong Performing Arts Center International competition winner will be announced.