SNU ∣ Leeum Samsung Museum of Art ∣ 03


For the 3rd field trip, we went to a Art museum called 'Leeum Samsung Museum of Art' (삼성미술관리움) which is located near a famous place called 'Itaewon' (이태원).


Notice: Unfortunately due to regulations, I was not able to get photographs of the Art works and the interior of the museum. 


Outside the Museum I was able to see some sculptures which exhibited the sense that the showroom for the gallery was extended to outside as well. This was similar to the iconic building in Ssamziegil where the boundary of spaces is ambiguous.

Since I was not able to take photos, I made a small video clip introducing the Leeum Museum. (This video was created to compliment the presentation for Korean Architecture and Urbanism class).


The overall structure of the museum was quite interesting. I was actually surprised that Samsung owned a museum. I knew Samsung was operating in lots of variety of market areas, but I have never knew that they would run a museum.

One of the interesting feature of the architecture of museum is that, although there seems to be an ambiguous boundary between the interior and the exterior for exhibiting the artwork, there seems to be a very clear distinction as the whole museum is divided into 3 sections. Each of the sections was designed by each different architects, all from outside Korea.



Entrance of Leeum Museum. Source:


The picture above shows the entrance of the museum. As you can see, the architectural design of this museum is very modern and somehow luxurious as well. The window panels portrays the modern styling of the building, which is complemented by the effective use of the wood. This, I think is the perfect portrayal of architecture design of the 21st century. 



Museum lobby. Image source:


As I expected, the interior of the museum was very modern and luxurious, covered with glossy floors and ambient light filling the space. I really like the material used to build the building, as it portrays the luxurious vibe. This sense of luxury is what I really like and thrive for to achieve in my designs as well.


There was actually one thing which was unique about this museum.


The Spiral Space in the middle of the lobby. Image Source:

The spiral space in the middle. Image Source:


As shown in the two of the pictures above, there is a huge space penetrating the ceiling to the final floor in the middle of the lobby. This creates a connection between each of the floors to the lobby on the first floor, which emphasizes the relationship between each of the floors and the lobby. This design is extremely unique and I personally like the how it allows people to travel through each floor with this feeling that all the floors are connected. In addition, it also allows users to travel each floor without any problem, having to move each floor by just using an ordinary stairs. Instead, this design allows the user to travel any of the floors seamlessly.

Personally, I think this design accomplishes a large number of factors which makes the design and the functionality of the museum praisable. First is the visual impact of the design which allows the audience to feel each of the floors to be interrelated to each of the floor, including the lobby, Second is the seamless experience offered by the stairs as the user can travel to any of the stairs directly inside the building without any interruption of traveling to each floor one at the time. This almost feels like an fire exit or an emergency stairs, but with better design.

However, one of the cons to this space is that I do not like the design. Even the outside of this structure looks antique and old. What I mean by old is that the architecture style looks like as if it is from the 1800s or 1900s. It could just be me saying this, but this is my honest opinion about the external structure which creates this space. I also do not fully appreciate the internal visual design of the spiral stair case. I want to give credit that the stairs itself is a kind of art form, while having a functionality as well, since not many stairs can portray itself as an art form , while be able to function as a stair as well. But, I personally don't like the design. It doesn't really look modern, or rather say professional. Instead, it looks like the mid 1900s design which has playful vibe to it. Of course, this is just my personal opinion of the design.



Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art. Image Source:


In conclusion, the Leeum Museum's architecture has very interesting designs and atmosphere. However, I think there seems to be some kind of inefficiency to the design as there were three architect working to design this building, each of them with different style and concept, which I think led to this unique feature of this building.



Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art