OMA’s underground campus chosen for extension to Seoul’s Hongik university

Images courtesy of OMA
Dutch firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) has been chosen to design the extension of an urban campus for Hongik University in Seoul.

The college, a private facility focusing on art and design, was built in the 1950s on the slopes of the Wau mountain. In 2023 the Seoul Metropolitan Government allowed the university to expand into a field at the foot of the mountain. The extension will be built below ground level, and its roofs will form paths sheltered by trees.

Sloping outdoor courtyards cascade downwards and allow light into the campus, linking the buildings in unexpected ways and forming a continuous outdoor space.

The buildings are organised into interconnected clusters. These include laboratories near to the engineering faculty, and amenities, creative spaces and an art centre occupying the central buildings. This will also be a multipurpose learning area along the perimeter.

Chris van Duijn, a partner in OMA, said: “This is a project that shies away from conventional labels: it is a building, a masterplan and landscape design all at once.

“It purposely avoids to stand out and invites to be discovered gradually. In doing so, it aims to reestablish the connection the university once had with the neighbourhood.”

Ravi Kamisetti, an associate, said: “We have designed a campus that lets itself be ‘contaminated’ with some of the energy, spontaneity and creativity of the Hongdae neighbourhood.”

OMA’s design was chosen over bids from Herzog & de Meuron, Renzo Piano and David Chipperfield Architects.

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