“Chaos is the law of nature; Order is the dream of man.” Henry Adams
The proposal for the new Korean Museum of Urbanism and Architecture in Sejong embraces its location within the National Museum Complex Master Plan vision as the space designated to represent Human Ecology. In our project, we aim to re-address Human Ecology by exploring ways to intensify the relationship between humans and their natural, social, and built environments.
As humans we find ourselves trying to make sense of our surroundings by attempting to bring order to the magnificent and incomprehensible chaos of the natural world. For centuries architects have dreamed and endeavored to produce a rational order that could provide intellectual relief by overlaying a predictable, rational process over nature. Many have contributed to the dream – Vitruvius, Alberti, Palladio, Le Corbusier – in an attempt to bring about a “satisfaction of a spiritual order that would lead to the pursuit of ingenious and harmonious relationships”1.
However, our pursuit for a rational, measurable and civilized world has resulted in a progressive separation from nature and often, somewhat paradoxically, from each other. “We have encased ourselves in controlled environments called buildings and cities….knowing any particular place and its regenerative rhythms and prospects only slightly” and suffering what can be described as a “deprivation of ecstasy”2. To the point where “we find ourselves strangers in a world of our own making”2 finding it difficult to relate to each other, nature and the very built spaces we have created.
In addition to these considerations, the spirit of our times, our Zeitgeist, is governed by undeniable worldwide social hardship, an impending climate crisis and, more recently, a global health challenge. This represents a uniquely momentous time in which our buildings can be active agents to assist us in reconsidering our relationship to nature, to the built environment and to each other thereby generating, perhaps, a deeper and more meaningfully engaging Human Ecology.
This proposal for new Korean Museum of Urbanism and Architecture will attempt to strengthen the relationship between its visitors and the natural, social and built environments that are part of the Museum. We aim to establish a dialog between these environments by making it purposely difficult to detect where architecture ends and landscape begins, and by blurring the lines between interior and exterior ensuring the visual and physical continuity of the museum with the rest of the National Museum Complex.