The skyline of modern Seoul is a real mix of styles and eras, ranging from low rise neighbourhoods filled with historical houses, to state-of-the-art skyscrapers, retail and commercial complexes that all but ensure this metropolis lives up to its reputation as one of the most connected and modern urban hubs in the world. Among this melange of architectural expressions, Swiss architect Davide Macullo was tasked with creating a new mixed use art space in the district of Gangnam.

‘WAP Art Space is the synthesis of the values of Korean culture, a culture that considers carefully its gestures, both physical and social and reveals in them expressions of civility, establishing a balance for man in his natural context,’ says Macullo. ‘Building today in the metropolitan city of Seoul gives us the opportunity to restore the built volumes to a human scale, giving it an expression that binds it to the necessities of contemporary living.’

The gallery’s expressive form looks sophisticated and intriguing against modern Seoul’s skyline. Photography: Yousub Song

The WAP Art Space scheme encompases a strong cultural element, in the form of an gallery that shows contemporary works within clean, white minimalist interiors that are filled with light through the structure’s large openings. A residential wing is included, but tucked away from the public aspect of the building, towards its top, to ensure privacy. 

The building’s striking form was created as a three-dimensional composition of stacked concrete boxes, arranged using an orthogonal cubic grid of two metres for each side. 

Both the context and use of the building didn’t come without their complexities, but having the right client was key to the project’s success, says Macullo. ‘This work results from a close collaboration between the architect and an enlightened client capable of assimilating and encouraging architectural choices motivated by reasons that generate forms,’ confirms the studio. ‘An extraordinary passion has bound us throughout the years of the project, reaching a synthesis expressed by the completed work.’ §