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Seoul Science Center

Development Type: Other

Type Of Developer: Public Sector

Start Year: 2014

Address: 160, Hangeulbiseok-ro, Nowon-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea (01792)


Contributor: audex


Location Description
Located at a distance of 1 km by road from Hagye Station. Bulam Mountain is located directly to the north and east. Chungsuk Park is located to the south. All green spaces in the direction except the west. Elementary, middle, and high schools, welfare centers, and residential buildings are located in the west. Children's parks and neighborhood parks are located between apartments, perhaps because they are close to natural green areas such as mountains. Jungnangcheon Stream is located 1.5km southwest of the city. Located between residential and green areas rather than industrial centers. Nowon-gu Residents' Description: Located in an area where relatively few people travel in Nowon-gu, the walking paths are well established and the buildings are beautiful.

Case Report


The Seoul Science Museum was designed to create a space where citizens can actively use buildings and inspire dreams of science in children and adolescents by making them familiar with science. Through this, it was constructed in Bulam Mountain Urban Nature Park, Nowon-gu, to bridge the scientific and cultural gap, lead the popularization of science, and promote balanced development of the country. The building had the goal of creating a green roof, green building, and green community. Through the rooftop garden, Bulam Mountain Urban Nature Park and the science museum realized a green roof in a way that minimizes natural damage by having natural flows. Green building was realized by actively including renewable energy such as solar energy and geothermal heat, utilizing storm water, and performing eco-friendly buildings through the use of excellent insulation. In addition, the inside and outside exhibition spaces were connected to the surrounding promenade and rooftop garden, creating a green community space where education and rest are continuous. Under the keyword "Link," the nature of Bulam Mountain was brought into the site to maintain the flow of green land, and open space was created to obtain community space for various events to draw cultural connections, and outdoor exhibition space was created on the front of the site to be accessible. Mass was created in the form of an infinite ring with the meaning of people, nature, and science integrating into one. The building, which has a sense of openness through the central hall of the high ceiling, can be accessed from the square through the promenade. And it also can be seen as having a more dynamic path through skip floors, outdoor stairs, and ramps.

Development Info.

Development Scale: Building

Total Development Cost: 42,349,000,000 won (standard 2014-2016)

Total Land Area: 25,563m2

Total Development Area: 4,745m2

Area Type: Urban Area - Urban Residential Area

Start Date: 2014/01/13

Opening Date: 2017/05/19

Planning Approval: July 22, 2011 Signed a business agreement

Lead Developer: Seoul Metropolitan Government and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

Consultants: Experts related to the operation of the science museum, science teachers, working-level officials of the science museum, etc.


Economic Context

- The budget for the establishment of the Gangbuk Seoul Science Museum is 47 billion won, which is difficult to establish an international-level science museum. - Increase financial independence by increasing the revisit rate of local residents and visitors. - Operation costs are reduced by commissioning the Special Exhibition Room

Social Context

- In comparison nationwide, the lack of scientific and cultural infrastructure in Seoul, where cultural facilities are concentrated, especially in Gangbuk-gu. - Providing opportunities for scientific experience education through the settlement and spread of scientific culture in the Gangbuk-gu. - Necessity of relocating the Science Museum due to the Cultural Heritage Administration's request for the partial site return of the Seoul National Science Museum for the restoration of Changgyeonggung Palace - The concentration rate of the population in Seoul is high, and the distribution of middle and high school students and parents' age groups is concentrated. - Educational institutions are concentrated, but cultural facilities are relatively scarce. - It is possible to develop programs linking education and culture by locating apartment complexes and several educational and cultural facilities within a 2km radius. - Changes in the function of the Science Museum: The trend of moving from a 'view exhibition' with a museum character to an 'experience exhibition' in which visitors participate. - Establishment of a science and culture belt centered on Line 4 of Nowon Station, Hyehwa Station, Shinyongsan Station, and Seoul Grand Park Station. - Creative experience activities are encouraged as the five-day school week system has been implemented since 2012.

Environmental Context

- Need for local science museums specialized in Seoul, Gyeonggi, and northern regions. - Nowon-gu is less accessible in downtown Seoul, but as the center of the northeastern region, residents of northeastern Seoul and northern Gyeonggi-do Province are more accessible. - Public transportation is inconvenient because Line 7 is 1km away and there is only one bus that passes directly through the target area (as of 2015). - In Nowon-gu, 62.6% of the total area is natural green areas. (Average green area ratio in Seoul : 41.3%). - The western Nowon-gu is mainly low-lying areas, and the eastern and northern Nowon-gu is located in Bulam Mountain and Suraksan Mountain. - Jungrang stream flows along the border between Nowon-gu and Dobong-gu, the west area of Nowon-gu. - Approximately 40% of the site is steep slopes with a gradient of 15 degrees or higher. - Most of the destinations are rocky areas.

Historical Context

The Seoul National Science Museum is the first science museum in Korea and serves as the center of the national science museum.

The Plan

Pre-planning Efforts

- Examples of preparation for the opening of the Gwangju National Science Museum and use of empty spaces - A study of educational programs through the operation case of the Gwacheon National Science Museum - A study of visitor experience programs through the Tinkering Studio case in San Francisco Exploratorium. - Training case of Science Communicator at Future Science Museum in Japan - Separation of exhibition and management at the National Daegu Science Museum and Gwangju Science Museum - Examples of content-intensive organizational composition in Seoul children's museum. - Status of operation of infinite class programs nationwide

Vision Statement

Creating Science Theme Town in Nowon-gu, Establishing Science and Culture Line 4 Source : A Study on the Operation Plan of the Seoul Science Museum (2015)

Goals and Objectives

- Creating a science theme town in Nowon-gu, Seoul Metropolitan Science Museum - Forming an image of a specialized area centered on science and culture by linking the operation and programs of science and culture-related facilities in Nowon-gu with the Seoul Science Center as a hub. - Overcoming limitations of scale by operating in conjunction with nearby science and cultural facilities, universities, and research institutes. - Maximize the convenience and satisfaction of visitors by providing integrated services. - It has established itself as a representative brand in the northeastern part of Seoul and is expected to revitalize Gangbuk scientific and cultural facilities. - Establishment of a science and culture belt symbolizing Seoul's science and technology - Nowon Station → Hyehwa Station → Shin Yongsan Station → Seoul Grand Park Station Line 4 is connected to Hyehwa-dong National Science Museum and Gwacheon National Science Museum starting with Seoul Science Center. - Creating North and South belts symbolizing the science culture of Seoul by investing and connecting science-related facilities and resources centered on science and culture routes. Source : A Study on the Operation Plan of the Seoul Science Museum (2015)

Issues and Problems

- Improvement measures are needed as space operation efficiency problems are feared due to architectural designs that do not take into account the exhibition. - The surrounding area adjacent to the target area is a restricted area for development, and most of the land is designated as private land, accompanied by restrictions on activities in the process of changing the shape of the land and securing space by logging bamboo trees. - It is separated by a six-lane, 30-meter-road from nearby residential complexes, and is blocked by the outer wall of apartments, limiting the accessibility of citizens. - It is located in the northeastern part of Seoul and has a disadvantage in location, and is also weak inaccessibility due to its low connection with public transportation. - The subway station 1 km in 21 minutes on foot with mobile access to other regions, and a movement, which is a shortage of possible modes of transport. - Although it should be targeted for all Seoul citizens through municipal facilities, there is a need to set the direction of operation as a science center in the northeastern part of Seoul considering local conditions. - Education programs of cultural facilities around Nowon-gu operated after-school classes and living science classes based on simple experiments and production experiences, which lacked differentiation from other institutions' programs. In addition, most of the programs are one-time programs, and the camp-type industry-academic linkage programs are just research institute tours and field trips, high-tech equipment, and equipment experiences. - It is impossible to hire many professionals due to budget issues such as labor costs. - Lack of parking space

Benchmark Projects

Gwangju National Science Center Gwacheon National Science Center Daegu National Science Center Seoul children's museum American Exploratorium Future Science Center in Japanese

Public Engagement Strategy

A survey was conducted on students, teachers, and residents around schools and subway stations near the target site to set the basic concept of operating the science museum.

Financing Strategy

Profits are generated through admission fees, parking fees, special exhibitions, rental fees, education fees, etc.

Existing Community and Residents

- In order for the science museum to take root as a regional science and culture center, programs need to be developed and specialized as project-type programs in cooperation with local schools and residents in order to strengthen programs linked to local resources and cultural facilities. - It is necessary to open convenience facilities and outdoor spaces of the science museum to provide cultural and rest areas for local residents to use.

Phasing Strategy

Movement Strategy - You can watch it step by step so that you can feel like you're walking on a promenade around the center using skip floor-type down-top internal movements. Service Strategy - Operation of admission fees by age/number of persons by subdivision. PR strategy - Establish the name of the Seoul Science Center through the public offering before opening and promote the logo and symbol of the science museum through the decision. - Public relations through the achievements of masters of basic science or reenactment of anecdotes at the time of its opening. - Promotion of science festivals for middle and high school students in Nowon-gu and Seoul Metropolitan Government.

The Master Plan

- Apartments are concentrated across the road, minimizing friction with apartment residents and encouraging them to co-exist as a cultural space in the region after the construction of the science museum - The external shape of the science museum is a Möbius-shaped structure. - Located on the northwest side of the building's target area to facilitate access to external exhibition spaces and squares. - Science Square to the west of the science center, and the location of outdoor exhibitions, ecological ponds, and experience learning centers to the north. - Separation of vehicle movements in the south of the Science Museum and walking paths in the west. - A plan for layout and landscaping planting is required in preparation for landslides, etc.

Land Uses and Programs

Outdoor exhibition hall, Natural Park connected to Bulam Mountain, science center, parking lot, promenade, square, etc.

Timeline or Milestones

The study period for establishing a master plan : From 08/2011 to 11/2011 (3 months) Period of study on architectural design : From 12/2011 to 01/2013 (13 months) The research period for the basic design of exhibitions : From 07/2012 to 12/2012 (6 months) Research period to prepare a suitable operation plan for the status and role of the Seoul Science Center : From 07.09/2014 to 03.08/2015 (8 months) Construction period : From 01/2014 to 12/2016 Opening hours : 09:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily Closed every Monday (Closed Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday) Closed on January 1, New Year's Day, and Chuseok.

Current Status

It is a youth science museum, and many people come to look around the exhibition hall. Most families bring their young children, and students come to school for group tours or experimental classes. There are various programs for children, students and adults to participate in, and public lectures are held every week at Science Hall to confirm that they are actively used as a science museum.

Lessons Learned

What is the most important take away from this case?

- As it is a science museum, it needs a high ceiling like a gallery and a large exhibition space, but it seemed regrettable that the exhibition was designed long after the architectural design was completed. - When moving up and down half floors from the first floor in the inner circle, there was a gentle ramp with universal design, and the connection between the exhibition halls was very perfect for the general public, but the standard for the disabled seemed uncomfortable to travel on the ground floor.

Why is this case relevant today and for whom?

It is related to all children, teenagers, teachers, parents, ordinary people, experts, etc.

Which strategy was proved to be successful?

- The building mass is said to have shaped the band of Moebius, and it was good to see the internal movement connecting the exhibition hall naturally like water flows. - There was an opinion that they wanted to connect the rooftop garden with the mountain behind them, but it seemed to have been realized well because it was connected to the rooftop garden from the trail behind, although I could not actually visit the rooftop it due to Covid-19. - In front of the science center building, large squares and solar panels gathered to create a shade, and there was a small fountain, where many people gathered to make outdoor exhibitions look efficient.

In your opinion, what could have improved this project?

- If all the internal movements had been created with lamps, disabled people would have been able to watch it comfortably. - The back of the building was a natural green area, so it didn't seem to have been used to touch it to the minimum, but it would have been nice if the children had created a space to run on the soil. - Based on the center of the building, the movement line goes up to around the building, and it would have been more interesting to move if there were more attractions in the middle or on the wall. I walked down from the top floor again because the movement was fun, but I didn't go into the exhibition hall I had already seen, but I only used the movement line, and the way down to the first floor felt too long.

Any other comments?

- The building seemed to blend well depending on the surrounding environment, so the impression from the shape of the building was very big. - When I actually visited and watched the exhibitions, there were many scientific exhibitions that could be helpful for children and teenagers, and I hope that a lot of investment will be made to make better activities.


OFFLINE Resources and References

Seoul Science Museum pamphlet Korea Green Building Award 2017 Seoul Science Museum Major Business Report (2019.2) A Study on the Operation Plan of the Seoul Science Museum (2015)


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Contributor audex


AUDEX is an acknowledgement that we need to start building on our own knowledge and experiences that applies to Asian cities and, perhaps, we can steer the global urbanization in the right direction. We believe in a collective intelligence. Powered by the internet and the network of professionals and experts in Asia, we propose to start by making sharing your experience and knowledge easier.