Weiss/Manfredi in Korea

For the realisation of a building and a new large park for the practice of Taekwondo in Muju, Korea, the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation selected Weiss/Manfredi from an international list of competitors including Andres Perea Ortega, Sung-Yong Joh, Junsung Kim, Young Joon Kim, Chul Kong, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
Taekwondo Park will establish a dynamic gateway to the physical and philosophical world of Taekwondo and become an athletic and cultural destination for 70 million practitioners from around the world. Weiss/Manfredi’s design for Taekwondo Park celebrates the history and culture of Korea, the principles of Taekwondo, and the site’s dramatic topography. Nestled within the mountainous landscape, an arena, training center, and healing center anchor three distinct precincts that reflect the cultivation of body, mind, and spirit through Taekwondo. An ascending pathway links the three precincts with a sequence of bridges that evoke the passage from novice to Grand Master, from white belt to black belt, and from physical strength to spiritual ascendance.

The three precincts accommodate a vast array of activities ranging from the spectacle of the arena to the serenity of the healing center retreat. The first precinct, the Body, resides at the lowest elevation of the site and includes the arrival plaza and arena. The second precinct, the Mind, at the intermediate elevation, includes the research and training centers, which form an amphitheater of terraced buildings looking out over the open-air Taekwondo training and parade grounds. The third precinct, the Spirit, at the uppermost site elevation, includes the healing center, memorial park, water terraces, and an observation tower overlooking the entire site. Strengthening the connection of the three precincts, water descends through the valley in a series of water gardens that incorporate the narrative of scenic landscape elements unique to the region.

Throughout the park, the distinction between building and site is blurred. Architecture, landscape, and water collaborate in a series of ascending terraces and bridges that preserve the topography of the site and establish a vital sustainable setting. Framing places for events, art, recreation, and renewal, Taekwondo Park will become an international destination that celebrates the history and culture of Korea as well as the practice and principles of Taekwondo.

Images: ©Weiss/Manfredi

Dates 2008; Client Taekwondo Promotion Foundation; Design Partners Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi; Project Manager Rhett Russo; Core Team Patrick Armacost, Todd Hoehn, Justin Kwok, Lee Lim, Joseph Littrell, Andrew Ruggles, Yehre Suh, Austin Tragni; Presentation Team Cheryl Baxter, Alice Chai, Beth Eckels, Jocelyn Froimovich, Kim Nun, Lindsey Sherman, Michael Steiner; Taekwondo Research Advisors Sung Chul Whang and Jun Chul Whang, Co-Authors, Taekwondo: The State of the Art, for their insight into the Art of Competitive Taekwondo; Architect's Local Representative Jaewoo Lee, Principal, Dongwoo Architects Co. Ltd., Global Design Link, Seoul, Korea

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