Myeongdong Theater
Trace of time and light of culture In a cold weekend in winter, 2004, I visited the former national theater - Myeong-dong Theater - which was surrounded by neighboring noises, nearly forgotten and neglected. As once had been a stage of dream for the performers, seat area of it was filled with concrete slab and decorated with coarse interior, being used as a office building. Its internal spaces had nothing to do with the 1930's glorious appearance. In the early 70's, the symbolized by youth culture was blossoming around Myeong-dong area. In 90's, it declined, being left behind a rising Apgujeong-dong. With the increase of foreign tourists, it recovered its liveliness, but became a commercial shopping street. It lost its contextual harmony and couldn't yield a new culture. As soaring land price of Myeong-dong and intense consumption boom are mixed, Myeong-dong theater was on the verge of demolition to build a new, high-rise commercial facilities. However, Myeong-dong theater revival movement was sprung up based on Culture artist and Myeong-dong District Development Association.. And fortunately, Ministry of culture, sports, and tourism purchased the site, so its buildings could be preserved. A competition was held on the theme of transforming it into the former theater, and in 2004, we began to develop an idea staying up many nights. Exterior wall could be restored and repaired in some degree. Yet, what will the new stage be, which to be built after clearing the internal structure? A combination of youth culture in Myeong-dong at present, and its commerciality? How about transforming that combination into a light of cultural sensibility, through the heart-beating energy and thrilling desire? 'When the darkness falls and a stage opens' Myeong-dong art hall would revive into a light of culture, glowing as a new center of Myeong-dong. For its spatial composition, main entrance of the seat is placed on the 2nd floor, to acquire a lobby space. A lobby is located on the 1st floor which people could access freely, and hall spaces on the 2nd, 3rd space are designed multi-purposely to enable an exhibition. 552 seats are to be arranged including 2 balconies, and a distance between the seat and stage is minimized, to maximize a strong point of medium -sized theater- communication and closeness with audience. Upper part of stage and the acoustic facilities are optimized for a play performance. This recovery project of Myeong-dong former national theater, has a meaning beyond the mere restoration and preservation. It has an important meaning as the rebirth of urban, architectural, cultural space where artists who miss the old Myeong-dong as a cultural center, Myeong-dong retailers, and citizens' memory had remained. Especially, it is remarkable that the effort of Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and Culture artist and Myeong-dong District Development Association, recreated the trace of history, into a new cultural space, which once was on the verge of extinction. With a construction of Myeong-dong art hall, we wish that a new phase of Myeong-dong aera would commence, as the center of arts and culture.


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