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Winning Design Unveiled for Korea's 32nd Street Cultural Invasion

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Korea-NYC relations have been at an all-time high thanks to the benevolent kitchen wizardry of David Chang, and now we can thank that nation across the sea for shaking us out of the architectural stupor brought on by the credit crunch. Behold, the winning entry in the competition to design a new home for the Korean Cultural Service at 122 East 32nd Street, a parking lot purchased by the Korean government last year. The design, rather appropriately, is from the New York office of Korean firm SAMOO Architects, and Inhabitat says construction will begin by the end of this year. The site is between Park and Lexington, east of the traditional Koreatown cutoff, but if K-Town's expansion means more buildings like this, we don't think Murray Hillers will be complaining.

We're a bit gaga about this right now, so let's let the people who know what they're talking about describe what's going on here. Inhabitat's summary:

To be located on East 32nd Street in Midtown, the eight-story Korea Center will house administration offices, exhibit space, gardens, artist studios, a library, a cafe and a theater for events, lectures and performances. The street facing facade is completely glass, which allows passersby to see into the center and be enticed inward by the street level exhibitions on Korean culture, including music, movies, food, technology and TV dramas.

SAMOO’s winning design embodies the modern Korean sensibility of innovation in harmony with tradition. Inside, the center is dominated by three sculptural figures made from different materials – ceramic to represent Heaven, terracotta to represent Earth and milled wood to represent Humanity. Along with staying true to Korean sensibilities, the glass facade will allow ample daylighting into the interior reducing the need for artificial light.

Dig into the renderings above like hot bowl of ramen. What's the verdict?
· SAMOO’s New Korean Cultural Center in NYC Aims for LEED Certification [Inhabitat]
· SAMOO Wins Competition for Flagship Korean Cultural Center in New York City [Bustler]
· Korean Cultural Service [koreanculture.org]

Korean Cultural Center

122 East 32nd Street, New York, NY