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Design unveiled for cinema centre in Seoul's movie district

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The Seoul Metropolitan Government has released the first design images for a new Seoul Cinematheque – a complex celebrating the visual arts to be built in Chungmuro, the heart of South Korea’s domestic film industry.

Opening in February 2021, the venue will show non-commercial, independent, artistic, and classic films across four theatres, including one on the rooftop, with capacities ranging from 150 to 300.

The project will be built on the site of a public parking lot, which is set to be demolished. It will be constructed with nine above ground and three underground levels – creating a gross floor area of 4,800sq m (15,700sq ft).

A visual media centre is planned, and it will be equipped with a recording studio, a colour correction facility and storage for rental film equipment so that aspiring and established filmmakers can produce their own work there.

There will also be a classroom for up to 180 people, a film archive where valuable films can be stored and watched, a café and a bookstore.

Design firm Mass Studies has been selected by the City as the winner of an international design competition to create the tentatively-named Cinematheque. The studio is led by architect Minseok Cho, who has previously designed the Dalki Theme Park (2003) in the city of Paju and the Korean Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo (2010). He won the Golden Lion Award (Grand Prize) at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2014.

In a statement, the competition jury said the winning design was chosen because “space composition is balanced and practical, and the relationship between affiliated facilities like movie theatres and the archive is fresh.”

Several other major leisure projects are planned for Seoul, including a music-led cultural complex on a Han River island; a 280,000sq m (3 million sq ft) area of shops, hotels, entertainment facilities and schools in Sewoon District 4; and a vast public park by Dutch landscape architects West 8 on the site of a US Army base.

Meanwhile, high-profile cultural centres dedicated to the world of cinema are planned for EuropaCity in Paris; at the new home for Brazil’s 50-year-old Museum of Image and Sound (MIS) on Rio’s beachfront; and at Star Wars creator George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park.

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The Seoul Metropolitan Government has released the first design images for a new Seoul Cinematheque – a complex celebrating the visual arts to be built in Chungmuro, the heart of South Korea’s domestic film industry.
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