Korean American Museum of Art and Cultural Center

Los Angeles, CA

Client: Korean American Museum of Art and Cultural Center
Competition Entry: 1995
Project Team:
David S. Tobin, AIA, Principal-in-Charge, Lead Designer
Vladislav Yeliseyev, Renderings


This design concept for the Korean American Museum of Art and Cultural Center is about Time; past. present and future. The awareness of the flow of time from Future to Present to Past is central to a rich enjoyment of the knowledge of human culture. The plan of the Museum and Cultural Center is based on a simple diagram interpretation of one aspect of the traditional Korean yin-yang symbol of the unity of opposites in the universe. Coincidentally, the symbol is similar to a Chinese character meaning “a stream of water”. The symbol is conceived of as the essence of and basis for this design. The design realizes this idea in the basic organization of forms and spaces. The activities and presentations within the building with the most profoundly temporal characteristics take place in the Garden, Auditorium, and Lecture Hall. Activities and presentations in these areas are very much in the confluence of Past and Future. The high atrium space creates a transition between the natural and manmade. These spaces are held in place by the opposing forms of the Permanent Exhibit Wing and the Temporary Exhibit Wing.