In late 2022, the Metropolitan City of Incheon, South Korea, along with the Housing and City Development Corporation, held an international competition for the design of the Geomdan Museum Library Cultural Complex. Overall, the competition received 75 entries from across the globe. One of the top five designs was by SOUR in collaboration with Seoinn Design Group.

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos
Curving garden in front of a modern building flanked by large earth cone-like forms

The site for this project is a brownfield site. This means that the land has been abandoned or is extremely underutilized due to pollution from extensive industrial activity. Revamping a site like this gives it a new life. It not only provides community members with a place to stay, but it can also re-establish the natural environment, which consequently boosts biodiversity. Through the development of the Geomdan Museum Library Cultural complex, the brownfield site will be transformed into a thriving community that will be home to an estimated 180,000 residents.

Related: Timber children’s library follows traditional techniques

Aerial view of a curving building flanked by earthy cone-like forms, facing a large water body

The design proposal by SOUR and Seoinn Design Group sought to meet energy efficiency and climate resilience targets through architectural forms. The project will feature a futuristic library and an indoor-outdoor museum, which is adjacent to a large green space. For this, the design features a series of chimney-like forms bordering a curved building to create an eco-friendly community center.

Modern, curved library building with a glass facade

This collection of spaces is rooted in the culture of the locale and will become Geomdan’s new Archeology Park. The park will serve as a gathering space and will also encourage people to learn through exploration, all while allowing for a connection to the natural world through meticulous architectural and landscape design.

Aerial view of a curving building flanked by earthy cone-like forms, facing a large water body

Challenges that society has faced in recent years, such as the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and even the global economic downturn are pushing designers to opt for low-tech strategies that are sustainable for the environment, society and economy. Through formal architectural elements, the designers have utilized low-tech, culturally-rooted passive strategies to minimize energy use and maximize climate resilience. This is demonstrated through the chimney-like forms, which are a key part of the design. Besides connecting to cultural and historical architectural forms, they use the stack effect to keep building interiors cool and well-ventilated for optimal sustainability.

Site plan of the museum, library and park

By adopting a multifaceted approach to sustainability, the design for the Geomdan Museum Library Cultural Complex becomes a space that is deeply rooted in the socio-cultural and historic context of its site. Additionally, the built form features passive strategies to optimize energy use for an environmentally-responsible design.


+ Seoinn Design

Images via SOUR