"Our cities embrace different elements of time to form urban space as the stars smear themselves with lights emitted from other stars."
Architect Kim Seung-hoy.
In the North Village (Bukchon), the sedimentary layersof time can be traced from the Chosun Dynasty period to the present day.
To design for a city where the concept of time is nailed to its foundation, an architect must establish a relationship with that particular thread of time.
Designed by architect Kim Seung-hoy, the World Jewellery Museum is housed in a three-storied former residential building which was remodelled to become a mecca for jewellery in the historic center of Seoul where the ancient landscape of Bukchon and the formidable museum collection are brought together to establish a harmonious relationship.
The building becomes an altar that stands up to the museum collection's weight and stark beauty.
While Kim respects the physical and cultural context of the city's historic heart, he believes the old neighborhood has an urban willingness to embrace contemporary architecture.
To root his building in the city's ancient fabric, Kim creates an elaborate combination of copper, glass, stainless steel, wood and concrete based on the scale of life residing in the neighborhood.
Kim brings the essence of the city's beauty into the interior as well. The wondrous curling alleyways are reflected in the meticulously measured approach to the pyramid-like interior.
In the main entrance of the museum, a view through the three cubic-windows reminds you briefly of the world outside. From here, a few shallow steps lead up to the altar of exhibition galleries.
Each gallery boasts of the innovative exhibition design techniques that the museum is renowned for, such as the "Forest of Modern Jewellery," "Gallery of Beads Columns," and the "Ring DNA." The main spiral staircase leads you up to the top floor, which is bathed in natural light. Here a panoramic view of the architectural treasures of the North Village, past and present, is offered to the visitors.