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Side profile of Space of Light at Museum SAN

Tadao Ando adds concrete meditation space to South Korean museum

Light filters through narrow slits in the roof of Space of Light, the second meditation space that Japanese architect Tadao Ando has completed at Museum SAN in Wonju.

The geometric concrete structure rests on a mound in the southern sculpture garden of the South Korean museum, which was also designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner Ando.

Aerial view of meditation room at Museum SAN
Tadao Ando has completed Space of Light

Complete with Ando's trademark use of concrete, the meditation space is softly illuminated by the cross-shaped opening in its roof, capturing the changing light over the course of the day.

The completion of Space of Light coincides with the exhibition Youth, which spotlights the work of Ando and is on show to mark the Museum SAN's 10th anniversary.

Exterior of Space of Light by Tadao Ando
The meditation space is on the grounds of Museum SAN

"With the newly opened Space of Light, we once again invite the viewers to explore the flow of time through the changing of light, while experiencing the extraordinary vision of Tadao Ando throughout the exhibition," said a spokesperson at Museum SAN.

Visitors to Space of Light are greeted by a long linear walkway, framed by tall concrete walls that open into an open, triangular-shaped space.

Aerial view of meditation room at Museum SAN
It is lit by narrow slits in its roof

From here, they enter the main square meditation space, which is embedded into a circular grassy mound. The stark concrete room is lit solely by the cross-shaped roof opening.

The space was described by Museum SAN as "stoic and rigid", intended to contrast the other more "gentle" meditation space that Ando completed there in 2019.

Simply named Meditation Hall, Ando's first meditation space is a dome-shaped structure embedded into the Stone Garden on the north side of the museum.

"The contrasting yet complementary two spaces hope to achieve a new dynamic balance at Museum SAN," added the museum's spokesperson.

Tadao Ando inside the Space of Light at Museum SAN
Space of Light is complete with Ando's signature use of concrete

Other recent projects designed by Ando the revamp of the Bourse de Commerce in Paris and He Art Museum in Guangdong. He is currently also designing the 2023 MPavilion, which will feature his signature geometric concrete forms as well as a reflective pool inside.

His exhibition Youth, currently on show at Museum SAN, is his first in South Korea in 24 years. It has previously been on show in cities include Tokyo, Paris and Shanghai.

The photography is courtesy of Museum SAN. 

More images

Interior of Space of Light at Museum SAN
Tadao Ando portrait