A Journey to the Known

Competition: Museum of World Writing South Korea, Asia

Competition: Museum of World Writing

South Korea, Asia


Created for South Korea’s Museum of World Writing open international competition, ‘Illumination’ is Buchan’s design for a new £40m ‘Larchivium’ where the functions of a library, archive and museum combine.

The building form is a slanted pyramid with entry via a cool and dark subterranean lobby. A pathway begins to climb gently as a single, continuous ribbon of circulation. Part of the circulation strategy allows for light transition zones between the darker exhibition spaces. There are two main levels separated into flexible display spaces that can also close off for specialised exhibits, events, education or performances. In harmony with the environment, a green roof softens the glass and steel of the surrounds.

As the visitors (readers) move through the distinctive spaces that are dark and light, they journey from the unknown to the known. When the space is dark, the reader experiences the writing, yet to be seen, read, heard or felt. When the space illuminates it becomes a den of knowledge and participation.

The journey is emotional, subjective and sensory.