Earlier this month the Daeyang Gallery and House, designed by Steven Holl opened in Seoul, South Korea. From its outset the project was designed as an experiment parallel with an investigation into the “architecture of music”. The basic geometry of the building is inspired by a 1967 sketch of a musical score by the composer Istvan Anhalt called the “Symphony of Modules”, discovered in a book by John Cage entitled “Notations”.
Three pavilions, one for entry, one for the lounge and one events area, are connected by a pool of water that provides a reference plane. An entry structure with the reception area leads to a private apartment and a multi-purpose space that rises above the surface of the water, while the gallery is located below it.
The gallery spaces remain “silent” until “activated” by the light that filters through 55 skylights positioned on the roofs of the three pavilions. In each of the pavilions, five strips of clear glass allow the sunlight to penetrate inside, transforming and animating them according to the time of day and the season. Streaks of light are reflected on the granite floors and on the whitewashed walls of the basement whose proportions follow the series 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55.
Viewed from inside the pavilions are framed by the reflecting pool, enclosed by the gardens that run perpendicular to the bands of skylights. The visitor enters the gallery by going down a staircase and turning they can see the pool at eye level. The three pavilions seem to float in their own reflections.