The forest learning about trees

Mogyeon-ri, the Wood Culture Experience Center at Incheon Grand Park, has already attracted many people’s attention with its architectural beauty. Completed in January last year, this site has won the 25th World Architecture Award, while the kinetic architecture on the exterior wall has also won the Concept Division of the 2017 Red Dot Design Awards, one of the three major design awards in the world. You actually see rocks before you see wood when you go to Mogyeonri. The gray concrete forms a massive, modern triangle, presenting modern sense. The main building to the right forms the larger triangle, while the gate to the left forms a smaller triangle. The two triangles come together to form an even larger triangle.

About 8 to 9 ‘ㅅ’ shaped wooden panels are aligned as walls in the empty space outside the 2nd floor of the gate and the main building. This ‘open wall’ separates Mogyeonri from the surrounding forests, and highlights the green view of the arboretum when viewed from the inside. This is the Ambiance Wall that symbolizes Mogyeonri. This wooden screen represents the traditional door frame of Korea, and displays different patterns on different angles for your visual pleasure. Also, the layers of ‘ㅅ’ shapes on the Ambiance Wall are enlarged and shrunken according to the movement of the columns, and flutter like the wings of a butterfly. This is kinetic architecture. The first impression of Mogyeonri was the rather cold, concrete building, but the hidden charm of this place was wood itself. The gray concrete walls themselves house wooden patterns, if you look closer. The texture of wood has been printed on the surface.

When you enter the building, the surrounding forest can be viewed at a glance through the open glass window. The first floor features the carpentry experience center, where anyone, from elementary school students to grownups, can make anything with wood. Go up to the second floor, the rich scent of wood dominates the ambience. The scent comes from the Hinoki ornaments that are all over the ceiling. The regular alignment of Hinoki fragments above your line of sight reminds you of a parade of lanterns or candles. Here is the sawleaf zelkova studio where children under 7 can handle wood with their parents. The cute, little wooden accessories made with little hands obviously reflect the world of imagination that is as broad as the Universe. The Cloud Tree Playground nearby the studio is filled with wooden toys. The pool of Hinoki balls is particularly popular among children. They would naturally learn to love and respect nature and life. You can often see wood and triangles at Mogyeonri. Contemplating the architectural meaning of repetition of triangles, I suddenly came up with how I drew trees with triangles and bars in the middle when I was a child. Mogyeonri itself is a vast forest. No place could fake a forest when it comes to touching and feeling wood and realize the value of trees.