Rendering of the Korean American National Museum in Los Angeles. Photo: Morphosis Architects. Click above for more images.

Los Angeles’s Korean American National Museum Unveils New Building Design

The Korean American National Museum in Los Angeles has revealed the designs for the institution’s first permanent 16,900-square-foot home, which will be located in the heart of Koreatown. Led by Morphosis Architects, the project will break ground in 2020 and is expected to take two years to complete.

“We are thrilled to be working with Morphosis Architects in creating this landmark museum,” Jae Min Chang, the museum’s board vice chair, said in a statement. “This building will stand as a vital institution for the millions of Korean Americans who have made this country their home, and will beautifully represent the strength and accomplishments of our community.”

The two-story building’s design is based on the idea of a “displaced landscape—a piece of Korea grafted onto Los Angeles—containing the museum within.” The firm will collaborate with DSK Landscape Architects to create a lush rooftop garden and terrace that will crown the building. The outdoor space will boast plants native to Korea, including maple, pine, and bamboo. Beneath the rooftop will be a courtyard, reflecting the architecture of traditional Korean houses called Hanoks. Surrounding the central open area will be an interconnected ring of galleries, offices, and spaces for various programs.

Commenting on the design, Eui-Sung Yi, a partner at Morphosis and the project principal for the institution, said: “This museum honors the sacrifices and hardships of our parents and grandparents while showcasing the fruits of those sacrifices: the accomplishments of future generations. We aimed to reflect this sentiment in our design.”

Founded in 1991 as the first museum devoted to preserving, studying, and presenting the Korean American community’s cultural heritage in the United States, the institution has partnered with other museums, universities, and cultural centers around Los Angeles to produce exhibitions and events.