Seoinn Design Group and Eunseok Lee have designed a place of worship with a stone tower featuring a cross hanging over an observatory as a contemporary spire for the Saemoonan Church in South Korea. Saemoonan Church, which is the oldest established protestant church in the country, is known as South Korea’s “mother church”. Seoinn Design Group and Eunseok Lee designed the new building to visually reflect its religious significance.
Saemoonan Church, which is the oldest established protestant church in the country, is known as South Korea’s “mother church”
Text description provided by the architects. Established as the first Korean protestant church, Saemoonan Church constructed a new church on Sinmunno, Gwanghwamun, celebrating its 132nd anniversary. The shape resembles a mother’s arms stretched out toward the sky. Saemoonan Church proposed four distinct church construction themes as basic guidelines; the historicity as the mother church of Korean protestant churches, the symbolism of doors open to heaven, the spatiality of expressing Christ as light, and presenting a water space as a meaning of baptism and harmony.
In the construction of Saemoonan Church, the conventional spire was replaced by a softly curved effect that is open to the sky, and the excessive ornaments were converted into simple and abstract expressions. In addition, rather than focusing on showing the authority of the church, the love and mercy of God were metaphorically expressed with the curve of the soft front. Furthermore, instead of creating a solemn spatial atmosphere with the common long corridor form, a new periodic worship space was proposed with a fan-shaped chapel plane that encourages the dynamic participation between believers.
The transparent glass box, intended to seem as if it was disappearing into the sky beyond the curved wall, not only angles for a morphological harmony that is in contrast to the softly curved wall, but is also an architectural strategy that aims to protect future generations from the congested streets and become a bright Education Hall with a rooftop garden.