The project, a longtime goal of Koreatown stakeholders, would replace a city-owned parking lot at the southwest corner of 6th Street and Vermont Avenue. According to the project's official website, the museum is intended to "introduce audiences to the sources of Korean culture," allowing visitors to understand the Korean American experience in Los Angeles and elsewhere.
The design by Morphosis calls for a two-story structure "based on the idea of a lifted, displaced landscape." KANM's roof would be adorned with a terrace crowns and a sculptural roof garden featuring maple, pine, and bamboo. Inside the structure, the museum's layout would follow the courtyard plan of the traditional Korean Hanok, with a central open space connecting a ring of galleries, meeting rooms, and offices. At street level, the building would be wrapped by greenery and a patterned facade featuring a traditional Korean motif.
Construction of KANM is scheduled to begin in Fall 2020, according to the museum's backers. Completion is anticipated in 2022.
The revised design comes just months after the museum's backers dropped plans to include up to 103 apartments within the project, citing increased construction costs. The previous iteration of KANM would have featured a seven-story residential building wrapping around the museum structure.
Nonetheless, housing is still planned for several nearby properties. At the opposite corner of 6th Street and Vermont Avenue, a County-owned office building is slated to be converted into apartments as part of the Vermont Corridor development. And adjacent to KANM, a Denny's restaurant is slated to make way for a 33-story hotel and residential tower.
Morphosis founder Thom Mayne is not the only Pritzker Prize winner doing work in Koreatown. A few blocks away, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple is now building a three-story expansion designed by Rem Koolhaas.
- Korean American National Museum (Urbanize LA)