7 Tadao Ando Buildings To See In Korea

You might walk down the streets of Korea and start to think that the architecture is, well, not much to write home about. The apartment complexes all look the same and tower above pedestrians. Cement buildings are sprawling with a few traditional Hanok villages here and there. However, there is more to find if you know where to look. There are some pretty cool architectural gems in Seoul and plenty sprinkled around the country that you could create a pretty cool architecture-based itinerary for Korea to find them all if you wanted. Among them are a collection of architect Tadao Ando’s buildings including well known Museum San. That’s not the only one though.  Find out more about Tadao Ando’s architecture in Korea: (This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.) Who is Tadao Ando Tadao Ando is a Japanese autodidact architect, which means he was completely self taught though he started his career as a drafstman. His works are widely known for their unique use of natural light and structures that mimic the forms of natural landscapes though they utilize cement for a very industrial feel at the same time. He uses his experience with Zen from Japanese culture to emphasize the simplicity of his architecture with the unique experiences and scenes they create.  When you visit his buildings, you’ll notice a unique play between the natural world the building is living in and the industrial structures that utilizes cement, metal, and glass. Tadao Ando is a renowned architect that has created some exquisite buildings in Korea from Seoul to Jeju Island. Buildings designed by Tadao Ando in Korea LG Art Center (LG아트센터 서울) The intricate design of the LG Arts Center is an accurate reflection of how Ando views architecture through his unique lens of life. Nature blends naturally into the architecture and is based on three concepts: the Tube, Step Atrium, and Gate Arc. The Tube is an ovular passage that moves through the ground floor of the art center. Many neat locations are around it like the performance hall and educational wing. The tube can also take you to the Seoul Botanic Park and LG Science parks. If you visit to see a performance, you’ll also get to see an installation in the Tube… just look up. The Step Atrium is an area filled with a long staircases that connect Magoknaru Subway Station to the 3rd floor of the art center. This staircase also houses artwork by Studio Drift called “Meadow”. A perfect way to play with nature inside of the building. The Gate Arc is a dynamic area of space containing a “curvilinear wall” that captivates the audience’s point of view in the lobby. It is known as the gate that invites the audience to each performance hall.  Address: 136 Magok Jungang-ro, Gangseo-gu, Seoul (서울시 강서구 마곡중앙로 136) Directions: Take the subway to  Magoknaru Station and exit at either 3 or 4. You can also go to Magok Station and walk ten minutes out of exit 3.  Museum San (뮤지엄산) Museum San, “san” meaning mountain in Korean, is fittingly settled into a beautiful mountainous region and hugs the curves of the hill gorgeously. The concrete buildings are stark and yet at the same time ideally suited for the natural surroundings. It’s unexpected in that way. Opened in May of 2013, Tadao Ando’s Museum San wasn’t officially completed until James Turrell’s work was added. In 2019, the museum was named one of the 100 Must-Visit Tourist Spots in Korea for the third year in a row by the Korea Tourism Organization so it’s no wonder it makes the rounds in articles and on Instagram each year. It is probably the most popular of the Tadao Ando buildings in South Korea.  Address: 260 Oak Valley 2-gil, Jijeong-myeong, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 원주시 지정면 오크밸리 2길 260) Directions: Museum San is not in the easiest-to-access location so you either need a car or join a tour if you don’t have one for the easiest way to get there. Hours: 10:00am ~ 6:00pm Days: Tuesday ~ Sunday Admission: Basic Museum Ticket: Adults: W18,000; Students W10,000; Preschoolers: FREE; Basic Museum Ticket + the James Turrell Exhibit: Adults: W28,000; Students: W18,000; Preschoolers cannot enter the James Turrell Exhibit; Basic Museum Ticket + Meditation Ticket: Adults: W28,000; Students: W18,000; Preschoolers cannot enter the Meditation Hall. Entrance to all three: Adults: W38,000 Glass House (글라스하우스) The glass house located on Jeju Island is a sight to behold. Filled with fantastic restaurants and a beautiful deck to observe the land from, the otherworldly creation by Tadao Ando will be a sight you will never forget. Ando desired to “capture Jeju’s sunshine” and “embrace Jeju’s seas” for any who decide to come to the mystical island and have a great time.  From the Glass House, you have the perfect view of sun rising over Seongsan Ilchulbong. I recommend v

7 Tadao Ando Buildings To See In Korea

You might walk down the streets of Korea and start to think that the architecture is, well, not much to write home about. The apartment complexes all look the same and tower above pedestrians. Cement buildings are sprawling with a few traditional Hanok villages here and there. However, there is more to find if you know where to look. There are some pretty cool architectural gems in Seoul and plenty sprinkled around the country that you could create a pretty cool architecture-based itinerary for Korea to find them all if you wanted. Among them are a collection of architect Tadao Ando’s buildings including well known Museum San. That’s not the only one though. 

Museum San, Wonju, Korea

Museum San, Wonju, Korea

Find out more about Tadao Ando’s architecture in Korea:

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking at no cost to you. Thank you for your support.)


Who is Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando is a Japanese autodidact architect, which means he was completely self taught though he started his career as a drafstman. His works are widely known for their unique use of natural light and structures that mimic the forms of natural landscapes though they utilize cement for a very industrial feel at the same time. He uses his experience with Zen from Japanese culture to emphasize the simplicity of his architecture with the unique experiences and scenes they create. 

When you visit his buildings, you’ll notice a unique play between the natural world the building is living in and the industrial structures that utilizes cement, metal, and glass. Tadao Ando is a renowned architect that has created some exquisite buildings in Korea from Seoul to Jeju Island.


Buildings designed by Tadao Ando in Korea

LG Art Center (LG아트센터 서울)

The intricate design of the LG Arts Center is an accurate reflection of how Ando views architecture through his unique lens of life. Nature blends naturally into the architecture and is based on three concepts: the Tube, Step Atrium, and Gate Arc. The Tube is an ovular passage that moves through the ground floor of the art center. Many neat locations are around it like the performance hall and educational wing. The tube can also take you to the Seoul Botanic Park and LG Science parks. If you visit to see a performance, you’ll also get to see an installation in the Tube… just look up.

LG Art Center (LG아트센터 서울), Magok, Seoul, Korea

LG Art Center (LG아트센터 서울), Magok, Seoul, Korea

The Step Atrium is an area filled with a long staircases that connect Magoknaru Subway Station to the 3rd floor of the art center. This staircase also houses artwork by Studio Drift called “Meadow”. A perfect way to play with nature inside of the building. The Gate Arc is a dynamic area of space containing a “curvilinear wall” that captivates the audience’s point of view in the lobby. It is known as the gate that invites the audience to each performance hall. 

  • Address: 136 Magok Jungang-ro, Gangseo-gu, Seoul (서울시 강서구 마곡중앙로 136)
  • Directions: Take the subway to  Magoknaru Station and exit at either 3 or 4. You can also go to Magok Station and walk ten minutes out of exit 3. 

Museum San (뮤지엄산)

Museum San, “san” meaning mountain in Korean, is fittingly settled into a beautiful mountainous region and hugs the curves of the hill gorgeously. The concrete buildings are stark and yet at the same time ideally suited for the natural surroundings. It’s unexpected in that way.

Opened in May of 2013, Tadao Ando’s Museum San wasn’t officially completed until James Turrell’s work was added. In 2019, the museum was named one of the 100 Must-Visit Tourist Spots in Korea for the third year in a row by the Korea Tourism Organization so it’s no wonder it makes the rounds in articles and on Instagram each year. It is probably the most popular of the Tadao Ando buildings in South Korea. 

  • Address: 260 Oak Valley 2-gil, Jijeong-myeong, Wonju-si, Gangwon-do (강원도 원주시 지정면 오크밸리 2길 260)
  • Directions: Museum San is not in the easiest-to-access location so you either need a car or join a tour if you don’t have one for the easiest way to get there.
  • Hours: 10:00am ~ 6:00pm
  • Days: Tuesday ~ Sunday
  • Admission: Basic Museum Ticket: Adults: W18,000; Students W10,000; Preschoolers: FREE; Basic Museum Ticket + the James Turrell Exhibit: Adults: W28,000; Students: W18,000; Preschoolers cannot enter the James Turrell Exhibit; Basic Museum Ticket + Meditation Ticket: Adults: W28,000; Students: W18,000; Preschoolers cannot enter the Meditation Hall. Entrance to all three: Adults: W38,000

Glass House (글라스하우스)

The glass house located on Jeju Island is a sight to behold. Filled with fantastic restaurants and a beautiful deck to observe the land from, the otherworldly creation by Tadao Ando will be a sight you will never forget. Ando desired to “capture Jeju’s sunshine” and “embrace Jeju’s seas” for any who decide to come to the mystical island and have a great time. 

Glass House (글라스하우스), Jeju Island, Korea

Glass House (글라스하우스), Jeju Island, Korea

From the Glass House, you have the perfect view of sun rising over Seongsan Ilchulbong. I recommend visiting in the morning, as early as you can if you want to avoid other visitors. We had this picturesque swing just next to the Glass House to ourselves for an hour one day and really enjoyed it. If you walk just down the hillside there behind us, you might also find a bunch of horses grazing on the grass by themselves. It was beautiful. 

  • Address: 46 Goseong-ri, Seongsan-eub, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do (제주도 서귀포시 성산읍 고성리 46)

Yumin Gallery (유민미술관)

Just behind the Glass House is another Tadao Ando structure so you can visit two in one go if you head to Jeju Island. Yumin Gallery is Korea’s first nouveau craft work gallery. Yumin Art Nouveau Collection was opened in June 2017. While the structure was designed by Ando, the Danish architect, Johan Carlsson headed the design of the gallery exhibition. Art Nouveau has been trendy in both the U.S. and Europe since the ’80s, displaying arts, crafts, and designs that were crafted by inspired artists.

The extremely innovative techniques from Ando combined nature in a modern way, showing his advocacy of it as well as his inspiration for the gallery. If you are interested in great French artists like Eugène Michel and René, don’t hesitate to give it a visit. We visited as soon as they opened having just walked around the Glass House at sunrise and enjoyed this calm and serene museum by ourselves. It’s stark lines with views of the ocean and the lava rocks was inspiring and down below when you enter the museum, it is dark and serene. The natural maze like path will take you through everything and out again before you realize what just happened.

  • Address: 107 Seopjikoji-ro, Seongsan-eub, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do (제주도 서귀포시 성산읍 섭지코지로 107)
  • Hours: 9:00am ~ 6:00pm (Closed Tuesdays)
  • Website: http://www.yuminart.org

Bonte Museum (본태박물관)

Created in 2012, the Bonte Museum is another prime example of nature and architecture coming together to make something greater. The area is beautiful and the artwork inside is really special as well. The building embodies Ando’s ideals of harmony when it comes to architecture mingling with nature, giving you a feel of both a modern and a cultural experience when you go. 

Bonte Museum (본태박물관), Jeju Island, Korea

Bonte Museum (본태박물관), Jeju Island, Korea

We visited during one of Jeju’s summer rain showers and enjoyed the inside spaces and then took in the rooftop views out over the landscape when the clouds cleared. Definitely recommend a stop here when you visit Jeju Island.

  • Address: 69 Sanroknam-ro 726 beon-gil, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do (제주도 서귀포시 안덕면 산록남로 762번길 69)
  • Hours: 10:00am ~ 6:00pm
  • Admission: Adults: W20,000; Children: W12,000

Church of the Heart (마음의교회)

Within Maiim Vision Village lies a structure that melds light with concrete. Rooted in nature, Tadao Ando’s Church of Light showcases his love for nature’s more traditional setting. Its interior is supposed to give you a feel of coziness, granting you a great view from your concrete surrounding to the light and nature surrounding. The structure is said to look as if it is floating on water amongst the trees.

  • Address: 28 Yongeun-gil, Neungseo-myeon, Yeoju-si, Gyeonggi-do (경기도 여주시 능서면 용은길 28)
  • Website: http://www.maiimvisionvillage.co.kr/

JCC Art Center (JCC아트센터)

JCC Art Center (JCC아트센터), Seoul, Korea
Credit: JCC Art Center Website

JCC (Jaeneung Culture Center) is a culture communication area that hosts exhibitions and concerts as well as features an art center. It is known as a multi-purpose complex for education and culture. This might be the easiest of the Tadao Ando spaces to visit if you’re only visiting Seoul for a short time as it is right downtown. Ando wanted to create a space to embody culture and knowledge as well as a place for people to connect with each other. It’s also been featured in the Korean drama About time if you are looking for special experiences like that. 

  • Address: 29 Changgyeonggung-ro 35-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul (서울시 종로구 창경궁로 35길 29)
  • Directions: From Hansung University Station take Subway Line 4, Exit 5
  • Hours: 10:00am ~ 6:00pm (Closed Mondays, Chuseok, and Lunar New Year’s holidays)
  • Website: https://www.jeijcc.org/intro.html