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New establishment to be built in Songhyeon-dong for Lee Kun-hee collection

This aerial view shows the site in Songhyeon-dong, central Seoul, where a new establishment will house the late Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s art collection. (Yonhap)
This aerial view shows the site in Songhyeon-dong, central Seoul, where a new establishment will house the late Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s art collection. (Yonhap)

A new establishment will be built in Songhyeon-dong, central Seoul, to house the late Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s art collection.

According to an announcement from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Tuesday, the two institutions will sign a memorandum of understanding on the project Wednesday.

The entrepreneur died in October 2020, and in April this year his family donated some 24,000 artworks and artifacts to the National Museum of Korea and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

In July, the Culture Ministry announced its plans for the new building to better exhibit and study the collection. There were two potential sites, the other one being the National Museum of Korea in Yongsan-gu.

An expert panel chose the Songhyeon-dong spot for its proximity to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, as well as other art galleries and museums, Insa-dong, and other important historic venues in central Seoul.

The new establishment will cover 9,787 square meters on a 36,642-square-meter lot that currently belongs to air carrier Korean Air. The Seoul Metropolitan Government is working on a transfer of ownership, and it plans to provide the Culture Ministry with the land for the new establishment and turn the surrounding land into a park.

The Culture Ministry plans to hold an open international contest for the architectural design in the second half of next year.

The new establishment, set to open in 2027, will exhibit the entire collection donated by Lee’s family.

Seoul City plans to connect the Songhyeon-dong site with the nearby Seoul Museum of Craft Art, Sejong Center for the Performing Arts and more, and to cultivate the area as a center for culture and tourism.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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