One of the privileges we have is the ability to capture moments. “Is it correct to say there is a building as a symbol of impression?”

In an explanation of the above statement, a building located in Sejong, South Korea, is a relevant justification. ‘The Presidential Archive of Korea’ is the name as it is known as a collection of historical achievements.

Introductory Brief Of The Building

Talking about its conceptual outlook- The Presidential Archive is designed by “SAMOO Architects And Engineers, Korea.” Generally, when we talk about viewing government records or achievements, it creates a gap between ordinary people and higher authorities. As it is clear that not every aspect of the President is visible to the public, so to create transparency between exhibits of the President and viewers, SAMOO Architects comes with the idea for a building with a collection of all records and historical incidents. 

The building design is simple and functional, as it resembles a grand seal box used by officials to keep the record of files. To maintain the structure of the traditional seal box, the brass and wooden material of the box was replaced by stone and glass for the main exhibition building.

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The great seal(Eobo) from Joseon Dynasty_ _©Cultural Heritage Conservation

The image above is of the Great seal known as Eobo, used by royal authorities as a symbol of security and national sovereignty. This box contains documents in the inner layer covered by an outer box to ensure protection. 

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Box within Box- The presidential archive building, Sejong_ Image credits- SAMOO Architects

In this picture, the cube building is the central exhibition area where all achievements of the President; are presented to the public viewers. The structural walls of the building indicate the inner layer of the great seal, and the glass frame in the outer periphery of the cube building represents the outer layer of the great seal that provides the essence of security and transparency to the viewers.

Landmark of Sejong city

Entitling a building as a landmark of the city holds a prominent role. The giant cube building carried various documents and records of political deeds to pass the Joseon king’s life history to the present generation. There are different areas designed for people to inspect over 400 documents or articles related to the royal dynasty and President’s history. 

‘Covered in the modernity of materials, is it truly a depiction of traditional elements of the city.

The exact scenario that comes to mind while discussing the relationship between the building and the royal records is – Is documentation of records enough to assemble the city culture? 

The first thing that any person feels connected to is the outer structure of the building. As it is clear that the building is a compilation of modern elements, the landmark itself does not contain a traditional architectural value. But did you notice the symbol of Sejong city?

ㅅ the initial consonant of Sejong City was used to evoke characteristics of the city and to represent the traditional roofs of Korea, which symbolise the ideal environment and infrastructure.

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Symbol mark of Sejong city_ _©,_South_Korea.svg

The external facade of the building is an assembly of elements to evoke symbolic features of the roof concept of the city.

Sejong city has its color theme: Blue, Sky blue, and Gray. Eventually, the inside areas of the  buildings also implemented these colors in walls, ceilings, and even display sections.

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Exhibition areas

It is clear from the above glimpses of the internal spaces how significantly to involve future generations within past activities that architects implemented traditional or cultural aspects in a modern way.

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Exhibition areas

The Planning aspects

The building has wisely fitted into the site where all three elements of nature combine, located at the edge of the waterfront across the central green park. The main part of the building includes 4-floor levels and two basements spread across an area of  31,219m². In contrast to surrounding greeneries, the roof of basement levels is provided with a green roof to merge with the ground, and more than 50% of the site is covered with the landscape.

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Site plan_Photograph courtesy_SAMOO Architects

The site design is embedded so that it showcases the fluidity of past and future thoughts as a timeline of records.

The Internal zones of the Cube

The presidential archive covers 2,333㎡ exhibition spaces that exhibit different categories of records and documentation for the public to overview. The entire cube has 4-levels, and all are provided with different exhibit areas.

The main spaces have been divided into two zones; those for archive purposes and those that will utilise the archives as exhibition and amenity spaces for visitors. In the main hall, the skylight is designed to create a stunning view, while the archive maintenance section has been separately secured for maximum security and efficient maintenance. The 1st floor of the building serves as the multi-functional floor, which includes the main lobbies and access paths for visitors and employees of the Presidential Archives. An inner courtyard provides convenient access paths while bringing in the exterior spaces as much as possible to the inner-most areas of the building.

1F Presidential Emblem Hall

Contains major activities of former presidents, from their inaugurations to retirements.

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Showcasing president hall, lobby and theater

2F Presidential Repository

A space for sharing the value of records by learning about the process through which presidential records are created.

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Showcasing President souvenir, photozone

3F Presidential Experience Center

This room introduces the history of Cheong Wa Dae, the presidential residence and office of the Republic of Korea, and allows visitors to experience the work of a president.

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Showcasing hall of records, guest house, blue house, president office

4F Presidential History Hall

A place for visitors to learn about the role and authority of the president as a leader of the country and witness the resolve of the nation’s top officials.

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Showcasing president’s calligraphy bridge, areas for people representatives, president’s pledge

Below ground, the underground floors have been dedicated to parking spaces and storage facilities for the archive. The storage facilities are all equipped with state-of-the-art HVACs to maintain an optimum environment for storage of sensitive items.

Some interesting facts about the archive

The first item to attract visitors is old posters of presidents, their election roles and other activities. These posters were not available in times of the elderly, thus attracting more old viewers to evoke old memories.

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Old posters_Portraits of Korea’s former presidents

Another exciting fact Archive provides to visitors is the transparency throughout the president’s live videos in the office. Using advanced technologies, visitors can see videos of president’s through life activities.

old posters_

Visitors can experience other facilities too. They can take pictures in the president’s office and reception room replica.


Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS) (no date) Presidential Archives Keep Historical Records for the future : : The Official Website of the Republic of Korea, Available at: (Accessed: December 9, 2022).

Presidential Archives: Permanent Exhibition (no date) Presidential Archives | Permanent Exhibition. Available at:  (Accessed: December 9, 2022). 

The Presidential Archives of Sejong (no date) Architects & Engineers. Available at:  (Accessed: December 9, 2022). 


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