Busan Cinema Center / Busan International Film Festival, Busan, South Korea (2005 – 2012)

The Busan Cinema Center – A multifunctional urban plaza

COOP HIMMELB(L)AU’s design for the Busan Cinema Center and home of the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) provides a new intersection between public space, cultural programs, entertainment, technology and architecture creating a vibrant landmark within the urban landscape.

LED saturated outdoor roof elements acting as a virtual sky connect building-objects and plaza-zones into a continuous, multifunctional public urban space.

Media, technology, entertainment and leisure are merged in an open-architecture of changeable and tailored event experiences. The result is a responsive and changing space of flows acting as an urban catalyst for cultural exchange and transformation.



Project Description

The concept envisions an urban plaza of overlapping zones including an Urban Valley, a Red Carpet Zone, a Walk of Fame and the BIFF Canal Park. The urban plaza is formed by building and plaza elements sheltered by two large roofs that are enabled with computer programmed LED outdoor ceiling surfaces. The larger of the roofs includes a column-free cantilever of 85 meters over a multifunctional Memorial Court event plaza. The urban zones of the complex are formed by individual and recognizable building objects placed below the outdoor roofs. The building objects contain theater, indoor and outdoor cinemas, convention halls, office spaces, creative studios and dining areas in a mixture of sheltered and linked indoor and outdoor public spaces. The design of these spaces supports flexible, hybrid functionality that can be used both during the annual festival period and day-to-day use without interruption.

The urban zones defined by functional surfaces in plan are further articulated in a sectional dialogue between stone-clad “ground” forms of the Cinema Mountain and BIFF Hill, and the metal and LED clad “sky” elements of the roofs. The materiality of the building objects differentiates the spaces and articulates the architectural concept. Through their shape, placement and materiality, the various parts create a dynamic and informal tension between the ground and the roof.

Architecture and Cinema – the Main Roof

The dynamic LED lighting surface covering the undulating ceilings of the outdoor roof canopies gives the Busan Cinema Center its symbolic and representative iconographic feature. Artistic lighting programs tailored to events of the BIFF or the Municipality of Busan can be created by visual artists and displayed across the ceiling in full motion graphics, creating a lively urban situation at night, but also visible during the day.

Cinema Mountain

The Cinema Mountain is a multifunctional building containing both a 1,000 seat multifunctional theater with fly-tower and full backstage support, and a three-screen multiplex comprised of a 400-seat and two 200-seat Cinemas. Separate entrances and foyers are provided for theater and cinema respectively, however the foyers and circulation are designed so that they can be combined depending on operational preferences.

Complete structural separation between the theater and the cinemas ensures optimal noise isolation for the theater space, which is designed as a first-class, flexible hall with seating on two levels and optimal sight lines and adjustable acoustics. A flexible proscenium type stage with side stages and fly-tower accommodates movable acoustical towers used to close down the stage volume for concerts and operatic theater, but can be easily moved for theater, musicals and other staged events. The stage includes a fore-stage lift that can provide additional seating, an orchestra pit or stage extension as preferred. Horizontally tracking curtains along the walls of the audience chamber can be hidden or deployed to adjust the acoustics of the space.



BIFF Canal Park

The BIFF Canal Park is proposed as an extension of the open network of public programs into the planned riverside park, and as a linking element between the river and the cinema complex. A new pedestrian footbridge is proposed to connect the Busan Cinema Center site with the park across the Boulevard to the South connecting the Double Cone with the APEC Park. An additional outdoor event ‘bowl’ is proposed surrounded by canals that can provide public and private boat access to the project site. Space for a future extension of the Busan Cinema Center project is proposed as an island among the canals, further integrating the cultural functions of the Busan Cinema Center project with the surrounding public space and landscape environment.

Site Area: 32,100 m²
Net Floor Area (interior spaces): 51,067 m²
Gross Floor Area (interior spaces): 57,981 m²
Built-up Area: 10,005 m² (without roofs)
Cubage: 349,708 m³

Coop Himmelblau










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