Forest of Light in Gwangju, Korea is Asia’s largest culture center

Work on creating Asia’s largest cultural facility is finally complete. The Forest of Light in Gwangju, South Korea is part of the Korean government’s major economic plan to revive the historically important, but economically stagnant city.

Located on the site of the 1980 democratic uprisings, the 30-acre complex houses five agencies dedicated to creation, distribution, and consumption of cultural content (including studios, theaters, museums, and offices), together with a major public green space.

Designed by Boston-based Kyu Sung Woo Architects, much of the complex is underground and covered by a rooftop park, which acts as an urban lung, as well as a civic space for a wide range of events.

The design preserved historic buildings, giving them new functions through adaptive reuse, while the architects incorporated natural light in the underground facilities with more than 70 skylights, which glow like lanterns at night.