OWL Magazine Korea

Seoul Jongno “Gongpyeong Urban Relic Exhibition Hall”

If you head north from Jonggak Station, where Seoul’s Bosingak is located, you can find the “Gongpyeong Urban Relic Exhibition Hall.” This exhibition hall is a small museum currently located inside a building.

It serves as both a free exhibition hall and a museum located in the underground of the Centro Polis building.

“Gongpyeong Urban Relic Exhibition Hall”

In the process of carrying out the 2015 urban environmental improvement project in Gongpyeong 1, 2, and 4 districts, the alleys and building sites of Seoul, a city that spans from Joseon Hanyang to modern-day Gyeongseong, were thoroughly excavated. In response, the city of Seoul aimed to preserve urban relics and memories in their original locations and established the Gongpyeong Urban Relic Exhibition Hall, which opened on September 12, 2018. This is the first case applying the “Gongpyeong Rule,” which prioritizes the complete preservation of cultural properties in their original locations during urban development projects.

The Gongpyeong Rule emphasizes the principle of ‘complete preservation in the original location’ for cultural properties excavated during urban development projects. Accordingly, during project implementation, awareness of the need for the complete preservation of cultural properties was instilled, leading to architectural designs that consider these cultural properties. Incentives, in the form of floor area ratio bonuses, were provided based on the preserved area of cultural properties, encouraging voluntary participation by project implementers. Additionally, guidelines for relic exhibition hall development were presented, and after consultation with Seoul’s chief architect, the resulting exhibition hall is operated by the city.

“From Early Joseon to the Japanese Occupation Era…”

Through excavation surveys conducted from 2014 to 2015, a total of 108 building sites, streets, and over 1,000 artifacts from various periods, spanning from early Joseon to the Japanese occupation era, were confirmed. Among them, the 16th to 17th-century Culture Layer IV, in the most intact state, was relocated and restored within the exhibition hall.

The 3 core contents of this exhibit include reduced-scale models of the Double-Dwelling House, Cross-shaped Alley House, and Small House on Imunangil, as well as various exhibition techniques such as 1/10 scale models, VR experiences, and 1:1 restored models on excavated relics. These methods vividly showcase the appearance of Hanyang in the 16th to 17th centuries. Additionally, confirming the alleyways used from the Joseon era to modern times, visitors can experience the feeling of being in the Joseon era by walking through Imunangil and Double-Dwelling Alley.

“How to Get to the Gongpyeong Urban Relic Exhibition Hall”

The Gongpyeong Urban Relic Exhibition Hall is located in the underground area of the Centro Polis building, with a separate entrance for visitors. You can find the entrance to the exhibition hall on the north side of the Centro Polis building.

Exhibition viewing is free, and it is open every day from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, with the last admission at 5:30 PM. The exhibition hall is closed every Monday and on New Year’s Day and Lunar New Year.

“Gongpyeong Urban Relic Exhibition Hall Interpretation Services”

The Gongpyeong Urban Relic Exhibition Hall provides interpretation services. Interpretation is offered free of charge, with a duration of 40 minutes. Visitors can make reservations online or apply on-site. The interpretation capacity is 15 people, and on-site applications are accepted for three sessions: 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 4:00 PM.

As an urban relic exhibition hall, it doesn’t involve the restoration of buildings; instead, it tidies up the sites where buildings once stood and provides explanations. While there may be a relative lack of visually stunning buildings, the space is impressive in how it exhibits and preserves historical aspects alongside new constructions.

“Seoul Jongno Gongpyeong Urban Relic Exhibition Hall”

  • Address: 26 Ujeongguk-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul, B1
  • Phone: 02-724-0135