SAMOO Architects and Thomas Balsley Associates received first place in the international design competition for a new Korean Cultural Center. The collaboration blends indoor and outdoor spaces including two rooftop terraces that celebrate traditional Korean beauty and advanced Korean technology through contemporary translations of the Korean garden. Korean stone masons and folk potters helped develop custom freestanding stone walls and Onggi-ware fountains inspired by the clay pickling jars used to make kimchi and which are ubiquitous with Korean cooking. Timber decks with stone seats and flowering shrubs frame a giant, dynamic media wall displaying images of famous Korean gardens. Contorted Korean Pines, Korea’s national tree, hold a prominent position in the landscape and contrast with the clean lines of the contemporary spaces. The new Korean Cultural Center experience will be expanded and enriched with a seamless transition into a series of urban gardens in the sky.
Thomas Balsley was selected by the New York Times as the only landscape architect in a cast of world-renowned architects to participate in the NY Times Capsule Design Competition. Mr. Balsley’s submission was selected as a finalist, exhibited, and published in the NY Times Magazine’s final series on the Millennium.
National Ecological Center
The threat of global warming prompted the government of Korea to develop the country’s first national center of ecological research. After selecting a site, the government conducted an international design competition, in which the team of Samoo Architects and Thomas Balsley Associates won first prize. This 189-acre park will combine public and private researc...
Magok Waterfront Park
As one of the six mega-project sites known as the Han River Renaissance Plan, the city of Seoul Korea is transforming the 300-acre Magok site of ex-urban sprawl and marginally productive agricultural land into a new major metropolitan park thematically focusing on history and nature. With over 300 entries worldwide Thomas Balsley Associates, in collaboration w...
Cornerstone Garden Festival Selected Entry
The deep forest is nature’s supreme garden, sacred ground filled with the sights and sounds of life. Our native forests have been the sites of a 200-year-old clearing party whose hangover is still being felt. Very few of us have witnessed these sites to sense the magnitude of their destruction or their rebirth as represented by masses of seedlings, in a strugg...