SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Korea Bizwire) – The government said Tuesday it will construct a multipurpose cultural facility where foreigners can experience traditional Korean culture in Seoul’s city center.
The facility, named the “K-Experience,” will be located next to Gyeongbok Palace, at the former site of a residential building for the U.S. Embassy.
Separately, the gymnastics stadium in Seoul’s Olympic Park will be transformed into an outdoor K-pop concert hall with 15,000 seats by 2017, the government said.
These were included in a comprehensive plan announced by Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Kim Jong-deok to outline the path of the Park Geun-hye government’s cultural policies for the second half of her term.
“We hope to contribute to rediscovering the value of traditional Korean culture by combining it with state-of-the-art technologies,” Kim said of the K-Experience during a news conference in Seoul.
The envisioned facility, to be constructed in cooperation with the Korean Air Lines, is part of the government’s program to establish a culturally thriving country by building major infrastructure.
“We plan to make it into a building of four or five stories and complete the first phase of the construction by 2017,” said Cho Seong-bae, an executive director of the country’s top air carrier, during the conference.
The company bought the former site of a residential building for the U.S. Embassy to build a luxury hotel in 2008. The land, however, has remained vacant for over seven years due to the current law banning construction of tourist hotels in the vicinity of schools. There are three schools near the site.
“K-Experience will make full use of the 36,000 square meters of land,” Cho said. “No lodging facilities will be included.”
The carrier said the facility will have a space where visitors can see Korean master artisans working on their craft and buy the products as well as a theater, an exhibition hall, restaurants, cafes and a parking lot. But Cho refused to give further details, saying it is too early to say for sure.
The government also said it will inject about 48 billion won (US$40.53 million) into a project to create a 15,000-seat outdoor performance hall through the remodeling of the gymnastics stadium in Seoul’s Olympic Park by 2017.
The facility will be equipped with illumination, sound and other devices necessary for K-pop concerts or sports events, officials said.
Under the comprehensive plan, the ministry vowed more efforts to increase the world’s awareness of Korean cultural heritage and citizens’ exposure to cultural experiences and to support creators of cultural contents with measures to make South Korea a cultural power.