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Architecture for an altruistic life
  • Writer : KU Today
  • Hits : 1566
  • Date : 2019-02-20

Architecture for an altruistic Life


The Haesong Law Library 

“Every time I stand on that road, I come to realize what unexpectedly beautiful scenes our mundane lives can create. Architecture is not something made by an architect, but is finalized by those living there,” said architect Seung Hyo-sang. If architecture were completed by people living in the space, the scheme and philosophy of architecture could be something like a pillar propping up the entire space. Just as a deep-rooted tree is not shaken with the wind, understanding the fundamental meaning that the space should carry is related to building solid pillars for the space. Even after a hundred or a thousand years, the meaning and spirit embedded in architecture do not vanish.

Haesong Law Library, Runway for the KU College of Law to Take its Second Leap

The Haesong Law Library, opened in March of 2007, was built based on a donation of KRW 3.1 billion from Cheong Yoo-geun (Department of Public Administration, ‘67), CEO of Daeyang Shipping. The KU College of Law proposed a plan to build its own library so that it could pave a way for the foundation of a law school, but it lacked the funds to complete the project. Chae Isik, then Dean of the College and one of the professors at the Department Law, contacted his long-time friend, Mr. Cheong. To support his alma mater, Cheong donated a total of KRW 3.1 billion in 2004 and 2007. According to his acquaintances, Cheong was known for his frugality. His principle for business was all about saving. The shipping industry was thriving at the time; even so, it was not an easy decision to make to donate such a large sum of money to the school. Thanks to Cheong’s selfless support, the university was able to lay a foundation to be developed as one of the leading law schools in Korea.

Moonsook Medical Science Hall Based on Unconditional Mother’s Love

▲The Moonsook Medical Science Hall

A farm was transformed into an incubator for basic medicine studies at Korea University, giving birth to the Moonsook Medical Science Hall. Moon Sook lost her second son, Lee Myeong-hoon (Department of Agriculture, ’76), 35 years ago due to an unexpected accident. Since then, she has continued her donation through the KU scholarship foundation. In 2012, she decided to donate her farmland, worth KRW 6.7 billion, to the university, laying the foundation for the construction of the hall. Korea University decided to use the donation funds to basic medicine research and started to build a seven-story research building. The construction was completed in March of 2014, and the building was named after its benefactor.

In 1979, Madame Moon established a scholarship foundation named after her deceased son, offering financial support to 245 students for 35 years. The Moonsook Medical Science Hall built in her honor was designed to maximize the effect of combining research and education in one place. With an objective to facilitate basic medical research, the building accommodates various labs and seminar rooms including classrooms for preventive medicine studies, biochemistry, anatomy, microbiology and physiology. The building’s special laboratories set it apart from other buildings at the College of Medicine, which houses classrooms and professors’ offices.

Uncho-Useoun Hall, Home of the Fairy and the Lumberjack

▲The lobby of the Uncho-Useoun Hall

Currently housing the College of Education, the Uncho-Useoun Hall was built thanks to support from Park Yang-sook, who donated KRW 10 billion in 2007 as part of the university development fund. The design work for the building began in 2006, but due to the insufficiency of funds, the construction project faced unexpected delays. Madame Park’s donation rekindled the project.


The name of the building, Uncho-Useoun, comprises the pen names of Madame Park and her husband, Dr. Cheong Young-ho. 

▲A relievo of Dr. Cheong Young-ho and Park Yang-sook, the benefactors of the Uncho-Useoun Hall


Uncho Cheong Young-ho, a leading expert in freshwater algae and a botanist, worked as a professor at Seoul National University from 1953 to 1989. The first word, Un, from his pen name stands for the scent of grass and the second word, Cho, means firewood. Madame Park’s pen name, Useoun, means “and a fairy.” If interpreted in a poetic way, Uncho-Useoun Hall is a house built by an altruistic fairy and lumberjack who wanted to share their wealth with young students, with no strings attached. At the 2010 completion ceremony for the Uncho-Useoun Hall, Madame Park addressed the participants. During her congratulatory remarks, she asked the president of the university to take good care of students so that they could one day become global leaders for the future.

Woodang Hall and Mediheal Earth Environment Hall Supported by Alumni

▲Woodang Park Jong-gu Lounge at Woodang Hall

The Woodang Park Jong-gu Lounge, located at the lobby on the first of Woodang Hall, is a sort of café for students to study and gather for group meetings. Park Jong-gu (Department of Politics, ’51), serving as the 26th and 27th alumni president, donated KRW 12 billion to his alma mater in 2000 during his presidency. His gift made a great contribution to the demolition of the existing building and construction of a new one. When the new building was complete in September of 2003, Korea University named it after Mr. Park’s pen name. The lounge on the first floor was made in 2016 to provide students with a better learning environment.

▲A bird’s-eye view of the Mediheal Earth Environment Hall 

Kwon Oh-sub (Department of Geology, ’78), President of L&P Cosmetics Co., Ltd., also donated KRW 12 billion to the university. President Kwon, whose high-quality facial mask products are popular all over the world, wanted the funds to be used for students at College of Science. He had always thought that he wanted to do something for students at his alma mater. After his first major success in 2016, he did not hesitate a second to make a donation. In January, 2018, Korea University held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Mediheal Earth Environment Hall, and construction is currently underway. Aimed at helping with future predictions for the Earth and solving environmental issues, the building has been designed under the concepts of land environment (frame and skin), water environment (change and flow), and atmospheric environment (emptying and circulation). Its futuristic exterior is meant to embody the spirit of challenge and vision for the future.


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