The Challenge Museum

Designed together with UNStudio, Amsterdam, 2018 and rendered by

Challenge Museum in South Korea creates an immersive and participatory experience for visitors, where exhibition and architecture blend with each other and with surrounding nature.

The building's mass and general site approach contrasts with urban conditions and provides restful, flexible outdoor spaces that encourage community engagement. With a compulsory two minute walk through farmland, the approach to the museum creates a grounded, organic experience for visitors, allowing them to feel connected with the earth.

The building program is distributed over three floor levels. At the entrance to the building, visitors are guided towards an introductory space and then onward towards the exhibition floors. The museum unfolds itself above and below the visitor through a sequence of immersive Marine and Celestial spheres. These spheres overlap with one another throughout the museum, allowing users to explore the skies above them and the sea below through sceographic storytelling. 

The ground floor has a focus on educational and public programmes. It has a porous design approach, with a porous facade that connects with the outdoor farm. The exhibition continues through to the second floor, with open views on the surrounding landscape, with the main body of the exhibition located on the third floor. Finally, the roof terrace connects the visitors again to the outdoors. 

The museum provides a singular place for people to reflect on their own interests and talents and to imagine, with a fresh perspective, how they might step back out in the surrounding gardens and further into the wider world to become a pioneer that will create a meaningful positive impact.


Dongwon Industries Co


Janghowon-eup, Icheon City, Gyeonggi Province


Exhibition, Education, Entertainment


Competition entry

Building surface:


Building site:

Team: Ben van Berkel with Arjan Dingste and Juergen Heinzel, Ergin Birinci, Bogdan Chipara, Ren Yee, Alice Haugh