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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Sejong Center, Seoul Jongno-gu: King Sejong loves modern cultural arts.


Sejong Center for the Performing Arts (Hanja/Romanization: 世宗文化會館/Sejong Munhwa Hoegwan) is the largest arts and cultural complex in 175 Sejong Boulevard/Sejong-daero, Sejongno 81-3 beonji, Seoul Jongno-gu, South Korea. It has an interior area of 53,202m². It is situated in the center of the capital, on Sejongno, a main road that cuts through the capital city of the Joseon Dynasty. The center took 4 years to complete, opening its doors in 1978. It was "built as a cultural center for Seoulites." It currently is home to the biggest pipe organ in Asia.

After the Seoul National Hall was destroyed by fire in 1972, the City Council of Seoul commissioned the construction of a venue to continue the cultural heritage of that structure. Built in 1978, commissioned by the City of Seoul, Sejong Center was largely unsupported financially for 20 years, being under the control of the Special City of Seoul. In 1999, the center was placed under control of a foundation governed by civilians whose passion for the arts fueled its massive newfound success.

The center's design was based on a fusion of Korean national symbols and the western architectural designs. The name "Sejong" is from the 4th ruling King of the Joseon Dynasty, Sejong the Great.

On 23 September 2012, the Seoul Metropolitan Government started on a trial basis, a 550-m designated section of Sejong-daero as pedestrian-only but permitted for cyclists. The section includes the road from the Gwanghwamun three-way intersection, along Gwanghwamun Plaza in front of the Sejong Center to the Sejong-ro intersection.

A world-class performing arts center, Sejong Center is the largest cultural arts complex in Seoul. Since its opening in 1978, it has been dedicated to the preservation and celebration of authentic Korean art, enriching the lives of Seoul citizens. After going through renovations in 2007 the Sejong Center reopened with new facilities and is now comprised of the Grand Theater, M Theater, Sejong Chamber Hall, art gallery, and other spaces to accommodate various kinds of performances and exhibitions.

The Grand Theater of Sejong Center (occ. 3,022), the center’s main performance venue, houses the largest pipe organ in Asia and a majestic stage that can be transformed to accommodate any type of performance (concerts, plays, ballets, movies, etc.). The theater also comes equipped with computer-controlled lighting and audio systems, which allow for precision staging.

M Theater can seat up to 609 people on its three floors and boasts a relatively large stage (capacity: 100 performers) compared to the theater’s small size.

Subsidiary facilities at the Sejong Center include an art shop, conference rooms for artists, and many spacious lounges where people can relax. The Sejong Center is worth visiting not only for an exhibition or performance, but also just to take a look around.