The National Theater of Korea, the first cultural space in Namsan
Nestled at the foot of Namsan Mountain on Jangchungdan-ro, Jung-gu, the National Theater of Korea, built in the 1970s, is the first cultural space built solely with Korean technology, at a time when Korea’s economic development was at its peak. Asia’s first national theater opened on April 29, 1950; however, the Korean War broke out 58 days later and the theater was moved to Daegu during the war. On June 1, 1957, a Seoul City building was used as the national theater and named Myeongdong National Theater (the present Myeongdong Theater). In 1966, President Park Chung-Hee announced the plan for the construction of a national cultural complex centered on Namsan. Designed by the architect Lee Hee-Tae (1925~1981), the present-day National Theater of Korea in Namsan Mountain was completed nearly six years after the groundbreaking ceremony in 1967. The original plan to create a cultural complex in Namsan was revised, and only the National Theater of Korea and a traditional Korean music training center were built in the Namsan area. The National Theater of Korea features pilotis reminiscent of Gyeonghoeru in Gyeongbokgung Palace and ribbed eaves linked to the row of 14 columns, creating a rhythmic, three-dimensional effect. The Museum consists of the large Haeoreum Theater, small Daloreum Theater, versatile Beoloreum Theater, and round, outdoor Haneul Theater. As a leader in Korean performing arts, the National Theater of Korea is reaching out worldwide so that it may become a cultural leader of the future.