– By Dominique Perraultv

Flying is the best way to reach the shores of Seoul Ewha University’s newbuilding, founded in 1886. Ewha welcomes 22,000 female students and is ranked as one of the best universities in the world, thought and realised by Dominique Perrault, as a result of an international architecture competition.

A landscape then, more than an architecture work, it is located in the midst of Seoul’s university area; a campus valley where nature, sport grounds, event locations and educational buildings mix, intermingle and follow one another. It comprises of a long asphalted strip, delineated at one end by a racetrack, and, completely surrounded by nature – arranged nature where pear trees and topiary reign. Here, black asphalt, red racetrack, green nature and finally the white brightness of a valley appears. A valley, which is bravely drawn in the ground, slides down along a gentle slope. At the other end, the slope becomes a huge stairway, which can be used as an open-air amphitheatre if necessary.

At the very heart of the valley, a dreamlike immersion takes place. Opposed to the outdoor world, a subtle and serene universe appears suddenly. Classrooms and libraries, amphitheatres and auditoriums, shops and movement… Everything follows up with a constant natural light.

Perrault has the desire, physically speaking, to appropriate the territory, to mingle the constructed material with the ground, the desire to exploit to its paroxysm the idea that “concept and matter have to grapple one with another”.

At Ewha University, Perrault puts one more time in action: words, principles and commitments, which best qualify his architecture.