Prominent Korean Architect Designing Warm and Playful Spaces for Children With Wood

By: Tai Jeong

Country Director, Canada Wood Korea

‘Nature Play Garden’ project is under construction in Naepo New Town, a small community located 120km from Seoul. The project is scheduled to open in early 2022. The site area is 13,223m2 and the total building area is 3,972m2. The total construction cost is about CAD$19.8 billion.  Wood is an integral aspect of the project theme.

Site plans and perspective images of the Nature Play Garden (source: Sosol Architects)

Developers expect the Nature Play Garden to welcome 100,000 visitors annually.  It consists of 9 buildings, including experiential pavilions, tree houses, woodworking and ceramics workshops, and a children’s library. The buildings are designed in ways that provide kids with easy access to nature, support their natural curiosity, inspire creativity, and incorporate a number of considerations for healthy development. The main systems employed are lightweight wood frame construction using SPF dimension lumber and heavy wood structural frames using engineered wood products.

Mr. Wang, the chief architect of Sosol Architects, who supervised the overall design work, said, “No one will deny that wood is an environmentally friendly material. Children are the owners of all facilities in the Nature Play Garden. Children who visit this place will experience nature programming within buildings constructed entirely from natural materials. There is no other material better than wood to create an eco-friendly and warm indoor environment.”

Mr. Wang has a long and distinguished architectural career and his portfolio includes some of the best wood building designs in Korea including the Suyu Social Housing building in Seoul, a Canada Wood demonstration project.