The SaRang Global Mission Center was established as a place for the large community of SaRang Church to gather for weekly services, while reinforcing the church’s vision (to send missionaries all over the world) and mission (to reach out to the surrounding local community). Along with the construction of the new building, there were plans to erect a more traditional bell and clock tower on the campus.
YiEUM Partners was tasked with creating storytelling elements and a design and implementation plan for the clock tower, while overseeing the construction and fabrication process to ensure the project would be completed accurately. Utilizing the four sides of the tower, the YiEUM Partners designers saw the need to represent all the nations of the earth in a meaningful way to align with the church’s mission.
The design team began by categorizing the world into four distinct sections and arranged for each country’s name to appear in both Korean and English text. Next, they strategically placed and emphasized the key nations where SaRang Church conducts regular outreach through local campuses. The national borders of all countries listed were also included in the archway directly above each gate, connected by a series of horizontal lines to signify the interconnectedness of all nations listed on the tower.
By superimposing the notable landmarks, the YiEUM Partners design team were able to redact some lines while enhancing others to create a motif that would artistically and authentically represent all of the countries named on each gate, while preserving a degree of recognition of those landmarks. This motif became the canvas upon which the names and borders of all countries were displayed. As such, the gates at the base of the clock tower were named “Doors to All Nations” in order to represent the church’s desire to conduct outreach across the globe.
Finally, the cross at the top of the tower was designed by YiEUM Partners in a non-traditional way to connect it to the design intent of the facility; the SaRang campus building above ground wraps around a central plaza in a way that offers a “hug” to incoming visitors as they enter the building.
The materials used in the construction of the tower were carefully selected to combine red clay bricks (representing the former red-brick building) and rough textured travertine tiles, which connected it to the new site and added a feeling of sturdiness not attainable with a smooth finish. Each gate’s text and graphic elements were laser cut from solid one-inch sheets of textured anodized aluminum and were installed on either side of a steel frame to create depth, preserve legibility and enhance the underlying graphics.
The clock and bell tower of SaRang has received much attention and admiration not only from the congregation, but from those in the community, media and international collaborators and visitors of SaRang Church. Each week, thousands of people can be seen taking pictures with the tower in the background and it has since served as the backdrop for hundreds of local news reports as well as a filming site for several TV dramas.
"Highly intricate form and content juxtaposed to tell a compelling story of global unification."
"Just really beautiful design with a really beautiful execution. Simple, elegant and contextual design at its best."
YiEUM Partners, Inc. Team: Jangwon Ahn (principal in charge, chief designer); Dongchan Seo (project manager); Daeho Kim (chief environmental designer); Eunji Kim, Changsuk Yoo, Sujin Park, Sunyoung Kook, Jungwoo Yang, Inkun Yoo (designers)
SaRang Church Placemaking and Identity Task Force Team: Jangwon Ahn, Changrok Kim, Youngwoo Kim, Jaeyoung Han, Yongjun Choi, Youngeun Park, Chun Kim, Jingi Hong, Haengchun Kim (placemaking consultants)
Cheil Advertising and Design (architect), The Beck Group (landscape architect, construction design), Gansam Architects & Partners (landscape architect, engineering), Gansam Architects & Partners (engineering)
Cheil Advertising and Design (primary fabrication and construction), Unique Works (fabricator)