The Busan Cinema Centre in Busan, South Korea is a vibrant multi-functional urban plaza, created as “a new intersection between public space, cultural programs, entertainment, technology, and architecture.”

Coop Himmelb(l)au, based out of Los Angeles & Vienna, won the design competition, designing a 4000-seat outdoor cinema nestled between two halves of the building, with steel and glass LED roofs, one cantilevered measuring 85m end to end. The roofs acts as a “vitual sky” uniting program zones into one continuous multi-functional space. The dynamic roof acts as a platform to communicate the content structure. “Light as art, which is at the very nature of cinema,” as stated by Dezeen Magazine.

“The basic concept of this project was the discourse about the overlapping of open and closed spaces and of public and private areas,” said Wolf D. Prix, Principal of Coop Himmelb(l)au.

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The concept envisions overlapping zones including the three buildings: Cine Mountain, Biff Hill, and Double Cone with Urban Valley, Red Carpet, Walk of Fame, and BIFF Canal Park. The main roof covers the Memorial Court event plaza. The buildings are linked in indoor/outdoor spaces and contain theater, indoor and outdoor cinemas, convention halls, office spaces, creative studios and dining areas.

Materiality creates dialogue between ‘ceiling’ and ‘floor’ planes, respectively stone-clad walls and the metal and LED clad roofs. The Double Cone acts as the Red Carpet entrance (both figuratively and literally), while connecting Cinema Mountain and BIFF Hill and the only vertical structural support for the large cantilevered roof acting as a large, singular column. Between the two, sheltered by the roof, the Urban Valley combines a multi-purpose ground space with the 4,000 seat Outdoor Cinema on BIFF Hill. The Valley orients toward a flexible stage and screen area, with accommodations for purpose built screens, stages, speaker and lighting array, on the Eastern facade of Cinema Mountain.

Cinema Mountain houses the 1,000seat multi-functional theater and three-screen 800seat multiplex. Entrances to the theater and cinema are separate, with circulation designed to allow combination depending on use, with structural separation ensuring optimal noise isolation for the theater space.

BIFF Hill houses convention hall, BIFF-center, BIFF-offices and visual media center. During the Busan International Film Festival, or other special events, a Red Carpet Zone is created with drop-off and media-processional entrance at the Double Cone. The spiral ramp leads from staging level to VIP restaurant lounge of the upper roof or upper levels of BIFF Hill and Cinema Mountain.

BIFF Canal Park is a proposed extension of the nearby riverside park to the cinema, with a pedestrian footbridge to connect the Busan Cinema Center site with the park across the Boulevard to the South and an outdoor event ‘bowl’ surrounded by canals for boat access.


construction: 2005-2011

32,1037m² land area // 57,981m² gross floor area (B1-9F)

6,800 visitors // 507 parking spaces

Roof is the largest in the world (60 x 120 meters) at 2.6x a soccer field with 42,600 LED’s

Roofs designed to endure earthquakes as high as 7.0 on the Richter scale, winds up to 65 meters per second, and snowfall of up to one meter.


Busan Cinema Center Home Page
Dezeen Article
Wolf D. Prix Interview on the Design
Construction Pictures and Forum
Wolf D. Prix YouTube Channel

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