The Ho-Am Prize is kind of like the Nobel Prize, if the Nobel Prize was funded by Samsung and exclusively for Koreans. Established in 1990 and named for Samsung’s founder, Ho-Am Prizes are awarded annually to high-achieving Koreans in five fields: science, engineering, medicine, the arts, and community service. For the first time, the Ho Am Prize in the arts has been awarded to an architect, Kyu Sung Woo, principal of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Kyu Sung Woo Architects.
Woo’s completed projects in the United States include the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kansas; the Heller School at Brandeis University; and the Arts of Korea Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among his current projects is the new 1.4 million-square-foot Asian Culture Complex in Gwangju, Korea. At a ceremony last month in Seoul, Woo was presented with a gold medal, laureate diploma, and check for 200 million Korean won (about $200,000), joining the ranks of Ho-Am arts laureates past, including painter Lee Ufan and video artist Nam-June Paik.