Space for cultural events eyed for Blue House after public opening
The Blue House, Korea's presidential office, surrounded by vast green areas in the heart of Seoul, will likely turn into a space for various cultural events as well as a public park under President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's incoming government, transition team officials said Thursday.
Yoon's transition team is considering transforming the Blue House into a space for K-pop and Korean traditional music performances and various other cultural events, the officials said.
Yoon has vowed to relocate the presidential office to Yongsan, central Seoul, and return the Blue House compound to citizens after his May 10 inauguration.
The Blue House, situated at the foot of Mount Bukak behind the Gyeongbok Palace, the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), has been the venue of the presidential office and residence for the past 74 years after the South Korean government was established in 1948.
The 250,000-square-meter (62 acres) compound is 3.4 times larger than the White House.
"The Blue House will be completely opened to the public and refurbished after Yoon's inauguration," a transition team official said. "In particular, the space will be used for cultural events, such as joint performances of K-pop and Korean traditional music," the official said.
The transition committee plans to convert the Blue House’s open spaces into those for performances, exhibitions and people's physical activities, among others, according to the officials.
It also plans to develop various walking trails for the public in and around the Blue House, while trying to keep its main buildings and facilities intact, they said.
The construction of a contemporary history hall where visitors can learn about the experiences of former presidents and a historical and cultural space with the theme of the Korean alphabet, hangul, will be under consideration, they added.
The state-run Korea Culture & Tourism Institute has recently reported to the transition team that the opening of the Blue House to the public is expected to generate at least 200 billion won ($165 million) in economic effects per year.