A modern museum built on an ancient archaeological site simultaneously conjures the future and the past.

Almost 2 million years ago, mankind began experimenting with stone tools. Sometime around then, an early human dropped (or was buried with) a hand axe. Now, where this very first Acheulian hand axe was discovered in South Korea, X-TU Architects have built a massive snake-like structure for the Jeongok Prehistory Museum.

If you’re wondering what it all means, realize that the museum is a prime example of parametric architecture, groundbreaking, computer-enabled design that champions form as much as function. The polished steel shell undulates with a rare architectural freedom, and it’s been algorithmically perforated to allow natural light in. The museum is corporeal software, glimmering in metallic flesh.

So what I see (beyond the obvious time-traveling worm monster sent from prehistory to devour modern civilization) is a juxtaposition of ancient intelligence with the most modern building design processes we have, the future built right above the past. Painstaking labor is giving way to creative automation. Mankind’s most wicked tool, the computer, is beginning to build a world itself.

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