The first Catholic medical center in Korea, “Catholic Center”
The Catholic Medical Center was opened in 1936 with 25 beds in a wooden two-story building, and three years later, it was renamed “Myeongdong St. Mary’s Hospital.” It is now called the Catholic Center and is located at the intersection of Samil-ro and Myeongdong-gil, a street bustling with 1.5 million people every day.
The initial purpose of the center, which had long been the façade of Myeong-dong along with Myeong-dong Cathedral, was to serve as Myeongdong St. Mary’s Hospital, the nation’s first catholic hospital. It was also the first building to use aluminum curtain walls in Korea. The curtain walls were made by folding aluminum plates (for the inner walls of the partitions) by hand on the construction site. In 1961, a new hospital, featuring 75 curtain wall units and 300 beds, was completed. And in 1966, an annex building was built next to the main building, but later on, the hospital was relocated to Yeouido, after having stood in Myeong-dong for 50 years. Since then, the building has been transformed into a catholic center filled with offices and other facilities. The modern design of the old St. Mary’s Hospital contrasts with Myeong-dong Cathedral, and its original architecture has been relatively well preserved, symbolizing the experimentalism of an architect who tried to modernize architectural technology in Korea’s past.