The Old Seoul City Hall, now the Seoul Metropolitan Library, is a Renaissance style building that served as the city hall of Seoul from 1945 until 2008. After over four years of construction, the new city hall building opened on August 27, 2012. The building was slated for demolition multiple times but was saved because of its historical importance. It has now been converted to the Seoul Metropolitan Library.
When built in 1926, the building was known as the Gyeongseong Municipal Government Building. At this time, Korea was under the occupation of Japan.
After the liberation in 1945, the building was used as the city hall of Seoul. It was used for this purpose until the construction of the new and modern city hall in 2008.
The old building is Renaissance in style with some characteristics of modern architecture. Over the years, the building has gone through multiple renovations. Much of the exterior and interior has since been changed but the top of the building, the simple facade, the entrance, and the central hall have retained their original appearance. This allows visitors to view the look of architecture at the time.
The Seoul Metropolitan Library is now located inside the Old City Hall building. visitors here will find over 200,000 books and documents that describe the history of Seoul including urban and transportation planning, administration, and environmental issues.
The Mayor’s Office was the main office of the mayor of Seoul for 60 years from 1945 to May, 2008. The office is located at the center of the 3rd floor of the city hall building. It was here where the mayor would perform important day to day functions which helped lead the city. He would also receive briefings and discuss important matters with officials in this office.
The Planning and Situation Room is where meetings and important policies were discussed between the mayor, city officials, experts, citizens, and foreign visitors. Many major decisions were made in this room.
The Reception Room is where the mayor would receive both domestic and international guests. In this room, many important ceremonies were held including the signing of important documents, presentations of awards, and where ambassadors and citizens were appointed and honored.
The City Hall Traces Exhibition Room is an interesting display describing the construction of the building. Displays show what materials were used and how the walls, inner walls, roof, floor, ceiling, dome, spire, windows, and doors were constructed.
The Seoul Document Collections holds 30,000 volumes of data related to the administration and policies of Seoul.
The Seoul Archival Services holds the original copy of the major civic affair records and many handwritten, typed, and digital documents related to history and progress of Seoul
Other collections include the General Collections, Global Collections, Disability Collections, and Digital Collections.
Located in front of the old Seoul City Hall is Seoul Plaza.