Seattle-based Olson Kundig Architects was in charge of designing the distinctive 15-story office headquarters of luxury clothing retailer Shinsegae International, in the heart of Seoul's Gangnam-gu district. Over the last couple of years, the tower — which was completed in May 2015 — has won accolades in competitions like the 2015 AIA Seattle Awards and most recently in the 2017 American Architecture Awards in the Skyscraper/High Rise category.
On a different note, Olson Kundig's Sawmill Canyon Retreat in California was recognized in the AIA's 2017 Housing Awards.
Olson Kundig shared more details about the Shinsegae International project with Bustler. Scroll down for a look.
“The commercial flagship unites more than five hundred Shinsegae employees, who were previously spread between several buildings throughout the city. The program includes staff offices, meeting spaces, design studios, a rooftop garden, and ground-level retail space that faces onto a public plaza.”
“The design concept for the new headquarters is derived from three themes: 1) fashion – evident by the moveable facade and the crafted aesthetic of its construction, which reflect the ever changing nature of the fashion industry; 2) experience – the building can morph and change, inviting a sense of surprise and emotional engagement with the structure; and 3) the unexpected – the building defies the conformity of traditional glass towers by incorporating a fresh visual play of scale, hierarchy and proportion within the design of its highly efficient envelope.
Movement and materiality are particularly evident within the building’s first four floors where seven custom eight-foot- diameter steel wheels open and close a series of custom 35-foot-tall external panels that modulate natural daylight. The dynamic ethos of the fashion world is captured in these kinetic components: each time the panels are engaged in a new configuration, the building’s presence is altered anew.”
“The building is visually divided into two portions – the lower portion relates to the lively motion and interaction happening on the street, while the upper portion relates to the larger urban context of the Gangnam-gu neighborhood [...]
The atypical façade treatment of the upper portion of the building employs a major/minor envelope grid that defies the expected floor breakup, resulting in a more pleasing proportion than the typical high-rise tower seen elsewhere in this urban context. The rooftop garden provides a sky-level retreat for employees.”
“The high-performance custom-designed façade is a direct response to the client’s desire for a unique corporate flagship that departs from the traditional look-and-feel of modern commercial buildings. Designed to meet Korea’s progressive energy codes, which were more rigorous than the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® standards, the building’s skin incorporates a range of technologies that reduce heat gain while optimizing thermal comfort and maximizing natural daylight all year round. Each component of the gridded façade contributes to the structural fidelity of the building as much as its unique aesthetic, which evokes a sense of woven material or tapestry— a nod to the fashion industry.”
In case you missed it, see more of the winning American Architecture Awards projects or more of Olson Kundig's work in the links below.
All photos and quoted text courtesy of Olson Kundig Architects.
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