SongEun Artwork & Cultural Basis marks Herzog & de Meuron’s South Korean debut
Herzog & de Meuron’s South Korean debut is a triangular triumph for ST Worldwide and its SongEun Artwork & Cultural Basis in Seoul
Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron make their South Korean debut with a monolithic new workplace constructing and cultural house in Seoul that boasts an imposing triangular silhouette. The 11-storey construction sits on the crest of a broad avenue in Seoul’s bustling Gangnam district, surrounded by an array of high-end trend boutiques and flagships, together with Louis Vuitton (designed by Frank Gehry), Dolce & Gabbana (Jean Nouvel) and Dior (Christian de Portzamparc). Housing the company HQ of ST Worldwide, a Korean power and mining conglomerate, and its constituent SongEun Artwork & Cultural Basis, which operates a nonprofit artwork house, this hanging edifice is about to develop into a recent architectural landmark amid the Korean capital’s architecture and dense city material.
Rising from the road like a sheer cliff face almost 60m in peak, the south-facing entrance façade presents a steady aircraft of concrete interrupted by two lengthy, slender home windows that puncture the in any other case uniform floor. These exact incisions, the bigger of which is greater than 13m tall, intensify the verticality of the construction whereas hinting on the areas contained inside. Each corners on the backside of the façade are reduce away to create lateral recesses that function factors of entry for pedestrians and autos. As guests cross beneath the suspended mass of the constructing’s cantilevered higher flooring in the direction of the primary entrance, they emerge into an ethereal courtyard ringed by a walled backyard that separates this backyard-like house from the neighbouring plots. It’s right here that the glass-covered rear façade begins its angular ascent, receding from view because it climbs in the direction of the sharply pointed apex.
Façade contains a singular patchwork
In distinction to the extremely optimised architectural parts, sure points of the construction retain an unmistakable craft sensibility. Nowhere is that this extra obvious than the textured patchwork of intricate patterns that lends the constructing’s concrete surfaces a tactile high quality: as a substitute of utilizing mass-produced modular panels to create the formwork essential for casting concrete, builders put in a number of thousand sq. plywood boards, every of which yielded a singular imprint of its pure wooden grain on the concrete because it hardened. An ode to the which means behind the identify SongEun, which interprets as ‘hidden pine tree’, this endlessly rippling natural matrix induces a way of marvel and a visceral urge to succeed in out and contact it, imbuing this inherently inert substance with an evocative resonance.
Regardless of its iconic profile and formidable presence, Herzog & de Meuron’s design doesn’t manifest any singular aesthetic or thematic inspiration. Relatively, its kind is prescribed by its operate, because the architects clarify: ‘The triangular form outcomes from the constructing envelope specified for the location, maximising the ground space and exploiting the sculptural potential of the zoning legal guidelines.’
The constructing’s slanted rear façade dictates the inner programming of inside house; because the horizontal space of every flooring decreases as its elevation will increase, the higher eight flooring embody 2,032 sq m of workplaces whereas the exhibition areas that occupy the decrease flooring (two above floor and one underground) comprise 3,513 sq m.
Sensible design considerations additionally inform architectural choices throughout the construction. The point of interest of the ground-floor foyer is a spiralling vertical layer of concrete that carves a nautilus-shaped void out of the foyer flooring, opening onto a cavernous subterranean exhibition house two flooring beneath. Tracing the outer perimeter of this hole concrete corkscrew is a round staircase that leads upwards to a second flooring exhibition house. Extra than simply an aesthetic flourish, this distinguished design aspect additionally discloses an inevitable spatial constraint generated by the inner curvature of the parking ramp, circumscribing the gaping cavity excavated from the centre of the foyer.
SongEun constructing and its debut exhibition
To inaugurate the finished constructing, a collaborative exhibition curated by Herzog & de Meuron and the SongEun Artwork & Cultural Basis invitations the general public to discover its areas and take into account the connection between artwork and structure. The exhibition foregrounds the constructing itself, which audiences expertise by drawings and shows associated to the undertaking’s improvement, together with augmented actuality sources that provide viewers distinctive views on the undertaking’s design and development.
Elsewhere, samples of Herzog & de Meuron’s consultant works are offered within the type of pictures by Thomas Ruff and architectural fashions from the Swiss agency’s archives. A collection of video collaborations that includes Swiss artists Rémy Zaugg and René Pulfer serve to introduce extra conceptual interpretations of urbanism, panorama and reminiscence as they relate to the constructed surroundings.
Interspersed all through the exhibition are newly commissioned artworks by a collection of Korean up to date artists who reply to the structure and its website. Among the most evocative works on view comprise a photographic sequence by Jihyun Jung, who accessed the constructing website throughout all phases of development and documented its progress. An immersive architectural set up by Hoyeon Kang engages with the location’s historical past, reproducing a typical Korean workplace lounge inside that may have been discovered within the earlier constructing on this location. Tying points of structure and wonderful artwork is a brand new summary sculpture by Eunu Lee that takes inspiration from the design philosophy that has knowledgeable the enduring architectural legacy of Herzog & de Meuron. §