Architects: Zeidler Partnership Architects
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Associated Architects: Vogel Architect, Art International Ltd
Area: 81,055 square feet
Cost: $19 million
Client: Foreign Affairs Canada
Photographs: K. Kwan
Koreans and Canadians share a reverence for nature. The design of the Canadian embassy aspires to express that common link. The building is fortunate to share a site with a 500-year-old tree, a living symbol of nature. The embassy’s entrance plaza is a gathering place, with the tree as its focus.
The building, composed of two blocks tied together by a base, forms an undulating mass framing the tree. The massing and skin of the building are inspired by impressionist images of the Canadian landscape. The west block is the mountain_a majestic and simple form in the tradition of Lawren S. Harris. The east block is the forest birch bark trunks, vertical elements, creating a natural rhythm against the sparkling sky; an image inspired by Canadian impressionist, Tom Thomson.
In an established residential neighbourhood close to Seoul’s City Hall and the Duksoo Palace, this new 7,530 sm embassy provides a permanent home for the Canadian mission in Korea. The base uses warm materials in a soft inviting form to welcome the Korean public into the ground floor reception area, lobby, and large public function rooms.