Amore Pacific Research & Design Center / Alvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira and Kim Jong Kyu

FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

Architects: Alvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira and Kim Jong Kyu
Location: Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Practice in Portugal: & Clara Bastai
Coordinator: Pedro Carvalho
Collaborators: Eliana Sousa, Im Yo Jin, Ricardo Serra, Patrícia Carvalho, João Figueiredo
Practice in Korea: M.A.R.U. Metropolitan Architecture Research Unit
Coordinator: Kim Soo Young
Collaborators: Min Jun Kee, Jang Byul, Kim Young Soon, Lee Zoo Hwa
Project Area: 26,029 sqm
Project Year: 2008-2010
Photographs: FG+SG –Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

Amore Pacific is a brand of cosmetics, products used in industrial quantities by oriental women to enhance their beauty, hide imperfections or to deepen the whiteness of their skin, a sign of nobility and beauty, like the gaja (The Portuguese word from which the Japanese word “geisha” originates) whose white features, charm and musical sensibility turned her into an object of cult and desire.

ground floor plan

The first introduction that resulted in work in Korea, (the southern half, that is, since for many Koreans there is only one Korea, temporarily subdivided), coincided with the visit to Portugal by the owner of Amore Pacific, for the purpose of getting to know Álvaro Siza’s work. As I knew the architects who accompanied with him, it was my job to show them around. His intention was to formalise an invitation to design a museum.

FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

Initiated by his grandmother, the cosmetics company had almost by chance begun to collect items related to the wellbeing of women. Cosmetic items, clothing items, decorative items as well as items relating to the tea ceremony. Today, the collection is immense, as are also the quality and the beauty of most of the items. Items of national value and interest, concerning things for which quantity also is quality.

Enthused, the client wants to locate the museum in the centre of the city of Seoul, and so purchases more and more land, something which is so scarce on those shores and expensive, very expensive.

FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

We wait and the first project has not yet got off the paper.

Forty minutes drive from Seoul, in the outlying city of Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, Amore Pacific has a very large estate, which I like to call a campus, as that is what it seems like. In this campus are gathered the R&D – Research and Development, and the training departments.

There is a large grey granite building, where the research and investigation laboratories are concentrated. This building is the result of various additions and adaptations. And now it urgently needs major restructuring.

FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

In another dark brick building are all the staff training facilities and the improvised museum, displaying only a small part of the collection. The rest of the ever-expanding collection is in storage, in the basement.

Another small building, which is isolated, as if pushed into a corner, to the northeast, serves as accommodation for anyone who comes here from a distance to do training or research.

FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

The exterior area is characterised by a huge collection of trees and shrubs that the client buys or transplants here from elsewhere.
In Korea everything gets transplanted. From the huge, sculptural pine tree, that we are used to seeing in oriental prints, to the most subtle maples in varying colours.

FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

The transplants, set in groups, seem more like art installations: the trees linked together with thick bamboo canes, supporting each other until they develop roots.

The huge sports fields that still give sense to the maxima mens sana in corpore sano, are now abandoned in preference for the health club.

FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

At the start of the project the Laboratory was envisaged in the space next to the existing one, allowing most of the services to be moved and for the desired re-use of the old equipment. The short term need to include a new building for more laboratories would have to be considered, in the normal and predictable expansion process.

Then came the Pavilion, a multi-use space linking buildings and functions. And the respective outside spaces, extensive, generous.

Next came the hotel, exclusively for private use to substitute the existing buildings which didn’t provide for the dignified reception of guests.

FG+SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

After the presentation of the sketch designs, another pavilion was requested. So, Pavilion II appeared.

While we are at it, it would be convenient to re-think the Gate House as it is the front of the Campus, of the Company.
And why not re-think the outside spaces, now that the relationship between the existing buildings and the planned ones has become so obvious?

A Campus is actually this, a relationship between buildings, where the external spaces act as a support. Or is it the other way around?

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Amore Pacific Research & Design Center / Alvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira and Kim Jong Kyu" 18 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • architist

    BEautiful design. I love the space oriented and the type of form used. That cantilever look a lil bit wicked though!!! well done!

  • Tiago Rosa


  • C. Jacquet

    love it !

  • kiko

    FG+SG don`t need to add amount of photoshop in a top class achitecture like this one :(

  • tommi

    i dont know what it is exactly, something is missing there. anyway but still loving it a lot! great seeing he starts working ind east, hopefully spreading a few more.

  • pda

    Pritzker to Siza again!

  • flavin

    I love this building, and the pics are amazing!

  • Inkim

    Siza in Korea! What a great! Big welcome!

  • Rawan jamal

    i like the way the building are connected together..nd the play of light and shadow in the interior

  • Khadija Jasim

    I think this building is very contemporary. The design is simple and gives an impression that it might be an institute or a research center. The opening are rear but the indirect light makes the space nice.

  • Lee

    SPACE . CONTRAST . BLOCK . Beautiful