With a glittering exterior that benefits both the interior and the exterior, UNStudio’s renovation proposal for Hanwha headquarters has recently won them first place in a competition to redesign the company’s office tower. Located in Seoul, South Korea, the tower is sited in the busy Cheonggyecheon district of the city. The new design will help to visually reestablish Hanwha as a leader in environmental technology, both in Korea and internationally.
The key element in the building's redesign is the updated façade. The building’s outer shell will include an LED lighting system, which will highlight which parts of the building are active at any point during the day. The arrangement of these LED pixels is inspired by organic forms, as well as the idea of data processing, both of which reference Hanwha’s business niche. Head designer for the project, Ben van Berkel, said: “The design for the Hanwha HQ media facade aims to avoid an overstated impact. In the evenings, as the mass of the building becomes less apparent, the facade lighting integrates with the night sky, displaying gently shifting constellations of light.”
Lighting aside, the exterior walls of the building will play an important role in its interior atmosphere. The existing horizontal windows will be replaced with more generous, insulated glass in aluminum framing which will cover about half of the building surface. These will allow for more natural lighting and greater access to city views, with windows scaled according to how close they are to adjacent buildings. The south-facing glazing of the tower will be more opaque, reducing unnecessary solar heating. Unwanted solar gain is also reduced by angling windows away from direct sunlight. The remaining, unglazed surfaces of the southern exterior will be outfitted with photovoltaic panels— another nod to Hanwha’s commitment to environmental technology.
The renovation plans also extend into the lobby. The color scheme, furniture, and plantings work together to create a calming environment for guests. A coffee stand will also be installed to facilitate social interaction.
LocationSeoul, South Korea
Architect in ChargeBen van Berkel
Competition Phase Design TeamAstrid Piber with Ger Gijzen and Sontaya Bluangtook, Shuang Zhang, Luke Tan, Yi-Ju Tseng, Albert Gnodde, Philip Knauf
Schematic DesignAstrid Piber with Ger Gijzen and Martin Zangerl, Sontaya Bluangtook, Jooyoun Yoon and Alberto Martinez
Internal consultantsMartin Zangerl and Juergen Heinzel
Landscape consultant and designerLoos van Vliet
Facade and sustainability consultant:ARUP Hong Kong
Lighting consultant interior and facadeAG Licht