Mecanoo has unveiled plans for the Namdaemun Office Building in Seoul. The tower takes its name from the Namdaemun Market, the oldest and largest market in South Korea, which is next to the ancient southern gate of the city. Opened as a government managed marketplace in 1414, the market is now an important 24-hour destination for trade and tourism. The slim 14-story, 5,900 square meter (65,000 square foot) building rests on a corner opposite the commercial activities of the market.
The design of the tower is informed by its historic location and desire create a contemporary office building that merges the past with the present. To integrate into this context, the facade is a reinterpretation of windows found on traditional Korean houses. The external framing is not meant to be merely decorative, but, say the architects, “to continuously [create] different atmospheres, filtering incoming light and making shadows across the interior spaces.” The building’s monochromatic coloration is a counterbalance to the colorful and frenzied atmosphere of the market and its nonstop activity. While during the day the facade reflects sunlight, at night the building glows from within revealing the patterning of its facade.
Namdaemun Office Building is on schedule to be completed before the end of 2016.