In designing a new fifteen-story headquarters for international luxury clothier Shinsegae International, Olson Kundig sought to create an iconic landmark in the heart of Gangnam-gu, one of Seoul’s largest districts. Completed in 2015, the building unites more than five hundred Shinsegae employees, who were previously spread between several buildings throughout the city. The program includes staff offices and meeting spaces, design studios, a rooftop garden and sculpture park, and ground-level retail and restaurant space that face onto a public plaza. Secure zoned entry provides public building access from the street and controlled private access for corporate officers and VIP guests via a side entry. The high-performance custom-designed façade is a direct response to the client’s desire for a corporate flagship that departs from the traditional look-and-feel of modern commercial buildings. Designed to meet Korea’s progressive energy codes, which are more rigorous that the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® standards, the building’s skin incorporates a range of technologies that reduce heat gain while optimizing thermal comfort and maximizing natural daylight all year round. Each component of the gridded facade contributes to the structural fidelity of the building as much as its unique aesthetic, which evokes a sense of woven material or tapestry—a nod to the fashion industry.
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