Herzog & de Meuron’s first realized project in Korea is completed and is set to open to the public in September 2021. Situated in the heart of Cheongdam Dong, one of the most commercial areas of Seoul, the ST International HQ and SongEun Art Space will offer non-commercial art spaces, a variety of new exhibition spaces, and offices for ST International both above and below ground, creating an inviting space for the public to engage with contemporary art. The first inaugural exhibition is expected to be on the 28th of September, and will be curated by the Swiss architecture firm in collaboration with SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation.
Although largely monolithic and minimal, The geometric building maintains a strong connection to local contexts, cultures, and environments, while referencing to diverse architectural motifs. It rises 11 stories high and 5 floors below ground level, and spans more than 8,000 square meters. The project's architecture is defined by a monumental concrete volume in the form of a triangle. The textured concrete surface of the façade was made using wooden formwork, in reference to the meaning of SongEun: “Hidden Pine Tree”, breaking the monolithic identity of the volume.
The front facade is elevated, complimenting the adjacent buildings, and lowered towards the back side to create an intimate space near the gardens and neighborhood. The triangular shape was a result of an architecture specified for the site, as it maximizes the floor area and exploits the potential of the city's zoning laws.
On the front facade of the building, the architects pierced a cut in the base to invite visitors from the street into the main lobby and garden. Two strip-windows were added to the facades, one that allows the lower floors to open up towards the main street, and one at the top to illuminate the office spaces. From the interior, a grand ramp was integrated to lead visitors into the parking below. The curve of the ramp creates an opening in the ceiling of an underground exhibition space, allowing sound and light from street-level to travel through the space. Above street level, the ramp’s volume transforms into a spiral staircase that brings visitors up to the second-floor galleries.
Our experience designing contemporary art museums has increasingly focused on how we can bring art and people together. How can we make a space that works for the art and the artist, for the collector and the public? Many different needs have to be factored in to make a whole that works for everyone. Only then can such a place become a new attractor for urban life in a city. This new site will certainly strengthen SongEun's presence within the city. But more importantly, we hope this new space will be an inspiring addition to the cultural topography and diversity of Seoul. -- Herzog & de Meuron
Recently, the construction work for Herzog & de Meuron’s San Francisco Power Plant transformation has begun. The adaptive reuse project of Station A is part of the Portrero Power Station project, the redevelopment of a 29-acre industrial site into an extension of the Dogpatch neighbourhood. The office's design regenerates various features of the industrial building while adding a lightweight, steel-framed structure on top, giving new life to one of San Francisco’s landmarks.