David Chipperfield’s cubic Amorepacific headquarters are inaugurated in Seoul
When David Chipperfield was called to design a new headquarters for Asian skincare brand Amorepacific in Seoul, one of the primary concerns that emerged was creating a building with a strong identity; but one, which would be intrinsically connected to its surroundings forming a valuable part of the city’s fabric, in both a social and architectural sense.
The building, which had been in development and construction for eight years, has just opened its doors to the public and its tenants, making a distinct mark on the Seoul skyline and the district of Yongsan-gu, where it is located.
‘It is more than an office. The building suggests generosity of spirit to the people who work here and the citizens’, says Chipperfield. ‘It is something that mediates between the company and the city. It shows how a company can participate in the larger community.’
Amorepacific’s new HQ is, on a very basic reading, a simple, cubic volume; yet upon closer inspection, the design’s instricacy shines through. The facade is a carefully balanced grid of glass and aluminium that appears both confident and lightweight. Green terraces and a central courtyard, featuring trees and water basins, are cut through the massing, offering different spatial options to users. Exposed concrete and natural stone complete the structure’s material palette.
Inside, on the ground level, the visitor is led straight through to the heart of the building. This is the building’s main event space for art installations, concerts, lectures and other cultural activities, where the architecture was designed to act as space for social interaction. These activities will be surrounded by a variety of public facilities such as a museum, a library, a tea room and retail. A variety of functions occupy the levels above and lead to the company’s main workspaces on the upper floors. Here, connectivity is the name of the game, with flexible office space provides ample opportunity for meeting and working.
Sustainable strategies were used throughout, such as the shape and the size of the facade fins, which have been specifically crafted to reduce unwanted solar radiation and glare; due to this approach, the building is expected to receive a LEED Gold certification later in the year.
‘This concept of a high-rise courtyard building – offering a silhouette and more importantly a place to be – takes reference from Korea’s rich and versatile architectural heritage’, explains David Chipperfield Architects partner and the project’s design director Christoph Felger. §