The new headquarters for Amorepacific, Korea’s largest beauty company, is located in the centre of Seoul at a site which has been occupied by the company since 1956. The site is situated next to a former US military zone that is being transformed into the spacious public Yongsan Park and a business district, which is part of a masterplan representing the largest high-rise development in Korea that will substantially alter the urban fabric of the Yongsan district.
The form of the building is both abstract and gestural. Focusing on a single, clear volume, the proportions of the building have been carefully developed around a central courtyard to maximize the effectiveness of natural ventilation and daylight. Three large urban openings connect this central void with the exterior surroundings, providing both dramatic views over the city and the mountains in the distance. As ‘hanging gardens’, these openings give scale and allow nature to extend from the adjacent park into all parts of the building.
The design elaborates the social, cultural and professional ambitions of the company, combining the workplace with other communal activities. The building offers itself to the city by being elevated above its public entrance platform, creating a generous, public atrium entrance hall. The courtyard situated above represents the communal centre of the company workplace, with the elevated gardens providing recreational space for those who use the building. A rich mixture of public amenities around the atrium, such as a museum, auditorium, library, restaurants and childcare facilities, ensure that the building is not only an efficient headquarters, but also the public face of a vital company, embedded in the growing metropolis of Seoul.
The façades with their diaphanous brise-soleil cladding not only facilitate the environmental performance of the building by providing shading and reducing heat load, but also give the building a coherent and solid yet at the same time open and light form. Metaphorically, the new building echoes the aspirations of a modern organisation, mediating between local and global, private and public, collective and individual, formal and informal, and in doing so establishing its dynamic identity.
Gross floor area: 216,000 m²
Client: Amorepacific Corporation
Architect: David Chipperfield Architects
Partner: David Chipperfield, Christoph Felger (Design lead), Harald Müller
Project architect: Hans Krause
Contact architect: HAEAHN Architecture, KESSON
Site supervision: Kunwon Engineeing Co. Ltd.
General contractor: Hyundai Engineering & Construction
Design engineers: Arup Deutschland GmbH
Landscape architect: SeoAhn