Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Kolon Future Research Park in Seoul, Korea by mOrphosis architects
February 28th, 2017 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: mOrphosis architects
The Kolon Group, based in Seoul, is a diverse corporation whose activities range from textiles, chemicals, and sustainable technologies, to original clothing lines in the athletic and ready-to-wear fashion markets. Between the group’s 38 divisions, Kolon covers research, primary material manufacture, and product construction – a unique configuration that enables the company to capitalize on its own resources and advances, and to forge innovative collaborations between divisions. Supporting this collaborative model was a primary goal behind the design of Kolon’s new Corporate Headquarters and Research Facilities. Bringing researchers, leadership, and designers together in one location, the building combines flexible laboratory facilities with executive offices and active social spaces that encourage greater interaction and exchange across the company.
The headquarters is located in the Magok district, an emerging hub for technology and light industry that is revitalizing the Han-River area in south-eastern Seoul. Fostered by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the Magok district is conceived to function as an “industrial ecosystem” where a range of tech and information fields will co-locate to spawn new intersecting markets. Kolon is one of the first firms moving their corporate headquarters and R & D operations to Magok, and the new building will set the standard for performance and design in the district. The four-acre project site sits adjacent to Magok’s central park – a prominent location for what will be the district’s first major completed building.
The building folds towards the park, providing passive shading to the lower floors. Bridging the three extending laboratory wings, this folding volume contains conference rooms and social spaces, augmented by flagship retail and exhibition galleries at the street level to communicate the brand’s vision to the public. A transparent ground plane extends the landscape into the interior, drawing light and movement towards an open pedestrian laneway and grand entry. At 30m tall and 100m long, the expansive multi-story atrium serves as the building’s social center. Movement is revealed on all floors through the atriums transparent liner system, which is comprised of massive, 8m ‘stretchers’ that allow for a changing display of Kolon’s own fabrics.
The performance of the building was approached as a holistic concept encompassing energy efficiency, resource conservation, and environmental stewardship, working in concert with education and employee health and wellbeing. Along with goals for LEED Gold and the most rigorous sustainability certification in Korea, the project focuses on the quality of the work environment through roof terraces, courtyards, and other measures that increase access to natural light and air for employees. Other sustainable measures include: green roofs; recycled materials; and utilizing a bubble deck slab that reduces the amount of concrete used by 30%. The distinctive brise-soleil system on the western façade is both a performative and symbolic feature of the building; the façade units have been parametrically shaped to balance shading and views, and are made from a GFRP formulation that uses one of Kolon’s own high-tech fabrics, Aramid, to dramatically increase the material’s tensile strength. Together, the building’s siting, spatial qualities, and technological innovations express Kolon’s investment in and commitment to sustainability.
Morphosis is a collaborative architectural practice negotiating the technological, political, and cultural intersections of architecture, urbanism, and design. With projects built internationally, our work traverses a broad range of typologies, scales and contexts across the public and private sector. Drawing from iterative, integrative methodologies and driven by research, we endeavor towards innovative solutions that are responsive to and generate from the specificity of each project. We challenge advanced technologies to reconfigure the intersection of form and performance, yielding buildings and urban environments that are iconic and sustainable. Since its founding in 1972 by Design Director Thom Mayne, Morphosis has received 26 Progressive Architecture awards, over 100 American Institute of Architects (AIA) awards, and numerous other honors. Morphosis buildings and projects have been published extensively; the firm has been the subject of over 30 monographs and numerous exhibitions. We maintain permanent offices in Los Angeles and New York, and site offices at projects world-wide.
Biography of Thom Mayne
Thom Mayne (b. 1944, Waterbury CT) founded Morphosis in 1972 as a collective architectural practice engaged in crossdisciplinary research and design. As Design Director and thought leader of Morphosis, Mayne provides overall vision and project leadership to the firm. With permanent offices in Los Angeles and New York City, the firm currently employs over 60 architects and designers.
Mayne’s distinguished honors include the Pritzker Prize (2005) and the AIA Gold Medal (2013). He was appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 2009, and was honored with the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles Gold Medal in 2000. With Morphosis, Thom Mayne has been the recipient of 26 Progressive Architecture Awards, over 100 American Institute of Architecture Awards and numerous other design recognitions. Under Mayne’s direction, the firm has been the subject of various group and solo exhibitions throughout the world, including a large solo exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2006. Morphosis buildings and projects have been published extensively; the firm has been the subject of 33 monographs.
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