UNStudio’s remodelling of the Hanwha headquarters building in Seoul has been completed. With this retrofit, the headquarters of the world’s market leader in solar panels has been modernised to meet the most up to date sustainability requirements. Based on environmental considerations, a conscious decision was made to remodel the existing building, rather than for demolition and new build.
By way of an efficient construction method, UNStudio and Hanwha were also able to ensure that the employees could continue to work in the building throughout the renovation. The result of this ‘remodelling in place’ is a building with a healthy indoor climate, an extremely flexible programme and a completely new, energy-generating facade with integrated solar panels. As such, the building now also effectively expresses the identity and ambitions of the Hanwha Group.
The retrofit of the office tower incorporates the remodelling of the facade, the interior of the common spaces, lobbies, meeting levels, auditorium and executive areas, along with the redesign of the landscaping. Located on the Cheonggyecheon in Seoul, the 57,696 m2 headquarter building was seen to no longer reflect Hanwha as one of the leading environmental technology providers in the world.
Remodelling in place
The retrofit of the facade and the interiors was carried out while the building remained fully occupied and functional, thus enabling the company to remain working in the building throughout the construction period. Electing to choose a construction method that would have minimal impact on both the operation of the company and on the environment, serves as a good example for all stakeholders in the construction process to consider alternative parameters and sustainable measures that can be introduced when retrofitting existing buildings.
Responsive facade concept
UNStudio developed an integrated responsive facade concept which improves the indoor climate of the existing building and reacts to both the programme distribution and the location. This expression is informed by the sun and orientation factors, as well as the programme: by varying the placement of the facade panels a variety of programme-related openings are created.
In the design for the Hanwha headquarter building the north facade opens to enable day lighting within the building, but becomes more opaque on the south facade, where the sun would otherwise have too much impact on the heat load of the building. Openings within the facade are further related to the views: opening up where views are possible, but becoming more compact on the side adjacent to the nearby buildings.
Solar impact and PV integration
Direct solar impact on the building is reduced by shading which is provided by angling the glazing away from direct sunlight, while the upper portion of the south facade is angled to receive direct sunlight. PV cells are placed on the opaque panels on the south / southeast facade at the open zones where there is an optimal amount of direct sunlight. Furthermore, PV panels are angled in the areas of the facade where energy from the sun can best be harvested.
The fluid design of the plaza landscape encourages people to enter from all sides, while the multifunctional planters not only serve as a wayfinding element, but also provide customized seating areas. The different zones within the landscape can be used for a range of activities, from more private relaxation to larger scale gatherings.
Interior concept – main lobbies, lift lobbies, office levels and meeting levels
In UNStudio’s concept for the lobby of the Hanwha headquarter building the landscape continues into the interior and acts as a guiding aid, while natural materials and planting provide a relaxing environment for visitors. The increased floor to ceiling height of the lobbies is emphasised through the new facade design by increasing the daylight entering the lobby areas and creating visual connections between the outside plazas and both lobbies.
The wayfinding strategy continues through to the meeting rooms, creating spaces enclosed by glass, with different degrees of transparency to create enough privacy but also create enough translucency to guarantee well-lit meeting spaces. Among the different types of meeting spaces is the multi-purpose auditorium, which can be set up in different arrangements in accordance to the event type or meeting. The wall cladding in the auditorium is designed to ensure good acoustics, while animated lighting and different settings enable the atmosphere to be adjusted as required for different events.
Interior concept – restaurant and executive levels
The collective spaces serve all the employees of Hanwha, the 28th floor restaurant is a space of rest, relaxation and nourishment. Warm wood tones, natural materials and green planting create spaces where the employees of the headquarter building can come to recharge and rejuvenate. The restaurant is divided into multiple zones each catering to different types of cuisines and dining.
The different boardrooms at the executive level (level 27) have also undergone a full renovation. The interior design mixes zones for meeting activities that are more formal, with more social and informal meeting areas. On the executive level, the interior concept combines the guiding principles of wayfinding through lighting and creates within a large corporate office floor, several private and custom designed zones that offer various possibilities for working and meeting in different constellations. Source by UNStudio.
Location: Seoul, South Korea
UNStudio team: Ben van Berkel, Astrid Piber with Ger Gijzen, Marc Salemink, Sontaya Bluangtook and Martin Zangerl, Hyoseon Park, Gabriele Decandia, Andrea Wong, Daniele de Benedictis, Luke Tan, Jooyoun Yoon, Nina Soltani, Albert Gnodde, Shuang Zhang, Yi-Ju Tseng, Alberto Martinez, Philip Knauf
Local consultant and executive architect: Gansam Partners
Landscape consultant and designer: Loos van Vliet, Haarlem
Facade and sustainability consultant: ARUP Hong Kong
Lighting consultant interior and facade: AG Licht, Cologne
Building surface: 57,696 m2