dutch practice mecanoo has completed a slim 14-storey tower in seoul opposite one of south korea’s oldest and largest markets. since its origins as a government-managed commercial space in 1414, the namdeamun market has become an important 24-hour destination for trade, as well as a popular tourist attraction. according to the architects, the area’s history and regional traditions have informed the design of the ‘namdeamun office building’, connecting the past with present.

mecanoo namdeamun office building
all images by kyungsub shin

 

 

interestingly, the building’s distinctive façade is a reinterpretation of the windows found on traditional korean homes. ‘the role of the frame extends beyond decoration, continuously creating different atmospheres, filtering incoming light and making shadows across the interior spaces,’ explains mecanoo. the slender building sits on a prominent corner plot opposite the market, maximizing the land allocated for the scheme.

mecanoo namdeamun office building
the façade is a reinterpretation of the windows found on traditional korean homes

 

 

the tower’s rational form and monochrome materiality acts as a visual counterbalance to the colorful frenzy of the adjacent marketplace. ‘the relationship between the building and its surroundings reflects the passing of time, changing from day to night,’ continue the architects. during the day, the façade reflects sunlight, while during the night, the building glows subtly from within, revealing the elevation’s distinctive pattern.

mecanoo namdeamun office building
the project is located opposite one of south korea’s oldest and largest markets

mecanoo namdeamun office building
the fenestration provides different qualities of light and shade for the interior

mecanoo namdeamun office building
the tower acts as a visual counterbalance to the colorful frenzy of the marketplace

mecanoo namdeamun office building
by night, the building glows subtly from within, revealing the elevation’s distinctive pattern

mecanoo namdeamun office building
during the day, the façade reflects sunlight

mecanoo namdeamun office building
the namdeamun market has become an important 24-hour destination for trade

mecanoo namdeamun office building
the slim 14-storey tower is located in central seoul

 

 

project info:

 

program: 14-floor building of 5,900 sqm with offices and retail
client: heungkuk life insurance co., ltd., seoul, south korea
design: 2014-2015
realization: 2015-2017
façade consultant: excfirm, seoul, south korea

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