The purpose of this project is to renovate an empty building in Myeong-dong, one of the most chaotic places in Seoul due to the collision of contexts from the past and the ones in progress, into a corporate headquarters. Thus, this program started from the idea of transforming both the inside and outside of the building that stood still for a long time against change to regenerate its existence and realize new programs, while building relationships with the surroundings.
Nine windows – Material collage
The design concept originally came from the consideration on how windows or architectural elements can relate to the properties of the past as the owner of the building wanted to remain red tiles covering its outside walls as they were. Here, we decided to use 9 different types of windows consist of transparent glasses that were visually open, glass blocks that absorbed light but blocked the view, and stones that had meaning from the exterior of the building, while separating the inside from the outside.
Borrowing of diverse materials and compositions provided a new and rather strange appearance to existing windows that looked dull with unilateral patterns like others that were easy to find anywhere. It was an attempt to give the pleasure in the unfamiliar by slightly changing the monotonous context of nearby buildings that were from being there and had similar patterns and same materials with no characteristics.
Landscape – primitive garden & urban terrace
A primitive garden would be placed outside of the building as if it was there before. It indicates a memory of garden vanished in the city. A strange feeling, excitement, thrilling, and a sense of harmony presented by the nature in the middle of a city. The garden will connect the past and present, and serve as a place of the future. Previously, its rooftop was an empty space blocked from the surroundings with high walls. The first thing we did was to partially remove the walls to establish relationships with nearby landscape and installed decks as well to create a space where people could take a rest in the urban terrace.
Interior – regeneration
The interior focus of the building was to expose its existing materials. Namely, it was to take off the properties added again and again as the time passed. The paint reapplied to stairs was removed, terrazzo floors were completely repaired, and ceiling finishes were eliminated to reveal the existing structure… It was not about adding things to the building. On the contrary, it was to maximize the gap between the past and present by removing materials and which would certainly bring a little strange but new excitement and expectation to people.
Likewise, this building will create a gap in mundane life and monotony in urban context by a presenting new look and regenerating the nature lost in the city through various windows. In doing so, its interior will gradually reflect the time of the past and provide a tactile experience that is quite unfamiliar to many.