The ‘Hankook Technoplex’ project in Pangyo, Seoul, South Korea by Foster + Partners is one of the finalists at the WAF – World Architecture Festival Award 2020 – 2021 in the ‘Office – Completed Buildings’ category. The new Technoplex reflects Hankook’s development as a global brand, echoing the excellence in engineering that the company represents. The ten-storey building houses the Hankook offices and its subsidiaries, alongside a state-of-the-art business centre with a 175-seat auditorium.
Nigel Dancey, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners, enthused, “The building wholeheartedly embraces the principles of biophilia to create a workplace that is focused on well-being and sustainability. Indoor trees define breakout spaces on each level with greenery travelling to the top of the building. The floorplates spiral around a central atrium, creating spaces of differing heights throughout the building. The dynamic volume generates visual connections across the different levels encouraging staff interaction, while also letting natural light deep into the heart of the building.”
The atrium contains a large site-specific art installation by Jason Bruges Studio called, ‘Digital Phyllotaxy’. Visitors experience the immersive media artwork, as they ascend to the main reception via an escalator. The artwork creates a visual metaphor for a tree canopy, bringing a sense of the outdoors inside the building.
Travelling up through the spatial artwork, they experience evolving volumes of light, shadow and colour. The reception space includes another triptych media artwork by the same studio called, ‘Dynamic Tread’.
The building façades have been carefully designed to optimize the use of natural light. Glass louvres are wrapped around the building at varying levels of density to moderate the indoor light levels.
The communal and social areas are designed to be brighter and more relaxed, while the workspaces have stricter controls on light levels complemented by an intelligent artificial lighting system. It this way, the façade responds to the activities taking place inside the building, also giving the building a unique visual identity.
Through its warm material palette, naturally lit spaces, and flexible workspaces, the design creates a positive experience for the company staff. Nature plays a vital role in the success of the workplace; indoor trees define breakout spaces on each level with greenery travelling to the top of the building.
Overlooking the central atrium, breakout spaces are designed for informal meetings and short breaks, while the open-plan workspaces can be configured organically to promote collaboration between different teams.
The flexible layouts enable the building to adapt to changing needs over time, incorporating new ways of working as technologies will evolve.
To break down the traditional hierarchical barriers and create a more egalitarian workplace, top-level executives are co-located with their teams on different levels.
An executive business lounge on the top floor provides a space for company executives to meet informally, which promotes interaction between the key members, and enables a more fluid flow of information within the company.
The building is sandwiched by social spaces, with the healthcare facilities, staff restaurant and gymnasium in the first basement, and a landscaped terrace and a rest area for employees on the roof.
The roof garden takes advantage of unobstructed views across the Pangyo area, offering a unique space for company events.
Image Courtesy: Foster + Partners