Dongbu Financial CenterSeoul, Korea Dongbu Corporation DO SI, Associate Architect Corporate 575,000 ft2 / 44,000 m2 AIA New York Chapter Design Awards, Architectural Excellence (2003), Korean National Architecture Award (2003)
Rising to a height of 35 stories, the headquarters tower for the Dongbu Corporation occupies one of the most visible sites in Seoul’s southern commercial district of Kangnam-ku. The building is located on Teheran-Ro, a major commercial boulevard.
Employing an organic language to establish a dynamic identity on a wide thoroughfare lined with unremarkable towers, a layered design order was developed and combined with influences from traditional Korean handicrafts, such as jo-gak-bo, in which cloth is patched together in random patterns. The diagonally folding expanses of curtain wall satisfy the client’s wish to make a bold sculptural statement. The result is a north-facing façade characterized by a series of separate zones, each of which is canted to reflect a different part of the sky. The design preserves views of significant sights to the north, including the Han River, Theran-Ro, and a historically significant garden.
The eastern façade of the building is more graphically pronounced, as it displays the sloping edges where the curtain walls terminate in leading edges of stainless steel.
Because the glass of the north and south façades is somewhat reflective, and that of the east and west façades is more transparent, the building invites entry from the corner. The main entrance sequence involves a bridge that crosses a sunken garden and penetrates the eastern curtain wall from the side. A wall of textured glass patterned to resemble jo-gak-bo cloths flanks the bridge and the lobby to the north, mediating between the entry experience and the activity of the street.