Sign up for VMSPACE, Korea's best architecture online magazine.

Login Join


ITOWER

Chiasmus Partners

written by
Lee Hyunho (principal, Chiasmus Partners)
photographed by
Lee Namsun
materials provided by
Chiasmus Partners
background

​​A Balance between Contradictory Urban Contexts​

 

ITOWER is located a few blocks from Gangnam’s business district, a symbol of modern Seoul that features a concentration of commerce, corporate and residential areas where one can find many digital design advertisement agencies. These characteristics of the location, coupled with the emerging digital advertising brand’s demand for a ‘new type of office building’, meant that there was a  need to incorporate functional flexibility, efficiency and symbolic significance. To further illustrate the context, the site is located on a block corner and faces a small park to the north, around which there are residential buildings of three to five stories. Facing the park to the north and the business district’s high rise buildings to the south, the design had to find a balance between the neighborhood’s public space and the urban landscape, seeking to engage and not to disrupt.
Under these circumstances, the objective of establishing a space for conferences, lectures, events and leisure for 200 employees had to be achieved in a building with a height to width ratio of 2:1.​

Although comprised of one space, the mass is divided into three parts, each of which border each other in gaps and cracks that, through projecting shapes in the ambient light, amplify the sense of fragmentation in the space and allow the mass to overcome the monotony of concrete.



The site is located on a block corner and faces a small park to the north, around which there are residential buildings of three to five stories. Facing the park to the north and the business district’s high rise buildings to the south, the design had to find a balance between the neighborhood’s public space and the urban landscape, seeking to engage and not to disrupt.

 

Although comprised of one space, the mass is divided into three parts, each of which border each other in gaps and cracks that, through projecting shapes in the ambient light, amplify the sense of fragmentation in the space and allow the mass to overcome the monotony of concrete. To build a comprehensive floor plan with compact core elements required establishing efficiency in the space
through minimizing circulation and construction costs. Given the limitations presented by the building’s elevation, the mass was established almost sculpturally but every floor plan is a square. The outer concrete envelope functions structurally like an arch, removing the need for more than one column in the interior space, further maximizing the efficiency and flexibility of the office space. A quarter of the square area in each floor plan serves the rest of the floor through the core functions of vertical circulation, bathroom and kitchen, and this service space is vertically compact at 3m. The rest of
the floor is a big, open space at a height of 4.5m, and can be used not just for office work but also events, performances, exhibitions and other programmes, allowing for an almost infinite versatility. One must recognise that such versatility in the function is demanded even from architecture built for a single purpose, because of the need to adapt to the rapid rate of change that characterizes modern society.​ 
The building houses a parking lot at the first basement level and a 250 seat multipurpose theatre at the second basement level with a separate entrance. The 8 floors above ground contain open paces that are 4 to 4.5m in height, and feature a total of 200 workstations, 8 conference rooms and 6 executive offices; the core contains bathrooms, elevators, stairs, storage, server rooms and resting areas in 9 floors that​ are 3m tall.

 

The building houses a parking lot at the first basement level and a 250 seat multipurpose theatre at the second basement level with a separate entrance.

 

Like a sliced apple, the southern face of the concrete mass is made of glass to allow sunlight to permeate the space, and the rough contrast between the smooth glass and the rough texture of the sliced concrete communicates that the mass is broken or fragmented. This building features a design with the requisite accuracy in function demanded by a new business, flexibility to endure changing times, a form that will be widely recognised as the symbol of a new brand, and a harmony between sculptural aspects and cosmopolitanism in response to the residential and urban context. This shows that in modern architecture, functional efficiency, flexibility and symbolic form can complement one another rather than contradict.​

 

The outer concrete envelope functions structurally like an arch, removing the need for more than one column in the interior space, further maximizing the efficiency and flexibility of the office space.​

 

A quarter of the square area in each floor plan serves the rest of the floor through the core functions of vertical circulation,  bathroom and kitchen, and this service space is vertically compact at 3m. The rest of the floor is a big, open space at a height of 4.5m, and can be used not just for office work but also events, performances, exhibitions and other programmes.

 

Architect

Chiasmus Partners (Lee Hyunho)

Design team

Park Youngjong, Yang Narae, Lee Sangwha

Location

10 Hakdong-ro 3-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea

Programme

office

Site area

752.4m²

Building area

367.2m²

Gross floor area

3,083.48m²

Building scope

B2, 8F

Parking

23

Height

39m

Building to land ratio

39m

Floor area ratio

248.34%

Structure

reinforced concrete

Exterior finishing

exposed concrete, glass curtainwall

Interior finishing

exposed concrete, painiting

Structural engineer

Cheil Structure Lab (Park Joohyun)

Mechanical and electrical engineer

SeungJin Eng. Inc

Construction

Coremsys, Inc

Design period

Dec. 2015 – Jan. 2016

Construction period

Apr. 2016 – June 2017

Cost

4 million USD

Client

Moon Joonho

Interior design

Nomura Chika, Huh Yeseul


Lee Hyunho
Lee Hyunho, the partner and co-founder of Chiasmus Partners, is currently a professor at Hongik University. His experience as designer and award winning architect covers a wide range of projects, including masterplanning and many complex projects that redefine interactions between public institutions, commercial spaces and urban dwellers: Incheon Arts Center, Kyunghee University and many corporate and residential projects. The firm has recently been awarded for several notable projects, which include the 2006 Korean Ministry of Culture Award, the 2011 Year’s Best Korean Institute of Architects Honor Award, and the 2011 KIRA awards for Design Excellence.

COMMENTS