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Office, Residential and Exhibition Complex

A Second Skin for a Dynamic Adaptive Reuse Project

BCHO Architects

Office, Residential and Exhibition Complex
By Caterina Testa -

The metropolitan area of Seoul is made up of a huge network of minor centers that sprung up, often in parallel, to create the South Korean capital we know today. Seongnam is one of the main cities of the Seoul Capital Area, and Bundang-gu - extending prevalently along the river and the north-south axis of the major infrastructure -
is one of its wealthiest districts, boasting quality houses and the offices of Korea’s main IT companies.

Branching off perpendicularly from this linear urban fabric are minor districts squeezed between narrow valleys that lead up to the region’s still unspoiled slopes. Geumgok-dong is one such district. Turning off from the busy arterial road running southward from Seoul into one of these valley formations, the streetscape is initially a series of two/three story buildings that then give way to detached houses in ample grounds, at the end of which lie the wooded hills.

At the end of one of these roads where the last houses peter out to give way to natural vegetation, BCHO Architects have designed the adaptive reuse of two buildings whose program was initially earmarked for offices but was subsequently changed to include a series of complementary spaces.

The two adjacent three-story residential buildings already existing on the site were the first topic discussed between the architects and the client, the latter in favor of demolition and a complete newbuild. However the designers convinced him to keep the two buildings and adopt a renovation project whose hallmark would be the successful juxtaposition of old and new.

Gradually as the proposal took shape, the underlying theme of juxtaposition took on broader meanings, inducing the client to rethink the initial program even further. Key to his rethink was the on-going dynamic of change of the whole neighborhood, with the rapid appearance of cafés, recreational spaces and the arrival of small independent professional...

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