Seoul is experiencing a phase of unbridled growth, accompanied by strong densification and the establishment of new sub-centers and transport routes. This urban change is also affecting the residential district Seodaemun-gu, where the parcel for the new Swiss representative office will soon be virtually surrounded by dense construction with residential towers and will then resemble an "oasis" in the heart of the "New Town" quarter.
This project is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional Korean courtyard house, the "hanok", which has now almost disappeared from the city center. With its spiral form, the new building modestly and respectfully fits into its context, symbolizing integration and openness, native and foreign, as well as urban and consular space. The ensemble develops along the space allocation plan, beginning with the residence which is oriented toward the private garden, followed by representative spaces which generously open onto the courtyard, and finally the chancellery with a representative entrance facade facing the street. Thanks to the covered caesura between chancellery and residence, the ensemble can be realized in two stages. All rooms are continuous and oriented toward the spatial and symbolic heart of the embassy: the interior courtyard, where a surrounding projecting roof creates an area for occupants and guests which is secluded and protected from the sun, as well as a flowing transition between interior and exterior.
Selection of materials
There is a clear differentiation between the building's exterior and interior faces: the exterior facade comprises dark structures made of thin sheet metal, while the interior courtyard's facade is made of light-colored wood and glass. The zinc sheet roof constitutes the continuation of the exterior facade. Reminiscent of local building methods, the facade's support structure is a mullion-transom curtain wall construction, the modular subdivision of which responds to the requirements of the program with differently sized openings.
Bundesamt für Bauten und Logistik BBL, Bern
Period of time
2012 – 2018
15,8 Mio. CHF