Our project for a Start-up Center in Seoul is located in the Changdong-Sanggye area, north of Seoul City, and is part of the urban regeneration plan that aims to transform this region into a new economic and cultural center. An international design competition was launched in 2017 to develop the first building for this area: a center to support innovation and start-ups, open to multi generational entrepreneurs, and offering a mix-use program including educational, office, residential and public spaces. Our project departs from an understanding of the infrastructural nature of the site and the diversity of uses to be accommodated under the same roof, to build a platform for living, working and learning.
The proposed architecture defines a framework that supports and serves the multiple programs, enabling adequate continuities and discontinuities while providing a unitary structure. The even distribution of vertical cores throughout the plan contributes to this effort giving independent access to different zones and helping to build a primary structure able to support a variety of programs and architectures over time.
Integrated with the surrounding landscape and infrastructural systems, the building provides strong linkages between the context and the interior activity, creating synergies. Originating from a carved ground it builds an abstract topography as transition from the street. The lower levels accommodate those functions that profit from greater continuity with the adjacent landscape and transportation networks and that can be easily accessed by the general public, this is: parking, lobby, gallery, event space and café. From the carved ground and through a carefully studied map of vertical circulations, users gain access to the Start-up Center, the 50 Plus Campus, the NPO Center and the residential area, each enjoying a particular position in the building. The top levels are reserved for more restricted gathering, event and terrace spaces –shared by the main users of the building– enjoying panoramic views. Special attention is paid to circulation and views between different functional areas and with the background context balancing visibility and privacy.
The project strategically selects the resources needed for its construction and proposes the use of technologies that will optimize quality, time and therefore also construction costs. The primary structure is designed as a hybrid concrete-steel skeleton that can be efficiently assembled and integrates the mechanical and transportation systems necessary for the smooth operation of the building. Secondary structures attached to it enclose programs and provide them with particular climatic and light conditions. Materials used to build these spaces, adapt to their requirements for permanence, flexibility and expressiveness. The capacity of interior architectures and spaces to be redefined, and of new technologies and services to be progressively incorporated are meant to contribute to the resiliency of the complex and its ability to innovate.