Designing a Lush Civic Space in a Newly Planned City
This project is the result of a second stage invited design-build competition sponsored by the South Korean Government’s Public Procurement Service. The new government center, part of recent efforts to give more autonomy to the outlying provinces, is located in Chung Cheong Nam-Do, about two hours south of Seoul. The site, which sits in the heart of the Korean breadbasket, is at the center of a newly planned city which straddles the common boundary of two districts.
The organization of this new city administrative quadrant takes its clues from this surrounding green mountainous landscape and the physical transformation of the district boundary separating Yesan Gun and Hongseong Gun districts, to weave together the two districts into a unified symbol of government.
Two conceptual principles guided the development of the design. First, the notion of turning the entire site into a large park-like garden. Second, the concept of representing the seat of government as an abstracted mountain range, symbolic of Korea itself, of which some 80 percent is composed of mountains and uplands. Early European visitors reportedly remarked that the country resembled “a sea in a heavy gale” because of the many successive mountain ranges that crisscross the peninsula.
This administrative center celebrates Baekje Culture. The historical and idealized Baekje countryside depicted through paintings, surviving temples, sacred burial grounds and artifacts, describes a sinuous and soft landscape. Our design takes this idea and transforms it into a modern parkland with spaces for public gatherings, exhibitions, performances, sports and gardens delineated by the soft curves of the land.
With its inherent flexibility, the design for the new complex enhances the workplace environment and energy efficiency. Green roofs limit heat gain, provide thermal mass and control water runoff. The building’s narrow profile and efficient louvered facade system ensures access to natural daylight and reduce the need for artificial illumination. Solar panels integrated into the roof system provide electricity and hot water. Under-floor heating and air conditioning linked to geothermal heat pumps reduces energy usage. A central circulation spine with communicating stairs encourages employees to walk, rather than ride elevators.
This project was designed and prepared by John P. Reed at johnreedartchitecture, in collaboration with Mooyoung Architects and Engineers and james corner field operations. It went on to win the 2018 NYSAIA Honor Award and was the 2013 Green Building of the Year in South Korea.