by Shraddha NairNov 15, 2021
On the outskirts of Seoul, international architecture studio Foster + Partners has designed the new headquarters for South Korean tire company Hankook. The project called Hankook Technoplex is an intensive collaboration between the client, consultants and the design team. Motivated by the CEO’s vision for the work ethics at Hankook, the design presents the company with a new symbol that reflects its position as an advanced technology company that draws in talented individuals.
London-based Foster + Partners designed the workplace particularly tailored for the company’s needs, promoting their standards of flexible working styles and a new egalitarian culture. The building located in Pangyo devises a dynamic office environment that catalyses change for the company’s progressive corporate identity as it looks towards the future.
The 10-storey building contains open-plan workspaces and its subsidiaries, alongside a state-of-the-art business centre and a 175-seat auditorium. The organically configurable workspaces allow the building to adapt with its evolving needs, promoting collaboration between different teams and also providing private space for smaller groups and individuals.
At Hankook Technoplex, top-level executives are co-located with their teams on different levels, breaking down traditional hierarchy barriers. Information flows fluidly throughout the building with floorplates coiling around a central atrium that connects all the levels visually. Dynamic spaces of differing heights look into each other across the different levels, encouraging staff interaction and bouncing light throughout the building.
The atrium contains a large site-specific art installation by Jason Bruges Studio, called ‘Digital Phyllotaxy’ that welcomes visitors as they ascend to the main reception via an escalator. The artwork abstracts a tree canopy, bringing a sense of the outdoors inside the building. The architecture sincerely adopts the principles of biophilia to produce a work environment that is concentrated on well-being and sustainability. Indoor trees define breakout spaces on each level with greenery travelling to the top of the building. Along the height of the spatial artwork, visitors experience shifting volumes of light, shadow and colour. The reception space includes another triptych media artwork by the same studio, called ‘Dynamic Tread’.
Pockets of social spaces are scattered around the Technoplex with healthcare facilities, a staff restaurant and a gymnasium in the basement. The landscaped terrace and resting space on the roof provide space for company events and also allow employees to unwind in front of unobstructed views across Pangyo. On the top floor, an executive business lounge provides a centre for informal company meetings between the key members.
Apart from the atrium, natural light pours in through the optimally designed and controllable façade-glass louvres wrapped around the building at varying levels of density. The visually distinct façade responds to the activities in the building. The communal and social areas are designed to be brighter and more relaxed, while the workspaces have stricter controls on light levels complemented by an intelligent artificial lighting system.
Iwan Jones, Partner, Foster + Partners, shares, “The project builds on the success of the Hankook Technodome that we designed earlier, creating two distinctly different buildings bound together by key themes that are common to both buildings. The Hankook Technoplex seeks to bring new levels of spatial openness and transparency throughout the interior, creating three-dimensional visual connections between floorplates and to the outside. Through its warm material palette, naturally lit spaces, and flexible workspaces, the design aims to create a positive experience for the company staff”.
The new Technoplex echoes Hankook’s advancement as a global brand, reverberating the company's excellence in engineering. Building on the successful partnership developed during Hankook's integrated R&D centre in Daejeon, Hankook Technodome, Foster + Partners was able to design a well-suited building that allows the company to incorporate new ways of working as technologies evolve.