by Zohra KhanJan 11, 2020
An international architecture competition granted the winning firm Snøhetta together with local partner Tomoon Architects and Engineers to construct their visionary design for the Cheongju New City Hall in South Korea. The newly unveiled images for Snøhetta’s ‘city hall for the people’ display a landmark that will depict an integrated and transparent form of governance between the state and the citizens.
The competition jury commended the design as an “excellent work due to its down-to-earth attitude, befitting of the city’s autonomous status. The design will both stand out as a new landmark for the city, while at the same time providing well-balanced and generous public space”.
Located in Cheongju, the capital and largest city of North Chungcheong Province in South Korea, the city hall finds itself in a growing economic hub with key industries ranging from advanced eco-agriculture to high-level printing and crafts. As Korea’s 14th largest city with over 800,000 citizens, Cheongju takes stock in being the country’s first municipality to join several districts into one following a referendum.
Scheduled for completion in 2025, Cheongju New City Hall intends to unite the dispersed governmental offices into a single unified space by combining the administrative divisions under one roof. The layout guarantees open communication and smooth operation between the various departments, with grade A working facilities that encourage collaboration, innovation, efficiency and physical and mental wellbeing. “Good governance begins with good working environments,” mentions the team.
Snøhetta’s design frames the former city hall building that will now serve as the entrance portal to the new development. Strategic spatial planning pledges public access to cultural spaces, such as exhibition areas, a library, an auditorium, and amenities such as restaurants, cafes, childcare facilities and a post office. The spaces foster collective living and learning in the city, with the flexibility to allow citizens to gather for daily activities and special events.
Flourishing the country’s architectural heritage while meeting modern standards of the future, the city hall features a curved roof and a gently folded façade that is reminiscent of traditional Korean roofs. Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) on the roof produce electrical power from solar energy. The sloped roof has integrated drainage to allow water run-off and stormwater collection.
A series of translucent and opaque panels on the façade assures optimised shading while proffering the building rhythm and scale. Providing both views and privacy, the translucent panels made of laminated glass with copper mesh allow natural light to enter the building. The panels also open up to allow for natural ventilation.
The inclusive design of the Cheongju New City Hall will provide a stage for effective governmental administration and form a symbol for public collaboration and social interaction. The city hall will smoothly integrate into the urban context and support ownership for the citizens of Cheongju.
(Text by Ankitha Gattupalli, intern at stirworld.com)