Ben van Berkel, founder of Dutch office UNStudio has unveiled plans to replace the façade of an existing tower in Seoul with a responsive façade that controls the indoor climate during the day and by night transforms into a dynamic light show.
Working alongside engineering firm Arup, UNStudio’s proposal responds to the brief by Korean firm Hanwha, who are one of the world’s largest producers of photovoltaic panels. The brief was to remodel its headquarters and develop a façade that is “guided by the surroundings, influenced by nature and driven by the environment”.
Van Berkel explained: “Through fully integrated strategies, today’s facades can provide responsive and performative envelopes that both contextually and conceptually react to their local surroundings, whilst simultaneously determining interior conditions.”
UNStudio’s façade has been engineered to improve the internal environment of the building with opaque paneling and dark glass replacing the insulating glass and aliminium framing, designed to increase natural lighting and reduce energy consumption. The position and geometry of these elements are design in relationship to the movement of the sun.
“By means of a reductive, integrated gesture, the facade design for the Hanwha HQ implements fully inclusive systems which significantly impact the interior climate of the building, improve user comfort and ensure high levels of sustainability and affordability,” said van Berkel.
The northern elevation will be more transparent to allow consistent levels of sunlight during the day while the southern side will be more opaque in order to reduce the sun’s impact on the building’s temperature levels.
At night the façade will be adorned with hundreds of LED lighting panels, whose appearance will change according to the movements of the pedestrians and vehicles on the adjacent Hanbit Avenue.
“The design for the Hanwha HQ media facade aims to avoid an overstated impact,” added the architect. “In the evenings, as the mass of the building becomes less apparent, the facade lighting integrates with the night sky, displaying gently shifting constellations of light.”
These lights could be programmed to highlight different sections of the interior, or simply to create a pattern. They were developed in collaboration with lighting consultant agLicht.