Kinetic Vintage. Shinsegae Tower by Olson Kundig

PROJECT Shinsegae Tower
ARCHITECTS Olson Kundig
LOCATION Seoul, South Korea
YEAR 2015
PHOTO Kevin Scott and Kyungsub Shin
AUTHOR Milena Sacchi

The headquarters of the South Korean Shinsegae fashion brand and distributor is the first high-rise building developed by Olson Kundig. Although not expressing the poetic power we have become accustomed to from the Seattle studio with its small scale gizmos, it is precisely the dynamic system of the continuous façade that is the distinguishing feature of this 15-story tower block.
Its 15,644 square metres include offices, meeting rooms, a roof garden, retail space and a street level restaurant overlooking a new public square.
Intersections, material and the industriousness of the fashion world are evoked in the first 4 floors which house the seven 8-metre diameter steel wheels and counterweights which are computer controlled to move a series of metal panels.
These filter the entry of light into the building thereby establishing both a kinetic relationship and a vintage feel with the Gangnam district.
The upper part of the tower is used by the 500 employees of the Asian colossus to enjoy a rooftop garden with its incredible views of the city.

BIOGRAPHY
OLSON KUNDIG IS A FULL-SERVICE DESIGN FIRM FOUNDED IN 2000 AND LED BY JIM OLSON, TOM KUNDIG, KIRSTEN R. MURRAY, ALAN MASKIN, AND KEVIN KUDO-KING, WHO ARE SUPPORTED BY 3 PRINCIPALS, 21 ASSOCIATES, AND A STAFF OF APPROXIMATELY 140 IN THE HISTORIC PIONEER SQUARE NEIGHBORHOOD OF DOWNTOWN SEATTLE. THE FIRM OPENED A WORKSPACE IN NEW YORK IN 2014.

MAIN PROJECTS
Jewish Museum, Berlin Kindermuseum, Germany, ongoing
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle, Washington, USA, ongoing
9th & Thomas, Seattle, Washington, USA, ongoing
Martin’s Lane Winery, Canada, 2017
JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa, Mexico, 2015
Austrian Alps Spa Hotel, Austria