Sky Courts Exhibition Hall, located in the International Intangible Culture Park in Chengdu China, utilizes the internalized strategy of the traditional Chinese courtyard house to create a variety of aggregated exhibition galleries within one building. Broken up into a series of variably scaled halls wrapped around seven courtyards, the structure creates a range of open spaces inside the deep floor plan. This ‘packed’ and ‘wrapped’ internalized organization has both spatial as well as environmental benefits to the building.

Spatially, the aggregation of courtyards within the larger building complex becomes a network of spaces linked together by multiple paths, producing an exhibition hall that is at once open and sub-divided. The sequence through these precincts creates a series of layered spaces where one can view from one courtyard to another and another—seeing from inside to outside to inside again.

The center of each courtyard maintains a pure rectilinear geometry, while the overall perimeter of the building accommodates the irregular site boundaries. The roof geometry consists of a series of inward sloping roofs. The roof profile at the perimeter varies to create peaks and valleys. Alternating inclinations of the major ridge lines produce a hyperbolic ruled surface for each roof plane. The use of the ceramic roof tile seizes the tolerance between each tile unit to negotiate the non planar roof condition.

Environmentally, several passive energy strategies (cross ventilation, thermal mass, & daylighting) were developed as integral with the design strategy. In order to create a passively cooled building (there is no active cooling in the building), it was critical to capitalize on cross ventilation through and up the courtyard spaces. Perimeter fenestration clusters with operable windows were positioned on the perimeter wall to create cross ventilation through the operable sliding doors of the courtyards.

The concrete and brick infill walls create significant thermal mass to regulate temperature swings throughout the day. Furthermore, the configuration of spaces around multiple courtyards creates abundant daylight, reducing the need for electric lighting during a significant portion of the day. The daylighting and passive cooling strategies inherited from the traditional courtyard house are re-deployed in this contemporary context.

The perimeter walls of the structure vary in height from 11 to 15 meters and are made from locally produced grey brick. The brickwork is detailed to emphasize the tectonics of the brick as a building module as well as the oblique geometries of the building. Each brick is oriented in the same direction, regardless of the oblique angle of the perimeter walls. This creates an oriented texture such that the west and east facades are smooth while the other faces have a serrated quality.

The windows and exterior doors are clustered on the facades to create a larger figural composition than each individual window can make in such a large internally oriented structure. Using economical and typical window and door sizes, these apertures are packed together using facetted Corten steel ‘window surrounds.’

The figural surrounds negotiate between the scale of a window and the scale of the large exhibition hall, providing an intermediate scale that approaches the tactility found at the level of the masonry detailing. Using local construction strategies, materials and techniques to create a simple but culturally resonant project on the site, the overall effect is an Exhibition Hall which fits into the Chengdu building context, learns from the context’s heritage and provides a unique contemporary, flexible and sustainable space for International Exhibitions.

Project Credits

Chengdu Skycourts, Chengdu, China
Client  : Chengdu Quingyang SCD
Architect : Höweler + Yoon Architecture, Boston—Meejin Yoon, Eric Höweler (principals); Meredith Miller, Ryan Murphy, Parker Lee, Jennifer Chuong, Casey Renner, Chua Matthew, Nerijus Petrokas, Zi Liu, Saran Oki, Cyrus Dochow, Thena Tak, Yushiro Okamoto, Jeremy Jih, Buck Sleeper, Lisa Pauli, Lizzie Krasner (project team)
Size : 67,000 square feet
Cost  Withheld
Photograph : Yihuai Hu

Höweler + Yoon Architecture

Context - photograph yong-kwan kim

Daum is an international IT firm based in Korea, primarily known for its web portal services. Unlike its competitors that are typically located in metropolitan areas, Daum has been planning to relocate its operation to an undeveloped site within Jeju Province (an autonomous island situated off of the southern coast of Korea) for the past 8 years.
Largely known as a major tourism hub, Jeju Province has been encouraging the implementation of other industries in the recent years, one of which is the development of the island's technology-based industrial complex.

Considering the fact that the urban population of Korea has grown from 20% to over 80% in the last 50 years – which makes Korea one of the most urbanized countries in the world – Daum's radical step of exiling themselves to the rural Jeju Province can be framed as a utopian gesture, comparable to Silicon Valley of the late 70's in America, as a rebellious attempt to move away from the urban setting to reinvent an independent, creative work community.

Another dilemma that urban workplaces face in the 21st century is that while the nature of the working organization is becoming more horizontal, the spaces are becoming vertical. Therefore, the generous conditions provided by Jeju Province counters this problem as an opportunity to imagine a new type of spatial organization to match Daum's creative, horizontal working organization.

Masterplan - photograph yong-kwan kim

Over the course of the next decade, Daum plans to gradually relocate its operations.
For the development of the IT complex, Jeju Province has designated a vast, undeveloped land of 1,095,900 square meters on the island's northern mountainside, in close proximity to Jeju University. Daum's site, 300m wide and 800m long at its maximum, is the largest central plot within the development area, measuring 132,000 square meters and parallel to the main road in its longitudinal direction.

Given this scale, one can imagine Daum's complex built progressively over time, a masterplan growing organically across the site's green terrain. As a counteraction to the typical office park development – a homogeneous field of low-rise, non-contextual office blocks floating in a sea of parking lots – Daum's masterplan is designed as a linear growth, dividing the site into opposing rural vs. urban zones and informal vs. formal zones.

The urban zone will be defined by a dense, low rise, 70m wide and 800m long superstructure. This proposal allows functions to be optimized, supporting an efficient urban work zone – an "information superhighway," symbolically as well as literally – and a vast area of park-like space dotted with facilities that will house community activities such as farming, sports, etc.

Each of the buildings in the urban zone, no more than 5 floors high, are situated a floor level above the previous to accommodate the site's gradual 60m rise, taking advantage of this gentle, uniform slope to connect the facilities at different levels. This progressive alignment promotes movement across the site vertically, horizontally and diagonally, effectively increasing the efficiency and unity of the masterplan.

Daum Space. 1 : Formal Structure

During the design process, we thought of a way to create a system of structure that could potentially serve as the grammar for the entire territory. To formalize this notion, we designed five elementary structural modules of 8.4m by 8.4m with variations of extrusional or rotational attributes, to either extend or to end the structure as necessary. As a combination of these modules, the structure expands horizontally and vertically.

With these basic "formal structures," we were able to form various forms of vaulted, or cantilevered spaces within large open planes, while also providing a way for the entire campus to grow organically to meet the unpredictable needs of the future.
As a result, large spaces of 12.6m spans or 6.3m cantilevers are supported by vertical piers with small 3.8m spaces within them, creating a field of spaces of various degrees of size and enclosure.

As the first building within the masterplan, Daum Space. 1 is located near the center of the site, to provide the office space for the first 350 employees as well as other subsidiary functions.

As a combination of these modules, we were able to design the Main Center as a five-storey building that is open on all four sides, allowing the scenic views – a nearby forest to the west, Halla Mountain to the south, and the ocean to the north – to penetrate into the interior, creating a favorable working environment.
The ground floor serves the various shared / public functions. The cafeteria, an open lounge, a café, a small pavilion for Daum's public relations purposes, a game room, a gym, and meeting rooms are located here, as well as an auditorium that is isolated from the work space.

The inclined site meets the entrance road on the southern end of the 2nd floor, where one enters the auditorium. The main entrance to the building is located further into the site, with an outdoor space separating the two entrances. The 2nd floor is provided with a double floor ceiling height and the largest open plan work space, composed of the reception area, office spaces, and a block of conference rooms with a library above it as the 3rd floor.
As one progress upward to the 4th and 5th floors, the floor areas become smaller, allowing for more isolated, intimate office spaces, project rooms and conference rooms, together with outdoor terraces (of either wooden decks or grass).

Inside the piers, which act as the vertical structural elements on all floors, are round or rounded rectangular spaces for various core services, HVAC, stairs, elevators, as well as programs such as smaller meeting rooms, restrooms, and lactation rooms.

As a result, Daum Space. 1 has systematic rigor, but by creating an array of spaces of various scales and qualities, it feels like a village without being picturesque, as a vertical/horizontal field of spatial experiences which anticipates further growth in the near future.

Project : Daum Space Masterplan & Daum Space.1
Design Period : 2008.4 – 2010.6
Construction Period : 2010.7 – 2011.11
Type : Office
Location : Jeju Province, Korea
Site Area : 1,095,000 ㎡ (Masterplan) / 48,383 ㎡ (Daum space.1)
Site Coverage Area : 3,720.38 ㎡
Total Floor Area : 9,184.16 ㎡ (including basement floor)
Building-to-Land Ratio : 7.69%
Floor Area Ratio : 15.90%
Building Scope : 5F, B1
Structure : RC
Finish : Exposed Color Concrete, Wood Deck, Vertical & Roof garden
Structural Engineer : TEO Structure
MEP Engineer : HANA Consulting & Engineers
Lighting Engineer : Newlite
Landscape design : Soltos Landscaping
Construction : Hyundai Development Company
Construction Manager : Hanmi Global Co.
Client : DAUM Communications Corp.

Mass Studies

Seoul Memorial Park

Secluded by mountain hills from a bustling highway gateway, Seoul Memorial Park rests in a serene valley area of the Woo-Myun Mountain on the outskirts of Seoul, South Korea. Seoul Memorial Park is a crematorium constructed in harmony with the natural terrain of the site, which previously lent calming scenic views to meditative passing-by hikers, and is now converted to a sanctuary for solemn rituals concluding life’s journeys.

Canvas for Land Art

To overcome the unwelcomed response from the community, this crematorium was sought to be a “non-erected” building. Instead, Seoul Memorial Park emerges as a form of “land art” sculpted into the existing topography with a flowing array of architectural forms and motifs. Concaved at the center of the Park, lies a courtyard encompassed by a series of ritual spaces devoted to separate functions.

These spatial layers bordering the courtyard resonate from a distance with the surrounding mountain trails and ridges. The 2-storey high crematorium facility configured in the curvilinear belt along the courtyard has roof structures linked in the way flower petals pinwheel one another, punctuated by a reflective pool at the very heart of the courtyard.

Comfort in the Final Journey

Families in bereavement take the final journey of parting as they encircle the courtyard along a path reminiscent of spiritual spaces with vaulted ceilings and indirect lighting. Towards the cremation alcove, the ceiling rises drastically as a clearstory above a triforum. Upon completion of the path, a meandering garden comforts the bereft.

As the water from the mountain flows down and gives life to the garden, one might be reminded of the transfiguration of sorrows in praise of the harmony in nature. The garden shimmers with sunlight, whispers with snowfalls, and dances with spring rains. Season by season, tranquility is discovered and the spirit is renewed. Just as nature was dissolved into a building to rest in the valley, Seoul Memorial Park was embodied in a piece of land art to celebrate life and transfigure sorrows.

Date of Completion: 2012
Site Area: 36,000 m2
GFA: 18,000 m2
Client: Seoul Municipal Facilities Management Corporation

HAEAHN Architecture

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