Seongnam City Hall and Council designed by KMD Architects is located in Seongnam, Korea. One of Seoul’s booming ‘satellite’ cities, Seongnam has seen its population grow rapidly since the early 1990s and needed a new civic space to expand its administrative and citizen services capabilities. The team of KMD and SAMOO Architects & Engineers was selected as the winner of an international design competition to complete the new Seongnam City Hall & Council in Korea.
The design team carefully considered the evolving role of the government, and decided to combine the council chambers and city hall into one building, a new, forward-thinking and less hierarchical approach that they hoped the City would embrace.
The ground level of City Hall is open and transparent to inspire a sense of community and interaction, putting the activities within on display. The council chambers are cantilevered above the ground plane to further create a sense of openness. The plaza surrounding the complex offers public gardens and water features for employees and visitors alike to enjoy at all hours.
The height restriction made it challenging to create an iconic element within the civic complex; as a result the winning design is a sculptural one, with a great attention to detail and a multitude of jewel-like facets. To link the civic center with surrounding residential and public neighbourhoods, the structure has no ‘front’ or ‘back’, offering access on all sides with several entry points and pedestrian paths around, through, and beneath the elegant cantilever and atrium.
The building ‘floats’ above the ground and intends to become part of a whole rather than trying to become the latter. ‘Touch the Sky’, as the project was nicknamed in Korea, expresses the purpose of the design team: to create a government facility that will instigate progress and build a community based on openness, transparency and respect for the environment. The buidling was completed in December 2009.