H Architecture, P. C. 

Copyright © 2020  All Rights Reserved


The building is a new R&D Center for Nexen, a leading tire company in South Korea, and recently completed in Magok-special-district which is located at the western edge of Metropolitan Seoul that is currently under development as a hub of cutting-edge industries, hosting many research facilities for South Korea’s leading corporations. The building is equipped a series of multi-disciplinary research and development labs covering all aspects of the company’s technological needs including chemical, heavy-industrial and design development. It also houses supporting offices, various types of meeting areas and welfare facilities for researchers and workers. Additionally, the R&D Center functions as a comprehensive promotional venue with an exhibition area and library which is open to the general public.

The design began with the goal of optimizing the complexity of given program while reinventing a new type of urban research facility suitable in a dense urban context. The design proposes the building to be organized into four programmatic zones while maximizing connectivity and interactivity between zones. Different structural module systems were utilized to maintain each zone’s functional and spatial requirements. All required spaces are shaped in and enwreathed by a dual-helix form programmatically. The dual-helix integrates a continuous roof garden and an inner-court together. It creates various type of outdoor communicative space for researchers and workers, and finally completes a unique prototype of an urban research facility filled with green spaces. Start from the building’s main entrance, the dual-helix leads workers and visitors spiraling up vertically through the entire building. The first helix connects secured work spaces and labs with diverse types and sizes of communicative spaces such as an auditorium, an open-discussion room, board rooms and meeting areas, while the second helix (sitting atop of the first helix) provides a continuous open landscape that connects all communal zones such as rest areas, lounges, a library, a courtyard, a restaurant and a gym. All space within the building are closely interconnected promoting the communication between researchers and workers, even visitors, while maintaining functional separation and security simultaneously. The heart of the building is the inner courtyard, a sun-filled and fluid green, which provides outdoor areas for gathering, rest and events for the workers. The unique dual-helix form with the courtyard promotes use of outdoor space as a communicative space while it provides more efficient and cooperative work experience for workers and researchers. The building is also designed for responding to the environment to provide comfortable and safe research and working conditions as well as to achieve maximum energy efficiency. The southern and eastern façades feature a shading-louver system, inspired by tire treads, that efficiently controls the amount of direct sunlight reaching the work space and reflected sunlight reaching back from the inner courtyard. The louvers along with the landscaping surrounding the courtyard passively allows the building to block heat radiation and efficiently reduces heating and cooling loads with natural ventilation systems throughout the entire building. While many of the research activities deal with potentially toxic and harmful materials, the designs above allow it to be comfortable, efficient and safe.

The invention of the wheel was a critical turning point in the history of mankind that allowed significant developments throughout human civilization. Today’s tire technology is accelerating these changes and has fundamentally redefined our ideas of space and time. People are able to travel further and faster, and connect and communicate more efficiently and safely. This high-tech R&D building not only symbolizes the essential meaning of tire technology but also aims to redefine the typology of an urban research facility.


Workplace, Lab


61,583 sq.ft. (57,171 sq.m.)

Seoul, Korea



2016 (Complete in 2018)