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Since its establishment in 1950 the Bank of Korea, the country’s central bank, has experienced many expansions as a result of the rapid growth of the country’s economy in the second half of the 20th century. At one point in the mid 1970’s the headquarters, located in the CBD of Seoul, consisted of 11 separate buildings on its current site until the 16-story main hall was erected in 1987 consolidating a majority of the programs under one roof. Yet the bank continued to grow and expand. Today many of the departments are scattered among disparate outdated facilities, both on and off-site, posing challenges to efficiency and risk to operational security. The existing complex is composed of four buildings, the oldest and original bank building, which is currently being used as a currency museum, the 16-story main office tower, and two annexes, all built at different times during the latter half of the 20th century. The new expansion will replace the two annexes, one of which was deemed structurally unstable, to create a singular, fully connected complex for all administrative and banking functions. Along with the construction of the new annex, all remaining facilities will go through full-scale structural and interior renovations.

Just as a central bank’s role is largely to guarantee the economic stability of a country, the design proposal planned to provide a platform on which the central bank can operate in a secure and efficient manner. Furthermore, the design of the new annex, which harkens back to the historical legacy of the original structures within the complex, are intended to inspire confidence, solidity and growth, all which are ideal qualities that represent a strong nation’s economy. One of the main goals of the proposal is to reorganize the complex as a whole. The scattered functions and departments of the bank will be grouped into largely three categories. The core bank functions would be situated in the main tower, policy and planning functions would be located mainly in the south wing of the new annex, and finally, support functions would be housed in the north wing tucked away behind the main tower.

Given the nature, scale and complexity of the programs much focus was placed on achieving an optimal balance between security and efficiency. The public programs requiring lower security (teller windows, employee amenities, auditorium, press center and visitor center, etc) are to be located mainly on the ground level and closer to the main street, allowing easy access to the public. The core bank functions requiring higher security (administrative, policy-making departments, facilities dealing with processing and transportation of currency, etc) were vertically separated either in the upper levels or below ground level and concentrated toward the rear of the site, far from the public. Vehicular circulation is carefully planned so that visitors are screened and filtered at the visitor center into 4 levels of security access then directed to their respective parking zones and cores in a secure and organized manner. To maximize efficiency and security a dedicated entrance has been assigned for armed vehicles transporting currency. Each of the employee security check points of the previous existing buildings were consolidated at the new main lobby. From the main lobby workers can directly access all areas within the complex through a continuous enclosed corridor called the “network tube,” which penetrates and connects all zones of the complex as well as the public functions such as the auditorium, multi-purpose hall, conference rooms, the restaurant, various employee amenities and the press center. A shading system was employed on the upper floors of the west façade to achieve energy efficiency as well as visual privacy from neighboring buildings. The remaining facades, clad in granite panels identical to the existing main tower, are designed based on patterns and proportions that pay homage to classical Korean architecture symbolizing tradition and solidity. An extensive array of photovoltaic cells cover the rooftops for additional energy efficiency.




1,035,272 sq.ft. (96,180 sq.m.)

Seoul, Korea




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