Korea Development Bank

Seoul, Korea

The new headquarters building for the Korea Development Bank occupies a prominent site on Seoul's Jeoudo Square. The site has a unique civic position as it is within close proximity of the National Assembly building and the Han River (a strong cultural element in Seoul), and borders a significant open space reminiscent of Tiananmen Square in Bejing or Central Park in New York.

The bank is the financial engine for the substantial transition currently underway in Korea which will shape the country's emergent role in the 21st century. Philosophically, the premise of the design concept is to express a sense of stability and permanence appropriate for the bank, as well as a progressive spirit representative of the bank's role in the growth of the Korean economy.

Architecturally, the headquarters building has the responsibility of both containing and continuing the adjacent open space and acknowledging the National Assembly which anchors the adjacent boulevard. By placing the banking hall at the corner, its unique shape creates the deflection toward the government building: at the same time the cornice line nine stories above continues the edge of the open space.

Beyond the banking hall are two wings of an office building separated by a grand internal atrium. Each wing derives its external character from the adjacent and varying urban condition. The east wing faces the open space, so maintains a grand scale. It appears to float above the trees and derives its geometry from a wide angle of vision in the foreground. Into this mass is carved a very large window that punctuates the facade at a scale that serves as a focus.

The banking hall is the focus of the building and serves allegorically as the rock in the river of transition that represents stability and permanence.  The mission to establish a permanent and timeless facility for the bank of banks for Korea was accomplished through lasting architectural design that derives its character from extension of the techniques of construction and extraordinary detailing and materials.