Unicity - AHC Lab, 2016
Unicity – AHC Lab.: to obtain “Idetity” in urbanscape.
Unicity is the headquarters and research center of AHC, a cosmetic business in South Korea. AHC wants to make a splendid building design to show recent growth of the company.
However, the condition of the site, located in Mapo, one of the old sections in Seoul, makes hard to design a building to be distinguished in urban scenery. Regarding physical environment of the site, the significantly irregular shaped site locates behind buildings consisted of ordinary neighborhood living facilities. Briefly, the site is hardly visible in surroundings, especially from main streets of City. In addition, due to the legal limitations, the building can be put in only small part of the site, and ground level has to be planned for parking lots. Hence, it was essential for us how to make the building have a standout image within these restrictions.
At the beginning phase of the project, we took architectural strategy named ‘unicity’ to obtain ‘Identity’ of the building by making a unique shape which could be distinguished with surrounding urban scenery. Based on the volume which could be defined by the legal condition, it was adjusted to generate visually distinctive scene from the specific points of the street. With the modification of the building form, we could provide independent outside space for each floor to reflect the peculiarities of the research center that is important to be autonomous with other layers. Moreover, it aimed to replace green spaces, which cannot be provided on the ground, into rooftop gardens.
In terms of material, architects used pine board exposed concrete as the overall material which could show the framework of the building. In some ways, showing uncovered surface of concrete could be understood in the same context as revealing human skin without makeup. It was another strategy to make the identity of the building which reflects the characteristics of AHC, mainly developing aesthetic products improving the essence of skin.
In the long run, morphological characteristics and space of Unicity will be a medium to acquire the identity of AHC by giving visual excitement to people facing the ordinary urban scenery.