Today we present the swiss embassy competition in Seoul, koree. Project done with Hans Focketyn (www.hansfocketyn.com)
Concept: An embassy is a series of interconnected enclosures with clear functional distinctions, working as a whole to make the representation and administration works run. This embassy starts by bending the exterior walls to create several rooms, attending to de different functions (representative, administration, service…). Once the rooms are created, these walls carefully bend to make interior spaces as two big boxes, corresponding to the main two uses. With this process the embassy generates the correct amount of spaces and their connections to work both as a whole and as very specific high standard individual units.
Phasing: The project asked for a project in two phases: one respecting an existing building and another once it was replaced.
Boxes: the two boxes containing the interior spaces correspond the two main uses (residence and chancellerie) and carefully find their place in the plot: the chacellerie gives a representative façade to the street, using the entrance plaza that will give a little bit of air in such a condensed area; the residence finds its position in the most prominent part of the plot, enjoying the views created by this small mountain that is the plot.
Programmatic scheme: both buildings work as a whole with the rest of the walls, creating and controlling the several possible connections between the functional spaces and have a very clear programatis scheme: The chancellerie has a direct and public connection to the street that later gives access to the aire consulaire, whereas the internal entrance is in the other side, with direct entry to the stair that links and separates the different functional units (tête de mission, aire diplomatique, aire consulaire, aire commune and autres departaments), allowing separated use of all of them. The clear depth of the building allows for offices of 4.5m depth, an ideal size for this very specific use. The residence work in strati: in the ground floor finds its place the representative area, linked in one end to an exterior promenade access and to the other with the beautiful gardens of the plot through a covered space. First floor is for the private spaces of the residence, with an overhanging exterior covered space that will give privacy to the residents and will help controlling the climate issues. The floor below uses the topography of the plot to generate an exterior space to give light to the service rooms that require it. The three floors are united with a service and a representative stair.
Gardens: the project doesn’t make distinction between interior and exterior spaces, working as one continuous organism with several possible promenades. The exterior spaces take a very unique and specific character depending on their position: the entrance patio is connected to the street (a gate could be added if the political situation requires it) and has a tree and some vegetation to welcome the people. Invited people would then cross an exterior gate and find themselves in a small enclosure that then extends to directly connect to the embassy, then go in an interior space accompanied with two walls as the exterior ones, that suddenly open to create the three main representational spaces, all interconnected and linked through covered exterior spaces to the main representation garden: a green area with several trees and a pond, with paths and pen views to the exterior making an inside oasis that will help in the representative functions of the embassy. Connected to this patio we can find the hôtes patio, a small enclosure with its own tree that the hôte can use as an independent entrance space. Separating the two buildings there is a service patio, a green with three trees that can host all service outside uses and gives access to the chancellerie. The project uses the topographical qualities of the site to give a patio for the lower part of the chancellerie and a patio for the service rooms.
Construction: the whole embassy works as one unit, where walls, buildings, interior and exterior spaces merge in a very complex and specific machine able to fulfil the requirements of the use. As a consequence of that all the elements are done with one block, which can be full or hollow, dimming down the presence of the building and increasing the importance of the garden: one piece of 40x40x40 that is carefully combined, able to relate to the korean typical architecture, allowing different grades of shade that will help in the building climate performance. This overall concept of the building will help in making a functional, easy, economic and sustainable building.
RaichdelRio is an architecture study based in Barcelona created by Lluis Raich and Miquel del Río, both architects in Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona, ETSAB. The two members get to know each other in the university: Raich and del Rio where one next to the other in the alphabetic lists and so meeting each other was already written. Slowly, Miquel and Lluis started to discover that besides de “R”, they shared a similar vision of the architecture, a vision not only concentrated in university, but also looking at what life could offer them. So they started to share projects which were not strictly architecture (clothes, paintings, labyrinths, exhibitions…) but made feasible to think and finish them, as architecture couldn’t allow at the moment. Once finished university, the natural way was to found a study where all those things that we had been doing, turned more and more in architecture, point in which de studio is now.