Electronic Technology & Communication Research Center

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source : Space 9904

 

·Location : 161 Kajong-dong, Yusong-gu, Taejon ·Site area : 339,416.20 m2
·Building area : 18,817.20 m2 ·Gross Floor area : 88,931.96 m2
·Building scope : 6F, B2 ·Director of design : Ko, Joo Seok
·Architect : Heerim Architects & Engineers
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source : Space 9904

Daedok Research Complex which has been filled with various buildings since late 1970 seems to allude to nation's modern architectural history. The various buildings representing the images of their owner enterprises or research centers harbor not only Korean people's aspiration for economic growth but also the bubbles which once floated over our economy.   At this moment when a couple of decades has passed since the research complex began to be constructed, it may well be necessary to review one of its components, the 7th Research Block of Electronic Technology and Communication Research Center to find an exemplar answer to the research complex. 
The southern side of the center is open, while its eastern and western sides are surrounded by low hills.  When you enter the center through the gate installed on its northern side, you will face the buildings one after another, which look rather crude against your expectation of any advanced research center.  Passing through these buildings, you will ultimately see, deep to the southwestern corner of the center, the site for the seventh block of the center, inclining from north to south moderately. In terms of its context, the project for the 7th Research Block of the center seems to be obliged to meet the interior requirements of creating a comfortable research environment, and at the same time, the exterior requirements of being smoothly linked with the 6th block and other buildings of the center to be integrated into the entire environment of the complex.

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source : Space 9904

It is the courtyard as a useful tool that has been introduced to meet such requirements. In this building, the courtyards look three-fold; The eastern one located on the entrance level is open towards the outside to link the building to the complex. When viewed from inside the building, the courtyard will look like a neat square, but when viewed far from the building, it will look landscaped well enough to be felt deep and even perspective.

On the third level to the west, courtyards of different characteristics are arranged to be well paired. The two square courtyards (light wells) centered structurally to be surrounded completely by the building on their four sides serve to control the interior environment of the building. Another pair of courtyards open to the west commands a view of the beautiful forest. These two pairs of courtyards are differently but appropriately proportioned in a three-dimensional way depending on their topography and uses. Between these courtyard pairs of two different levels is a third courtyard or an atrium which is planned to be cylindrical.

The atrium plays a role of linking or dividing the courtyard pairs - one is installed on the ground level, and another on the third level. In short, it is shaped circular to be centripetal. In addition, the atrium open to the sky is interfaced with the courtyards on its eastern and western sides, which means that it will possibly be open also to them. However, such a possibility may become a seed of some problem.

After all, the designer could not resist the enticement of a 'horizontal openness' only to open the atrium wide to the east. As a consequence, we feel attracted centripetally to the western sky, while being allured to look at the handsome hill unfolding to the east. Such a confusion reminds us of the problems 'proper location of architectural elements' and 'directionality of lights'. It is not because of the crude subsidiary members made of steel skeleton but because of such a conceptual confusion that in the atrium we feel dim for the lights coming down from above.

Unlike the ambiguous light dominating the atrium, the natural lights falling down the exposed concrete wall along the narrow long passages formed on the both sides of a basement auditorium are bright and pleasant. You sure will feel again the unique sense of 'pleasant solitude' which you may have felt when you were walking on a narrow slim alley.

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When you walk up to the top level capped with a vaulted roof, you will see a narrow and long rooftop garden formed on the outside columns set back from the wall plane. In particular, when you arrive at its southern part 7.26 meters long from east to west, you will feel a sense of depth, being attracted far to the facade, as if you were standing on the sundeck of Alvar Aalto's Paimio Sanatorium. The southern beams which could serve to even heal the tuberculosis will surely help to refresh and please researchers' mind. If even the handrails of the rooftop garden embracing the building had been designed to be more detailed, the rooftop garden could not be more excellent.

Although they have yet to be modified or complemented, courtyards and rooftop garden may well be combined with the landscaping details around the building to testify to architect's deep regards to the environment. The integrated approach to surrounding landscape and complex is the main concept of this building, though it may not be easily recognized against the neat exterior based on a 6.6 * 6.6 M module system. When the four courtyards are installed on the third level with a soft landscape implemented, you will feel more human for the building.

Owing to the conceptual clarity of the basic solution with courtyards as well as the architectural technology innovated for every detail, this building must be highly appreciated. Our doubt whether the exposed concrete is suitable to our construction conditions is relieved much if we examine the condition of the 'high-polished exposed concrete' coated with fluorine resin for interior and exterior of the building. Besides, the inside floor is constructed with the access floors to meet the technical requirements of research space, while being equipped with a cooling/heating system to reduce the scale of air conditioning area or allow for a flexible cooling and heating. Furthermore, when I heard that construction manager, designer and constructor join their efforts to introduce new technologies on the spot, while localizing or adapting some of them to the spot conditions, I could not but admit that the building has resulted from the invisible efforts combined.

 

 

In all, for this 7th Research Block of Electronic Technology and Communication Research Center, the spaces are structured in a reasonable and orderly manner based on a modular system, and courtyards of various characteristics and landscape form the basis for the environment, and various architectural settings are pursued integrally, as shown in the scientific and reasonable construction of exposed concrete and other advanced technologies used and details implemented. Although the resultant building may not be perfect, I feel that this project is very successful in consideration of our unfavorable architectural reality. If such a calm but architecturally state-of-the-art building should be introduced much, the environment of Daedok Research Complex would be improved that much.