Seoul’s upcoming animated facade

The Hanwha Headquarters in Seoul set out a competition for a remodel with a goal to match it’s environmental technology values.

The newly announced winning proposal by UNStudio will not only increase the skyscraper’s economic footprint, but do it in style through animation.

Per Ben van Berkel of UNStudio:

The design for the Hanwha HQ media facade aims to avoid an overstated impact. In the evenings, as the mass of the building becomes less apparent, the facade lighting integrates with the night sky, displaying gently shifting constellations of light.


I personally love the idea and potential of a changing facade depending on your perspective of the building. I’ve seen it work wonderfully with the Aqua Tower here in Chicago as the wavy balconies appear to move as you drive along Lake Shore Drive, for instance. It defines the skyscraper amidst many definitive ones in Chicago and I think it will do the same to Hanwha HQ in Seoul. In fact, Hanwha takes it to another level with the lighting responding to the media activities on the street below (Hanbit Avenue), while individual LED pixels create highlighted areas of activity within. The pixelated lighting references nature, data processing and energy forms to match Hanwha’s environmental technology brand. In general, I hope these changing, now animated, facades become a trend that more cities and skyscrapers pick up on. It’s going to look beautiful, no matter the time of day, and give an already lively city an unexpected source of energy.


Furthermore, I mentioned the scheme will increase the HQ’s economic footprint. It will do so in many ways, as the animated facade will increase natural light (and thereby create more sustainable energy) and circulate the interior climate more efficiently. The facade’s geometry is even adapting to the sun and building’s orientation for increased energy efficiency and receive direct sunlight through strategically angled PV panels.

Head on over to ArchDaily for more info and details on the above, plus diagrams and specs for the archigeek in ya.


All photos © UNStudio.