Namdaemun Tower was constructed by Mecanoo Architecten. Located next to the ancient southern gate to the city of Seoul, South Korea, the Namdaemun market where the tower was constructed is considered as the oldest and largest market in the country. Since it began to operate as a government-managed marketplace in 1414, Namdaemun market has become an essential 24-hour destination for trade as well as a popular tourist attraction.
Based on the market’s history and regional cultures, the architecture team was inspired to design a contemporary office building that connects the past and present. Therefore, they maximized the land allocation and came with the slim 14-floor building that stands tall and elegantly on a corner plot opposite the market.
The restrained monochromatic appearance of the tower functions as a counterbalance to the colorful frenzy of the market’s 24-hour activity.
The role of the façade frames extends more than decoration. It creates different atmospheres and filters the incoming light, making shadows around the interior spaces.
The relationship between the tower and its surroundings showcases the passing of time, changing from day to night. At daytime, the façade material reflects the sunlight, while at nighttime, the building appears to glow from within.
Overall, the design of Namdaemun Tower has managed to reveal its characteristic façade pattern to the market and beyond.