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photo of Shinsegae International
Photo: Kevin Scott / Olson Kundig

Shinsegae International

Seoul, South Korea

Shinsegae International

Seoul, South Korea

  • Design Principal

    Tom Kundig

  • Principal

    Dan Wilson

In designing a new 15-story headquarters for international luxury clothier Shinsegae International, the design team sought to create an iconic landmark in the heart of Gangnam-gu, one of Seoul’s largest districts.

The commercial flagship unites more than 500 Shinsegae employees, who were previously spread between several buildings throughout the city. The program includes staff offices, meeting spaces, design studios, a rooftop garden, and ground-level retail space that faces onto a public plaza. The building is visually divided into two portions – the lower portion relates to the lively motion and interaction happening on the street, while the upper portion relates to the larger urban context of the Gangnam-gu neighborhood.

The building’s high-performance façade is a direct response to the client’s desire for a corporate flagship that departs from the look-and-feel of modern commercial buildings. Designed to meet Korea’s progressive energy codes, which are more rigorous than U.S. LEED® standards, the building’s skin integrates a human scale through its gridded exoskeleton, which also functions as an energy performance strategy. Frit patterns on the glass reduce heat gain, while optimizing thermal comfort and maximizing natural daylight year-round.

Movement and materiality are particularly evident within the building’s first four floors where 7 custom 8-foot-diameter steel wheels open and close a series of custom 35-foot-tall external panels that modulate natural daylight. The dynamic ethos of the fashion world is captured in these kinetic components: each time the panels are engaged in a new configuration, the building’s presence is altered anew.

The façade is intended to move like fabric does – changing positions and proportions, which is especially important at the city level of visual engagement with the building. Tom Kundig, FAIA, RIBA




WAN, Tall Buildings, Winner


Chicago Athenaeum, American Architecture Awards, American Architecture Award


AIA Northwest and Pacific Region, Honor Award

Architizer A+ Awards, Jury Winner, Commercial: Office – Mid Rise (5-15 Floors)

CTBUH: Best Tall Building Awards, Finalist, Best Tall Building Asia & Australia


AIA Seattle Honor Awards, Honor Awards



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Pintos, Paula. “Shinsegae International Headquarter Offices / Olson Kundig.” ArchDaily, 6 May 2019. Web.

“The Architecture World Tour: 80 Brilliant Buildings Across 6 Continents.” Architizer, 11 Jan. 2019. Web.


Mollard, Manon. “Retrospective Olson Kundig.” The Architectural Review, 13 Aug. 2018. Web.

Mollard, Manon. “Retrospective Olson Kundig.” The Architectural Review, July/Aug. 2018, 80-84. Print.

“Shinsegae International.” Archello, 13 Dec. 2018. Web.


“Awards Category Typology / Type Commercial: Office – Mid Rise / Winner Jury: Shinsegae International Seoul, South Korea.” Architizer: A+ Awards 2016, 2016, 49. Book.

“CTBUH Names 2016 Tall Building Award Recipients – Best Tall Building Asia & Australia Finalists.” CTBUH Annual Awards, 22 June 2016. Web.

Hanly, Jack. “Architecture as Product: 7 New Corporate Modernisms.” Architizer, 27 April 2016. Web.