By Jay Landers
Unlike a traditional office building, the new headquarters of the Hana Financial Group, in Cheongna, South Korea, is intended to be open to nature as well as the public. The 16-story structure features a series of ramps that link the four wings of the building while providing access to the outdoors and internal parklike settings.
Designed by the architecture and design firm NBBJ, Hana Financial’s new headquarters reflects lessons learned during the past two years as countries, companies, and communities have tried to come to grips with how best to function during a pandemic.
“As one of the first workplace environments fully designed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, NBBJ offers a groundbreaking design focused on enhancing well-being and community,” the company said in a June 2021 news release announcing the unveiling of the project’s design.As envisioned by NBBJ, the headquarters is designed “to be a restorative workplace where nature is woven into the design, and workspaces are flexible, diverse, and inspiring.”
Inhabitants wishing to step outside for fresh air can do so by means of several ramps along the building’s exterior.
The new headquarters will feature a “series of looping public pathways that traverse the building from bottom to top, connecting major hubs with amenity pavilions and programmed spaces in a parklike environment with plentiful fresh air and green space,” NBBJ said.
“Instead of a fully enclosed building with levels only accessible by elevator, the new headquarters site is energized by a ribbon of park experiences — including plantings, plazas, and sculptural landforms — that continues in a zig-zig pattern up through the building, with programmed terraces and points of interest encouraging people to pause and slow down along the journey,” according to NBBJ.
The parklike setting continues to the roof of the building, which is intended for use as a gathering place. From this vantage point, spectators will enjoy scenic views of the surrounding landscape, including the nearby Yellow Sea.
Unlike traditional office towers that are closed off from their surroundings, the headquarters is intentionally designed to foster a connection with the broader community.
The building “invites the public inside, in the spirit of transparency and true to the company’s values,” NBBJ says. To this end, a “sloping plaza seamlessly transitions from the site landscape into the building’s lower lobby levels,” which will contain retail and food establishments.
The interior of the building will feature bright, airy spaces with a subdued color palette consisting mainly of wood and terrazzo stone. Floor plans include a variety of work environments, from collaborative lounge-type settings to quieter locations conducive to individual work.
Within floors eight and nine of the building, restaurants and wellness amenities will be available for the public and employees to use. The ramp itself will include “pockets of nature interspersed with programmed art installments and interactive digital experiences.”
Begun in mid-February, construction on the project is expected to last approximately four years. The work is being conducted by the South Korean construction firms HANMI Global and the Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co.