Gwanggyo, South Korea
- Gwanggyo, South Korea
Public Walkway: a gravitation point for public life
Architecture that goes beyond the structure of the building: the Galleria, a multiple complex in Gwanggyo, a new city in the centre of the Gyeonggi province, south of Seoul, is the most recent coup for the OMA architects’ office, world-renowned and headquartered in Rotterdam. Located in the centre of this recent urban development, surrounded by high residential blocks, the Galleria, with its stone-like, solid, voluminous and almost disturbingly magical appearance, is a miraculous gravitation point for public life in Gwanggyo.
The mastermind behind this development was Chris van Duijns, the OMA partner who developed the design concept for this project from the rhizome theory of the OMA founder and Pritzker Prize winner, Rem Koolhaas. The objective was to concentrate on architecture that reached beyond the actual structure of the building itself and matched the scale of its urban environment. This resulted in an organic link between the architecture, the city and its people. The Galleria is a public space that presents the shopping experience as much more than a simple diversion; indeed as a cultural focal point. The building combines cultural amenities and promotes the encounter with architecture and culture in equal measure, to generate a unique shopping experience.
The building in Gwanggyo, opened in March 2020, is the sixth branch of Galleria – the largest up-market department store franchise in Korea. The solid, changing volumes of stone in its façade of finely-structured mosaic, echoes the nature in the neighbouring Suwon Gwanggyo Lake Park. A dynamic and richly-faceted glass walkway loops around the stone and breaks out of it, reminding us of underground termite passages, forming a ‘Sky Bridge’ that contrasts with the opaque character of the stone. The material breaks out of a layer of giant cliffs and provides brilliant light, like a precious stone. Transparent glass surfaces allow visitors to sense the light that penetrates the building and extends how it spatially relates to the city promenade. This walkway, consisting of a sequence of cascade-like terraces, provides space for exhibitions and performances.
This lifestyle complex in Gwanggyo does not just accommodate commercial areas, but also a large congress centre, a luxurious office complex, hotels and an aquarium within 137,714 square metres of space. Exhibitions, culture and entertainments combine to create a new paradigm for what is associated with department stores – to become a new landmark for Korea.
A prestigious atmosphere is inspired by stylish effects: the Galleria in Gwanggyo is fitted with the classic JUNG LS 990 design in stainless steel, aluminium and dark, along with the A Creation design range in aluminium and matt anthracite. These versions in top-quality metal make their restrained, exclusive mark, without dominating and they fit naturally into the futuristic architecture. The JUNG KNX technology additionally ensures intelligent blinds and lighting operation. The building technology is conveniently and centrally operated through the JUNG push-button sensors.