UNStudio‘s Galleria Centercity Department Store in the Korean city of Cheonan reclaims the social and cultural space within the private, commercial large scale department store. Situated some 80km south of Seoul, Cheonan is well connected to the capital by railway and road, with a new high speed rail link having recently been completed. The area around the new high speed terminal is under development and – prominently visible from the main road – the Galleria Centercity marks the entrance to this new development area.
Dynamic Flow and optical illusion on a grand scale
The main architectural theme for the Galleria Cheonan is that of dynamic flow. This is found both inside and outside. The architecture of the 66,000 m ² building responds to its central position by presenting a deliberately changeable aspect all-around. Moiré effects, special lighting and animations ensure that the outside changes appearance constantly.
The double layered facade encloses the building, with a number of strategic openings incorporated into the inner facade layer.These openings provide daylight to the interior. At the same time, the lamellas of the outer façade prevent direct sunlight from entering the building, ensuring a cooler environment, while the use of white finishes throughout the interior minimises the need for artificial lighting.
The interior derives its character from the accumulation of rounded plateaus on long columns. The repetition of curves, enhanced by coiled strip lighting in the ceilings of the platforms, gives the interior its distinctive character. Four stacked programme clusters, each encompassing three storeys and containing public plateaus, are linked to the central void. This organisation propels a fluent upstream flow of people through the building, from the ground floor atrium to the roof terrace. As the plateaus are positioned in a rotational manner in space, they enable the central space to encompass way finding, vertical circulation, orientation and act as main attractor of the department store. The spatial and visual connections within the space are designed to generate a lively and stimulating environment, in which the user is central.
Media facade – The largest illuminated surface of its kind in the world
The strategy for the building enclosure consists of creating an optical illusion. During the day the building has a monochrome reflective appearance, whilst at night soft colours are used to generate waves of coloured light across the large scale illuminated surface. The lighting design was developed in parallel with the architecture and capitalises on the double layered facade structure. Computer generated animations specially designed by UNStudio are incorporated into the lighting design and refer to themes related to the department store, such as fashion, events, art and public life.
Place branding – not name branding