may 16 | Design Diffusion

Playing with Angles

by Manuela Di Mari

FKI Tower is a major addition to the skyline of Seoul, Korea.

The 116,000 square meter, 50-story, 240-meter tall tower features an innovative exterior wall designed specifically for the project, which reduces heating and cooling while harvesting renewable energy through photovoltaic panels that are integrated into portions of the façade that have the maximum amount of annual solar exposure. The building concept is the result of combining the client’s request for a building that was contextual to the predominantly orthogonal architecture of the Yeoido District, and the City of Seoul’s requirement that all new largescale commercial buildings generate a minimum of 5% of their energy onsite.

The end result satisfies both requirements, while maximizing views and incorporating energy efficiency strategies and energy generation technologies. Through a series of studies, it was determined that the maximum amount of energy collected by the spandrel-integrated photovoltaic panels would be achieved by angling them 30° toward the sun. The vision panels are angled 15° toward the ground to mitigate glare and reduce solar radiation into the building interior. The building leverages its geometry to self-shade the interior perimeter, which under different circumstances, would be inundated with direct sunlight. This allows building occupants to open the window shades and allow daylight to penetrate the deep lease spans.

The building's interior benefits from the floor-to-ceiling curtain wall system which includes operable lites, offering fresh air, an abundance of daylight and extensive views of the neighboring Yeoido Park, the Han River and the surrounding city. Landscaped atria are distributed throughout the tower which enhance the workplace environment with natural elements of wood, bamboo and other native plants.

FKI Tower features an expansive rooftop atrium garden that also incorporates photovoltaic panels. It was determined that within the limited roof area a 10°angle toward the sun allowed for the maximum number of panels to be installed while minimizing them from shading each other and ultimately producing more solar energy for the building. It was equally important to provide sufficient daylight into the sky garden below, which is planted with Korean Boxwood, a lush and hearty, low-maintenance shrub. The rooftop atrium includes seating areas that tenants can use to enjoy views of the surrounding city.

The podium was placed in a prominent location so that it would have a clear identity at grade and access to an abundance of outdoor landscaped areas; and the pedestrian and vehicular access is integrated into the landscape as an extension of the park setting. The podium includes a large banquet hall on the ground floor and a conference center with conference rooms of various sizes located on the second and third floors.

FKI Tower illustrates how incorporating simple principles with a conventional exterior wall system can yield high-performance, and integrated architectural and engineering design solutions exhibiting timeless and enduring qualities.