Concrete is perhaps the most basic of modern building materials, but its production has been estimated to contribute a whopping 5% of all man-made atmospheric carbon. In Korea, where concrete is the primary building material, the Hanil Visitors Center and Guest House is dedicated to demonstrating how to recycle and re-imagine this ubiquitous material. The design by BCHO Architects is an architectural gem -- it features exterior forms that echo a forest and creates transitions and spaces that are elegant and richly textured. The center is sited adjacent to Hanil Co’s large cement factory and contains a number of new and sustainable solutions relating to the use and reuse of concrete.
The Hanil Visitors Center is positioned between a restored hillside and an industrial complex to the west. As a vivid example of how concrete can be used with a lowered environmental impact, the Center features a significant amount of reused concrete from the poring of some exterior walls to the subsequent walls and the roof. The building itself uses the thermal properties on concrete to modulate the internal temperatures. The substantial recycled concrete roof lowers internal temperatures, while the southern walls use the recycled concrete in steel cages to form a wall system.
The entrance has a series of openings facing the factory in order to frame the Center’s education mission. The Center has many samples of repurposed waste concrete products, and the company intends to continually update the displays with their latest research on environmentally-responsible technologies.
Inside is a sumptuous series of spaces that transition from the industrial concrete walls to a soft wooden ceiling to a sunken meeting area. Courtyards between the two buildings feature contemplative gardens. The flowing design evokes a modern veranda — a place to mix man-made order with the carefully considered reclaimed landscape.
Via Arch Daily
Photos © Yong Gwan Kim