Galleria Centercity

April 18, 2011 /


Photo: Christian Richters

Situated some 80 km 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.

The main architectural theme for the Galleria Cheonan is that of dynamic flow. This is found both inside and outside. The architecture 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 facade 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.

Photo: Christian Richters

The Galleria Cheonan responds to the current retail climate in Asia, where department stores also operate as social and semi-cultural meeting places. Because of this, the quality of the public spaces within the building was treated as an integral aspect of the design.

/Ben van Berkel

Photo: Christian Richters
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 program clusters, each encompassing three storys and containing public plateaus, are linked to the central void.

Image courtesy UNStudio
This organization 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.

Photo: Christian Richters
Photo: Christian Richters
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 colors are used to generate waves of colored light across the large scale illuminated surface. The lighting design was developed in parallel with the architecture and capitalizes 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.

Photo: Kim Yong-kwan
Photo: Kim Yong-kwan
Photo: Kim Yong-kwan
Photo: Kim Yong-kwan

The most interesting thing to me about the effect of the Galleria Cheonan is that, because of the organisation of the atrium and the moiré treatment of the facade, Illusions are created which result in the seeming alteration of scales and the creation of double images. No image is permanent in this building.

/Ben van Berkel

Image courtesy UNStudioFacade concept

Image courtesy UNStudioDouble layer facade

Facts about Galleria Centercity

Site Area:

11,235 m2
Building Area: 7090 m2
Gross Floor Area: 110,530.73 m2


Design team:   

Ben van Berkel
Astrid Piber
Ger Gijzen
Marc Herschel
Marianthi Tatari
Sander Versluis
Albert Gnodde
Jorg Lonkwitz
Tom Minderhoud
Lee Jae-young
Woo Jun-seung
Constantin Boincean
Yu-chen Lin

Executive Architect:

ANSAM Architects & Partners, Seoul

Design team:   

Kim Tai-jip
Han Ki-young
Nam Myung-kwan
Yoon Chang-bae
Park Seong-beom
Kwon Na-young
Nam Young-ho

Facade Consultant:


Light Designer:

ag Licht, Bonn

Structural Engineer:

Kopeg Engineering

Electrical Engineer:

Ilshin E&C

Mechanical Engineer:   

Sahmwon MEC

Civil Engineer:


Main Contractor:

Hanwha E&C Co. LTD

Facade contractor:

Iljin Unisco


Hanwha Galleria Co. LTD

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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