iArc Architects designed the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, South Korea. The project aimed toward an optimization of the buildings energy conservation and the nearby Kyonghi Palace also had to be taken into account as a possible discrepant monument next to an ultramodern neighbor.
The Institute has a square shape and is covered by reflecting glass, thus having a minimalist, even plain, exterior which quite literally reflects the surroundings as was required. The interior on the other hand has a complex structure and has the atrium as a pivotal point for the whole design. It is located in the center of the building and every corridor goes through it. The top of the atrium allows the light to enter and the air to pass through the whole building.
The first out of the three levels of the building is open for visits and contains a gallery, a café and a theater. Also atop the building there is a garden with a panoramic view of Seoul and a particularly good sight of the Kyonghi Palace.
A steel frame creates a system of beams that encompass the interior giving the building an organic unity. Combined with the concrete that is left in plain sight to carry the plumbing and the electricity through the place, everything seems to aim towards the transparent. Nothing here is hidden. Rarely do we see a better example of an idea given shape.