SAMOO Architects and Engineers is a global multi-disciplinary architectural firm recognised for providing the best service to its clients and assisting them in realising their visions. Established in 1976 with headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, the firm is committed to sustainable practices and satisfying the needs of its clients. With over 40 years in the industry, the firm is creating a legacy for future generations while also improving the architectural environment by incorporating modern technologies into its designs. The company has completed over 8000 projects and has more than 100 awards, which testifies to its advancing design expertise.

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Korean Embassy,UAE__©Yunho Lee

The firm delivers a wide range of services, right from architectural, urban, interior, and sustainable design to engineering. Along with various services, SAMOO has expertise in designing high-tech industrial facilities. The business seeks to apply new architectural ideals by connecting and combining design and technology, as well as moving beyond the scope and limits of current architectural design. The organisation can develop a distinctive design that is best suited for each project’s purpose and context by looking at each project from a different perspective. 

SAMOO Architects and Engineers also make an effort to meet the needs of the project’s customers by offering designs that integrate and combine technologies to achieve optimal functionality. The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in UAE is one of the company’s projects that exemplifies its vision and superiority in global design.

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The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in UAE _©SAMOO

The building of an South Korean embassy, a representative of one nation in another, is a huge undertaking. The Embassy of South Korea in the United Arab Emirates was planned along similar lines to represent South Korea in the UAE. The designers at SAMOO have incorporated Islamic architecture to honour the UAE culture while also adjusting to Korea’s ancient origins. Similar to their earlier projects, the architects strove to make this construction sustainable and innovative, which led to its selection and award of the National Property Architecture Awards grand prize.

The design was influenced by the traditional Korean wedding box, which is a box filled with wedding presents that represents the start of a new association between the couple’s families. The idea serves as the cornerstone for South Korea’s diplomatic ties with the UAE and all other Arab countries. The idea of visualisation is a contemporary depiction of traditional Korean culture mixed with Islamic architecture. To uphold the company’s slogan, elements are meticulously developed to justify the adaptation of both cultures and incorporate technology into the design.

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Top View, Korean Embassy,UAE _©Yunho Lee

The South Korean Embassy, which has three stories and a 5,476-square-metre floor area, was created with the intention of serving as an office building. The area, which is in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was built in a way that complements the area’s mostly official architecture. After completing a programme analysis, the buildings for civil applications and office activities were placed in front of the site in a more accessible area. On the site, the private official building was positioned farther back. The arrangement achieves the designer’s primary goal, which was to make the workplace as effective and accessible as feasible.

The symbolic overlapping space of the ‘Daecheong Maru,’ the hardwood floor hall of a ‘hanok’—a traditional Korean home—was the design technique employed by SAMOO. In a ‘hanok,’ the concept of space between rooms is replaced with space between two masses, resulting in a visual frame composed of floors that face each other. The entire site has been balanced by the designer using the visual and spatial relationship of voids. Also made possible by these vacant spaces between the masses is floor-to-floor contact. These crucial details are essential for managing and communicating in an official building.

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Site View, Korean Embassy,UAE _©Yunho Lee

The architectural elevation is a modern interpretation of the window and door patterns used in traditional Korean architecture. SAMOO has given traditional Korean components not just a contemporary twist but also infused them with local architecture. The building exemplifies the simplified aesthetic of the two nations by fusing the well-known Korean aesthetic with Islamic culture. Traditional Korean window styles were rationalised for contemporary use by taking the climate and constructibility of the area into account. The design was achieved by exploring irregular arrangements of different traditional patterns after which, arrangements of the royal traditional ‘taegeuk’ pattern as a motif were finalised. According to the architect, ‘taegeuk‘ was chosen because it symbolises development and prosperity via the harmony of ‘yin and yang’ (negative and positive).

Facade Details, Korean Embassy,UAE _©SAMOO

The building was strategically designed with a double skin system used to reduce the consumption of energy and to minimise the solar radiation flux caused by the hot climate of the UAE. The exterior skin finish is mainly made of GFRC cut panels (glass-fibre reinforced concrete). While the inner skin of the exterior facade is made of double-glazed low-E glass, which has higher solar gains and makes a space approximately 40% more energy efficient. The glass is held by aluminium bars, which are colour-coated. The designers have taken special measures to make the structure more environmentally conscious and climatically profound.

SAMOO architects and engineers, who have earned honours for their work, contributed their design knowledge to building the South Korean embassy. The modern twist on the same is especially beautiful because it combines the traditions of Korea and the UAE. This Korean embassy has established a distinctive identity despite the UAE becoming a centre for other contemporary buildings that have won awards. Through its vision and advancement in design, SAMOO has accomplished several milestones, including the renowned “Red Dot Design Award” in 2011 and being placed 9th internationally by BD World Architecture Top 100. 



Sonali karekar is a student of Architecture, she is passionate about reading and writing. She believes that spaces and places have stories to tell from their construction to their use. There are many perspectives about an individual built form, she hopes to share hers with you.