About SAMOO Architects & Engineers

Since the firm’s inception in 1976, SAMOO Architects & Engineers have constantly contributed to South Korea’s infrastructure and economic development. It has delivered projects in the markets of aviation, transportation, culture, sports, healthcare, residential, industrial, mixed-use, offices, research and science. The global firm is a leader in innovation in architecture and engineering. Their core value is in being client-oriented, building trust, driving innovation, and convergence of design and technology. This has led them to successfully deliver around 800 projects worldwide and win more than 100 design awards. SAMOO leverages cutting-edge technology like VR and BIM to provide optimized and practical design solutions. It is also a pioneer of the concept of design for safety (DfS) and has efficiently established this practice in its projects. The firm has furthered this noble step by sharing its DfS database through its website.


The Presidential Archives serve the purpose of collecting and managing the presidential records that are historical assets ensuring the accountability of Korea’s public services and shaping the democracy of the Republic of Korea. The facility invites people to roam freely, learn about a century-old rich history and ponder what the future might behold for Korea. The design allows the users to see and experience the vision of former Korean Presidents. The building is situated in Sejong City, approximately 130 km south of Seoul. The site plan integrates the built environment into nature where the visitors can admire the waterside park. Owing to its unique location near Sejong Lake, the Presidential Archive also acts as a community and cultural hub.

The Presidential Archives of Sejong by SAMOO Architects & Engineers - Sheet1
The Presidential Archives_©SAMOO Architects and Engineers


Completed in 2015, the Presidential Archives is the most prominent infrastructure of the government’s master plan to create a new administrative city. The building comprises four storeys and two basement levels overlooking the meeting point of the low hills, the water and the sky. Some parts of the buildings are raised to act as green roofs. The circulation paths are extended to landscaped areas which provide additional space for outdoor events for the community. The green areas which make up more than 50% of the facility allow for an easy transition between the urban fabric and the lake.

The Presidential Archives of Sejong by SAMOO Architects & Engineers - Sheet2
Site Location_©SAMOO Architects and Engineers


The main exhibition hall concept is derived from the box which contains the great seal used by Korean presidents to sign off official documents. The materials of the original box – brass and wood have been reinterpreted as stone and glass. SAMOO Architects have described the records as the great seal and the exhibition hall as the box that protects the records. The outer fabric of the building is made of a transparent glass shell which also symbolizes political transparency. The ‘timeless cube’ design depicts the legacy and aspirations of the Korean presidents elected since 1948 to the future.

The Presidential Archives of Sejong by SAMOO Architects & Engineers - Sheet3
The Presidential Archives Exterior_©SAMOO Architects and Engineers


SAMOO Architects have bifurcated the entire space into two zones- one for archival purposes and the other for exhibition and amenities. The first floor has multi-functional lobbies, cinema theatre featuring the archives and provides access paths to other spaces. The second floor is meant for maintenance offices and restaurant amenities for the people. Because of the curved layout of this floor, it offers stunning views to visitors. The third and fourth floors serve as exhibition spaces. The height of the ceiling on the fourth floor has been maximized to allow future expansion. The underground floors are dedicated to parking and storage facilities. The highly efficient HVACs in the basements allow optimum temperatures for storing sensitive documents. Additionally, double layered slabs are installed underground for moisture resistance.  The glass facade reflects the surroundings during the day to create beautiful views whereas, during the night, the facade lits up to create a dramatic look.

The Presidential Archives of Sejong by SAMOO Architects & Engineers - Sheet4
The Presidential Archives Section_©SAMOO Architects and Engineers


SAMOO architects have incorporated innovative sustainable design strategies in the building. The solid inner box structure reduces the thermal conductivity while the outer glass shell acts as a vertical cooling tube system that provides thermal comfort during summer and ventilation during spring and autumn. The natural light through the skylight is used as a source of illumination in the main hall whereas large windows are provided at the end of each corridor facing the scenic views. The raised green roofs help in reducing heat loads while BIPV and PV panels on the exterior and the interior make the design truly sustainable.

Skylight in The Main Hall_©SAMOO Architects and Engineers

Closing Statement

The firm’s vision with the project was to deliver a space that is welcoming and educates the visitors that overshadows the rigid authority of the archival documents. The concept and overall design of the Presidential Archives building by SAMOO is a timeless marvel and befitting winner of the German Design Award in the category of Excellent Communications Design Architecture. The simple geometric design imbibes and conveys the design philosophy accurately. The introduction of multipurpose theatre, digital screens and physical artefacts make the exhibition interactive and interesting. It is certainly a landmark in the Multi-functional Administrative City (M.A.C) of Sejong and a prominent tourist attraction centre.


E-Architect, 2013. The Presidential Archives in multi-functional Administrative City. [Online]
Available at: https://www.e-architect.com/korea/presidential-archives-korea
[Accessed 18 October 2022].

German Design Award, n.d. The Winners. [Online]
Available at: https://www.german-design-award.com/en/the-winners/gallery/detail/15684-presidential-archives-of-korea.html
[Accessed 18 October 2022].

SAMOO Architects & Engineers, 2015. The Presidential Archive of Korea / Samoo Architects & Engineers. [Online]
Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/771669/the-presidential-archive-of-korea-samoo-architects-and-engineers?ad_source=search&ad_medium=projects_tab
[Accessed 18 October 2022].

SAMOO Architects & Engineers, 2016. About SAMOO. [Online]
Available at: https://www.samoo.com/home/about/samoo.do
[Accessed 18 October 2022].


Shreya is an enthusiastic interior designer. Bringing a positive change in the society through meticulous research and design is her ultimate goal. She is always on the lookout for broadening her design perspective through experiencing and reading with a keen interest in sustainable design methods.