AI Architects is a multidisciplinary design firm established under the guidance of Architect Gene Park. It is rooted in the fields of architecture, planning and interior design and has been recognized widely in both Korea and the United States for numerous projects imbibed with excellence in design and management. With its major undertakings being commercial, the firm addresses these projects by using design as a strategic tool for change management.
AI Architects are engaged with designing environmentally responsive architecture at the forefront of their practice. Since its establishment in 1996, AI Architects have been consistent in bringing out the chic, elegant and polished that is commonly synonymous with the glamorous metropolitan facades of Korea.
Let us explore some of their most stylish projects to date!
1. Samsung Finance Campus, Seoul, South Korea
Located in the heart of Seoul’s Gangnam district, this facility by AI Architects boasts classrooms of various capacities, breakout rooms, social spaces, a convention hall with a capacity of 400 seats and a cafeteria space of 250 seats. The design concept was to have all these facilities amount to a single connected space.
The key player in this design concept is the open central glass elevator, dubbed the ‘ blue cube elevator ‘, that acts as a vertical void and a connection space that the user can take to traverse the entirety of the building. Besides the elevator, the building makes use of numerous other voids and grand stairs to have a harmonious and uninterrupted quality to its seven floors of interior spaces.
2. Maxim Plant, Hannam Dong, South Korea
Centred in the urban area of Hannam-dong, this flagship building for Dongsuh Foods was created by AI Architects as a maximized effort in showcasing the company’s ability to craft the highest quality coffee. The resulting multi-storeyed building follows the narrative of procuring coffee beans, roasting, extracting and the eventual tasting of the same; all encapsulated into the various levels of the coffee factory.
Visualized from the motto of the company, the facility is oriented around the concept of ‘ plant-plant ‘ resulting in space that is enriched by natural elements and indoor-outdoor spaces that flow into each other.
3. Juno Academy, Seoul, South Korea
Juno Academy by the AI Architects is a stellar example of a case study in verticality. Built-in the commercial centre of Gangnam, the facility acts as a training ground for hair and beauty students. The eight-storey building houses multiple spaces that utilize a double height and are visually enhanced by the material palette that has been meticulously curated.
The exposed concrete block columns paired with the polished concrete flooring help in maintaining clean-cut and chic-looking hallways and corridors which are further enhanced by dark louvres and a glass stairway. Masterful usage of glass paired with the repetitive nature of the wooden ceiling panel provides an impression of spaciousness. Most halls, cafeteria and lounge spaces are segregated with the help of large glass partitions which impart a sense of transparency to the facility.
4. CJ Nine Bridges Golf Resort, Jeju Island, South Korea
The CJ Nine Bridges Golf Resort is ranked amongst the top 100 clubs in the world and includes an 18-hole Scottish golf course, a country club, spa and luxury villas. Surrounded by dynamic views of Mount Halla, natural creeks and vegetation, this resort on Jeju island has been built to harmoniously blend in.
AI Architects crafted a simple modern and eclectic facade which when paired with the open blue sky result in an elegant composition. Besides the sculptural nature of the exterior, the interior too takes on a similar quality that is further enhanced by warm tones and rich wooden finishes.
5. NCsoft Pangyo R&D Center, Gyeonggido, South Korea
This corporate campus by AI Architects is located in Pangyo, Korea’s IT valley. As a provision for a global online game company, the amenities provided include office space that can house up to 3000 staff, conference, business, education, health and fitness centres, library, food court, spa, gymnasium and a grand ballroom.
A key design element sought throughout the project is the facilitation of light; most office spaces, lobbies, lounges and food courts are oriented such that they receive ample daylight. A unique design feature of the facility is its ‘ sunken garden ‘ which provides a central landscape element and functions as a source of daylight for the food courts on the lower level.
6. The Forum at IFC, Seoul, South Korea
Designed by AI Architects for IFC, the convention centre houses a boardroom with a capacity of 50 and a convention hall that can accommodate around 40-200 people. The design displays the elegance characteristic of the practice of AI but is altered by a fluidic quality.
Visualized completely in shades of deep grey and whites, the overall theme is further enhanced by the occasional pops of red and rich tones of wooden finishes. The conference spaces are made more lively with the unaltered view of the Seoul skyline as a backdrop and also by the provision of daylighting.
7. Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Seoul, South Korea
The building was designed by AI Architects as the headquarters of the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry to bring in business leaders in one space for corporation and development. The amenities within the institution include conference and business centres, lecture rooms and executive floors.
The facility is rendered spacious by utilizing double-height, exterior glazing accommodating daylight and a light tone for ceilings, walls and flooring. As typical of their practice, AI creates visual enhancement through linearity and the starkness offered by wooden and grey tones.
8. Pine Beach Golf Links, Haenam, South Korea
This project by AI Architects is nestled along the Pebble Beach of Korea and beneath the hill ranges of Jeonjin-ri. It enjoys an oceanic climate and seamlessly blends in with its picturesque surroundings. The two-storey building makes use of natural stone and wood and uses glazing to accommodate the scenic views of the west sea.
The subtler palette generally used by AI, is replaced by a more homely wood and stone theme and helps curate the views from the luxurious threshold of this resort.
9. Bear Creek Golf Clubhouse, Chuncheon, South Korea
Set amidst the scenic landscape in Chuncheon, this project by AI Architects is a tale hewn from many stones. The 18-hole championship clubhouse is designed as a series of floating pavilions containing the lobby, restaurant and start house above a reflecting pond.
The property overlooks a lake and the project makes the most of the views and the natural light through glass facades and skylights. Bear Creek Golf Clubhouse is carefully sculpted to have a calm meditative quality and has many internal landscape elements to add to the allure.
10. Hanwha Life Insurance Training Centre, Yongin, South Korea
Hanwha Life Insurance Training Centre takes on the classic fluidic and dynamic interiors that are a trademark of AI Architects. Complete with undulating linear wooden ceiling panels, the building enjoys lobbies and lecture rooms bathed in sunlight, taking in the surrounding landscape as an ever-present lively design element.
The centre belongs to one of Korea’s largest life insurance companies and thus boasts numerous lecture and board rooms, auditorium, gymnasium, spa and dormitory. The interior follows suit of a subtle rustic theme with wooden, grey and stone finishes and an occasional pop of colourful furniture.
11. Doosan Headquarters, Dongdaemun, South Korea
The renovation of the Doosan Group Headquarters was masterfully carried out by AI Architects. The renovated elements include the main lobby, plaza, performance hall and town hall. As typical of their practice, AI incremented elements supporting verticality to enhance the space visually and to create dynamics.
The plaza was transformed with a glass enclosure fitted with revolving doors that cast an inviting amber glow from the reception area. The meeting rooms were transformed with innovative circular lighting fixtures paired with wooden slat walls.
12. Doosan Leadership Institute, Seoul, South Korea
AI transformed the existing building belonging to the Doosan group, creating a dramatic and dynamic space that is both engaging and dynamic. The remodelled building rearranged spaces to allow natural light into the main stair hall and classrooms. With the rearrangement, the building received a sense of transparency and openness which was further established by the use of glass partitions of varying opacities.
The renewed building was also dramatized with the incorporation of a variety of textured finishes.
13. Doosan Guest House, Changwon, South Korea
Located atop a hill, this facility by AI architects is a part of the Doosan Heavy Industries Complex. It consists of a private 80 room hotel with conference facilities. The building offers incredible views of the Masan harbour from the vantage of the hill and also provides access to the nearby mountain hiking trails.
Crafted alongside a sizable pool, the building manages to cash in on its view of the harbour and further dramatizes its simple facade employing vibrant warm lights. Most of the rooms are paired with daylighting using external glazing and this also ensures that the suites get sufficient views.
14. Maple Beach Hotel, Gangneung, South Korea
Located in the tourist hub of Gangneung along Jeongdongjin Beach, AI Architects crafted a resort hotel for Maple Beach Golf Club with 80 rooms, dining services, a pool and a barbecue roof terrace. The facility has been aimed at golfers, families and couples interested in the area as well as the golf course.
The three-storeyed hotel offers a variety of room types with many rooms cashing in on the picturesque area. The interiors mostly consist of soft and pale colours made lighter by diffused light and contrasted effectively by wooden panels and furniture along with a vibrant choice in fabric aiding with accents.
15. L7 Gangnam Hotel, Seoul, South Korea
AI Architects designed the Lotte Group’s lifestyle boutique hotel in Gangnam, the centre for finance and information technology. Designed with 340 rooms, L7 hosts amenities like all-day dining, rooftop bar, party suites and convention. AI makes use of many sculptural and artistic elements, with a recurrent theme of lemon yellow to convey a party environment.
With a predominantly cool grey and white interior, L7 makes use of lighting, translucency, dark and wooden finishes to generate an atmosphere of sophistication.