"COEX is an 85,000 square-meter subterranean retail complex located in the Gangnam district of Seoul, South Korea. It occupies the subterranean level of a super block containing Seoul's primary convention center, three hotels, a casino, a performing arts complex, three office towers and a bus terminal that connects to Incheon International Airport. COEX also connects two subway lines with stations at either end of the site. Spatially, COEX's circulation was confusing. It lacked a coherent identity or discernable architectural language.
Our approach was two-fold:
1. We approached the project with a clear idea about urbanism. COEX was not a mall but a piece of urban infrastructure.
2. We needed to develop a new identity for a district that lacked legibility.
The complex needed to connect the disparate programs above and two metro lines with a new pedestrian circulation infrastructure. Retail circulation was reconfigured to create seamless connections and clear hierarchies between the existing tower lobbies, new and existing public plazas, and the subway stations at both ends of the site.
A new two level glass pavilion ? Central Plaza - creates a grand interior plaza. The pavilion functions as a new entrance, event space, and crossroads. The plaza is fully day-lit via a glazed undulating roof supported by a space frame that integrates a metal screen panel system for sun control. The roof creates varying light conditions seasonally and throughout a given day to bring natural light into the retails concourses. Another set of interventions along the eastern edge creates an architectural language of folded and undulating perforated metal panels and fascias for two existing sunken plazas - ASEM Plaza and Millennium Plaza. The white undulating panels are visible from surrounding streets and towers and create a clear identifiable language for the plazas that permeates the language of the reconfigured interior concourses."