KEPCO Headquarters' green energy park educates the public about the green energy life cycle
In 2009, the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) held a competition for its new headquarters to be built in a city near Naju, South Korea. The project includes nearly 120,000 sq m of office and public exhibition space, for which the company mandated an ambitious program of sustainability objectives. The company emphasised creating an innovative and creative workplace, as part of a vision to create a new landmark for an energy company in the 21st century.
The site strategies in the project challenge the clearly segregated tower / podium / landscape hierarchy which dominates the current office complex typology. The design inverts the normative scheme to create a polycentric, campus-like organisation with dispersed volumes and lively public promenades. The plan opens up in the center of the site, creating a vibrant and open civic space from which one can access all of the public facilities. These strategies help to ensure that the typical boundaries between the public and institutional realms are dissolved, to create an atmosphere of synergy and exchange.
In addition to more common sustainable strategies which are incorporated in the overall campus design - including PV panels, wind turbines, geothermal heat exchangers, and water retention & purification facilities - the central tower also features an innovative circulating atrium. The atrium serves a programmatic function - connecting workers between floors with express connections, while also serving as a 'breathing spine' for the building, supplying fresh air via stack ventilation, in addition to natural daylight. These strategies directly contribute to a socially vibrant and physically comfortable, refreshing workspace.
By demonstrating sustainable strategies in an open and architecturally responsive manner, the project serves a new public role as a Green Energy Theme Park, in order to serve as a catalyst in provoking a new public awareness about green energy and sustainable practices.