The Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, South Korea has a simple, unassuming exterior, and packs a huge punch on the inside. Designed by iArc Architects, the Institute’s exterior presents as a typical, but well-done typical, glass facade office building. Due to the building’s proximity to the Kyonghi Palace, it has one of those site circumstances where to be flashy and showy would be only foolish and disrespectful. So all that flashy and showy stuff occurs on the interior, within the world defined by the institute’s walls- where there is no palace to contend with.

Courtesy of iArc Architects

An atrium volume is the only way to really put it. Created from space-framed tube steel which extends all the way through the building’s four stories, the space connects and collects the building’s multiple functions. All circulation is located within this space, either along one of the skybridge stairways or through the glass elevator. Light filters through the large skylight which looks down from a roof garden above. In addition to the atrium and roof garden, the Institute features offices, a public gallery, cafe, and a 140 seat theatre.

Courtesy of iArc Architects

An interesting point to note: All plumbing and electrical services are fit into raised floors, not dropped ceilings. This frees up the ceilings, which are executed in exposed concrete.

Courtesy of iArc Architects

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