Hankook Tyre Research & Development Facility
The new facility forms an integral part of Hankook Tire’s new vision for a corporate culture and brand, and the 96,328-square-metre R+D center aims to attract the industry’s top talent, providing an inspirational place to work, with light-filled offices, advanced laboratories, and dynamic social spaces to nurture a culture of openness and innovation.
Located in the heart of Asia’s ‘Silicon Valley’, the building is an expression of Hankook Tire’s commitment to technology, quality, and rigorous research. It lays emphasis on communication within the workplace, with central meeting pods for spontaneous team meetings. The centerpiece of the state-of-the-art facility is the tire testing and research laboratories, on display to invited visitors and staff.
The architectural vision was to create a sleek, contemporary and mysterious building with a floating silver roof. Analysis of their existing facilities provided an insight into the testing spaces, which ranged in their requirements from isolation pits to double-height spaces to accommodate specialist equipment. The building’s section was key to resolving this complex spatial puzzle. The building has a dynamic, integrated plan that promotes visual connections between different areas, and the arrangement is highly flexible to enable future changes in use. In profile, the levels step up from four to six storeys, in response to the height restriction imposed by an adjacent government site.
The research spaces extend along a top-lit central spine that runs from the restaurant and entrance in the south to the staff accommodation to the north. Glazed oval meeting pods are suspended within the full-height space, which acts as a light well, drawing daylight through the building. The circulation strategy creates a natural divide between public areas and more sensitive product development zones. A spectacular lobby functions as an exhibition space for the latest product range, with views into the testing areas and the parkland outside.
The center has attained a LEED ‘Gold’ rating and integrates a number of sustainable design strategies. Waste heat from the research and development center is used to heat the adjacent dormitory building, which accommodates visitors and staff, and a lake at the southern entrance to the site harvests rainwater for use in cooling.
Architects: Foster and Partners
Location: Daejeon, South Korea
Client: Hankook Tire Co. Ltd.
Collaborating Architect: Samoo A&E
Structural Engineer: CS Structural Engineering
M+E Engineer: Samoo Electrical Engineering
Landscape Architect: Soltos Associates
Type: Research Center, Office building
Photography: Nigel Young