UNStudio’s Galleria Centercity Department Store in the Korean city of Cheonan has been awarded a RIBA International Award 2011. It reclaims the social and cultural space within the private, commercial large scale department store.
The first element that catches the viewer’s eye is the striking façade. During the day the building has a monochrome reflective appearance, whilst at night soft colours are used to generate waves of coloured light across the façade.
The main architectural theme for the Galleria Cheonan is the dynamic flow.
“The most interesting thing to me about the effect of the Galleria Cheonan is that, because of the organisation of the atrium and the moiré treatment of the facade, Illusions are created which result in the seeming alteration of scales and the creation of double images. No image is permanent in this building,” explains Ben van Berkel.
Programmatically, the Galleria Cheonan incorporates a number of cultural and public spaces, including an art and cultural centre and a vip room. In the basement, a food court and specialty supermarket constitute another distinct destination within the building, which is simultaneously integrated with the overall design strategy.
The spatial and visual connections within the space are designed to generate a lively and stimulating environment, in which the user is central. It’s hard to tell whether such an impression comes from the amazing natural light filtering through the facade, the wonderful vertical circulation, or the repetition of curves, enhanced by coiled strip lighting in the ceilings of the platforms. Read more on OpenBuildings.