Project team:


Client: Hanwha Galleria Co. Ltd., Seoul/ROK
Architects: UNStudio, Amsterdam/NL
Executive architects / site supervision / landscape architect:
Gansam Architects & Partners, Seoul/ROK
Façade consultant: KBM Co. Ltd.
Lighting design: ag Licht, Bonn/D
DMX-programming: Lightlife, Berlin/D
Structural engineering: Kopeg Engineering
Electrical engineering: Sahmwon MEC

Products applied:


Facade: RGB LED projectors and white LED spots, Zumtobel

05. Feb 2012

More than just an illusion
The Galleria Centercity in Cheonan/ROK offers visitors a lively and stimulating environment

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Kim Yong-kwan, Christian Richters

Shopping malls fulfil a very necessary social function: they offer people places to meet, gather, eat and drink, shop and window shop. Korea is no exception: shopping malls with their mass of retail outlets represent more than just multiple opportunities to buy. A mall is not merely a commercial space; architects have the opportunity to build upon and expand the visitor’s social and cultural experience. The modern-day architect’s interpretation of utility goes beyond efficiency and profitability. When UNStudio, an architects’ firm based in Amsterdam, was commissioned to design Galleria Centercity in Cheonan they sought to generate a stimulating experience, in which the user, not the merchandise, is the central theme.

The Korean city of Cheonan has a population of approximately 540,000 and is situated some 80 kilometres south of Seoul. It is well connected to the capital by railway and road. A new high-speed train link has just been completed. The area around the new high-speed train terminal is under development. This new district will contain a mixture of housing and offices and the new Galleria mall marks the entrance to it. In 2003 UNStudio renovated the Galleria Department Store, a shopping mall in the Apgujeong-dong district in Seoul. The renovation of the facade and the public areas of the mall attracted worldwide attention and visitor numbers increased substantially. The project was realised in collaboration with Arup Lighting and won several awards, including an IALD Award of Excellence in 2005.Given the success of the Seoul project, the Hanwa concern who owns and operates the Galleria chain commissioned UNStudio, led by the architect Ben van Berkel, from Amsterdam to design a new, custom-built project in the Korean city of Cheonan. After a design and construction period of two years building was completed in December 2010.The project is based around the concept of“dynamic flow”. A total of 22,000 programmable LED luminaires deployed over 12,600square metres of façade are programmed to create a dynamic lighting scheme, turning the façade into an iridescent curtain that swathes the shopping mall and lends it landmark quality within the urban context. […]

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The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 80/81.

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