Richard Meier & Partners has recently completed the Seamarq Hotel in Gangneung, South Korea
Composed of two main buildings, the new boutique hotel is nestled into a hill of dense pine trees overlooking the East Sea, Gyeongpo Lake and the Taebaek mountains. Formerly Hyundai Hotel Gyeongpodae, the revitalisation has been undertaken in preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The Hotel Tower is anchored to the summit plateau and located very close to the ocean as if it was emerging from the ground. In direct contrast, the Banquet Hall is located at a lower plateau connected by a bridge, both buildings integrated into the landscape. The 11-storey trapezoidal tower is perched on top of a four-storey base comprising 150 guestrooms, and its geometric form follows the soft shape and contour of the surrounding hills.
Richard Meier comments: “Our primary goal for the Seamarq Hotel has been to create a strong sense of place by enhancing and transforming the existing site in a dramatic way. Many of the cues for the design came from the site – its light, its landscape, its topography. Perhaps the most important initial decision was to work with the configuration of the land and to design the hotel complex in relation to the existing topography."
On the fifth floor, a generous outdoor deck and promontory with an infinity-edge pool offers panoramic views of the ocean. As well as offering an alfresco location for social events, the sun deck acts as a transitional space between the low rise base and the high rise tower.
The hotel offers changing silhouettes dependent on where it is viewed from, and its crisp angular shape contrasts with the soft shapes of the hill and lower floors of the restaurant and spa. Floating balconies, articulated planes, varying heights and the overhung canopy of the top floor Presidential Suite are all characteristic elements of the design, with a cool. minimal colour palette prevailing throughout the architecture.