Place: Gangneung, South Korea
Architect: Arch. Richard Meier
Products: Listone Giordano Classica, Atelier and Outdoor Collection
The new boutique hotel is composed of two main buildings and supporting facilities nestled into a hill of dense pine trees overlooking the East Sea, Gyeongpo Lake and the Taebaek mountains. The former Hyundai Hotel Gyeongpodae, now known as Seamarq Hotel, has been rebuilt as part of a revitalization of the region 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 contrast, the Banquet Hall is located at a lower plateau connected by a bridge, with both buildings integrated into the landscape. A rich sequence of spaces unfolds as a procession begins from the approach on the main road along Gyeongpo Lake, passing through the entry court and gate to the hotel entrance plaza that is marked by the local vegetation.
The geometric form of the hotel tower follows the soft shape and contours of the hill, with a 11-story trapezoidal tower perched on top of a four-story base comprising 150 guestrooms. A generous outdoor deck and promontory with an infinity-edge pool and panoramic views of the ocean is a signature space of the hotel on the fifth floor. Besides offering a place for social events, the sun deck acts as a transitional space between the low rise base and the high rise tower.
The porte-corchere framed by the Hotel building canopy and entrance to the Banquet Hall opens to a grand two story lobby lounge and bar facing the sea at ground level with a wraparound outdoor deck as an extension of the lobby. The views are unobstructed and maximized with indoor and outdoor spaces that flow seamlessly together. The restaurant is nestled into the existing landscape one level below the lobby and enjoys immediate and close views of the sea and the beachfront. The spa is one more level below, with spaces open to the dense vegetation and landscape, with its form following the natural shape of the hill. A presidential suite is at the tower’s summit with a generous terrace and courtyard garden with open views in all directions.
The crisp angular shape of the building contrasts with the soft shapes of the hill and lower floors of the restaurant and spa. The building’s changing silhouette is perceived differently from various vantage points as floating balconies, articulated planes, varying heights and the overhung canopy of the top floor Presidential Suite are characteristic elements of the design. The exposed façade of the core is expressed with an irregular pattern that creates movement and balance. The forms expressed in a light and white color palette will make the building transform throughout the day in the interplay of light and the surrounding context.
The design of the new Seamarq Hotel is concerned with the making of space, not abstract space, not scale-less space, but space whose order and definition is related to light, to human scale and to the culture of architecture. Every component of the hotel has been carefully designed taking in consideration the public areas, the weather and natural light of the East Sea.
The unifying strategy for the whole project is the consistent concern with natural light, and the establishment of connections between the hotel, the banquet hall and the rest of the complex.