Canadian Diplomatic Complex, Seoul

Seoul, South Korea

Design Thinking: The intent of the Embassy was to create a dialogue between Korean and Canadian cultures around a shared reverence for nature. The composition of the building pulls back and suspends two masses, creating an entrance plaza and gathering place with a 520-year old tree as its focal point. The two blocks are tied together with a continuous wooden screen of western red cedar whose soft curves frame the public space around the tree.

Key Features: Materials harmonize with the historic Jeong-dong district’s stone, brick and wood in grey to red hues. Technical challenges, including protection of the ancient tree and maintaining high security requirements, are hidden and what remains is an impression of a serene oasis within the walled garden, providing a sense of welcome to its visitors. The materiality and sensitive hardscape engage the chancery with the neighbourhood while communicating a dignified diplomatic presence.

Design Architect: Zeidler
Associate Architect: Vogel Architect
Local Architect: Art International Ltd.
Client: Foreign Affairs Canada
Size: 81,000 sq.ft. (8,000 sq.m.)
• Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) – National Honour Award, 2008