Perforated brick stairwells front Wise Architecture's ABC office block

Perforated brick walls front this Seoul office block by Wise Architecture, flanking staircases that lead up to a rooftop terrace with views of a nearby historic park (+ slideshow).

ABC Building by Wise Office

Known as the ABC Building, the six-storey office block is located within a network of narrow streets that borders the western side of Seonjeongneung park – a UNECSO World Heritage Site containing three royal tombs from the Joseon Dynasty.

ABC Building by Wise Office

This prompted South Korean studio Wise Architecture to develop a concept for an "architectural mountain", where occupants that climb up to the top are rewarded with a vantage point over the scenic setting.

ABC Building by Wise Office

"The roof of the building suddenly opens up a view to the beautiful landscape of the park," said Wise Architecture.

ABC Building by Wise Office

A sloping site allowed the architects to give the building two ground-level floors. The lower level functions as a car park, but has a small workspace along one edge, while the upper level starts off the series of five dedicated office floors.

ABC Building by Wise Office

There are no internal staircases, as Wise Architecture instead chose to connect the floors with external stairs that zigzag across the facade behind the layered series of perforated brick walls.

ABC Building by Wise Office

"These five stair alleys are cascaded like small stream falls or stepped wall gardens," said the architects.

ABC Building by Wise Office

Perforations only feature on some sections of the walls, creating a stepped profile that gives a false impression of the scale of the staircases behind.

ABC Building by Wise Office

Reinforced concrete floor slabs and a steel framework give the building its structure, and the architects chose to use black brickwork for all of the exterior walls. Glazing is concentrated on the north-east elevation.

ABC Building by Wise Office

Inside, wooden flooring contrasts with exposed concrete ceilings that reveal all of their mechanical services and lighting fixtures.

ABC Building by Wise Office

Each floor opens out to a balcony or terrace, allowing employees to take time out from their work, while the uppermost level, which is used as a meeting room, features its own secluded garden.

ABC Building by Wise Office

Photography is by Chin Hyosook.


Project credits:

Architect: Wise Architecture
Design Participation: Junghoon Lee

ABC Building by Wise Office
Site plan – click for larger image
ABC Building by Wise Office
Lower ground floor plan – click for larger image
ABC Building by Wise Office
Upper ground floor plan – click for larger image
ABC Building by Wise Office
First floor plan – click for larger image
ABC Building by Wise Office
Second floor plan – click for larger image
ABC Building by Wise Office
Third floor plan – click for larger image
ABC Building by Wise Office
Fourth floor plan – click for larger image
ABC Building by Wise Office
Roof plan – click for larger image
ABC Building by Wise Office
Cross section – click for larger image
ABC Building by Wise Office
Long section – click for larger image