Winning design announced for South Korea’s first net-zero government building

Winning design announced for South Korea’s first net-zero government building

24 MAY 2024 – In line with global efforts to combat climate change, the Net Zero National Meteorological Center in Daejeon, South Korea is set to be the country’s first government building to target net zero status. Following a design competition, the winner has been announced to be London-based PLP Architecture in collaboration with PLP Labs, POSCO A&C and A10.

The Net Zero National Meteorological Center will serve as both a weather forecasting hub and a beacon for sustainable and innovative design in South Korea. The Center’s core design features a ‘box in a box’ concept to enhance thermal efficiency and accommodate various functions and spaces. This approach will create a controlled microclimate to nurture a year-round garden landscape, embodying a biophilic design.

There will be a ‘third space’ created between the structural volumes, which will serve as a dynamic and flexible space for public engagement activities such as exhibitions, collaborative workspaces, public talks and educational programmes. It will play a vital role in the Center’s mission to educate the public about climate issues and highlights its critical role in the country.

The design integrates well-established techniques that have been used in Korean architecture for over a millennium into its design. The building’s carbon footprint is targeted to be reduced through the use of cross-laminated timber and recycled low-carbon steel in its structure. These materials contribute to its overall net-zero target by lowering both operational and embodied carbon.

The workspace design prioritises flexibility and interaction, essential for the collaborative nature of weather forecasting. At the heart of the Center’s design is a large control centre housing advanced monitoring systems and personnel. This encourages the collaboration and coordination necessary for round-the-clock meteorological operations.

By achieving net-zero emissions and integrating features to educate the public, the building hopes to set a new standard for future government buildings. Lee Polisano, President of PLP Architecture, said: “Our project aims to surpass net-zero operations by significantly reducing embodied carbon in both construction and long-term maintenance. Climate change poses immense challenges for architects and designers, mirroring the crucial work of South Korea’s National Meteorological Center. We are honoured to have been selected to join them on this journey.”

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Retrofitted SDE1 & 3 at National University of Singapore (NUS)