VS-A KR on Architectural Facade Magazine 'EXTERIOR'


Naree KIM of VS-A KR had an interview with Architectural Facade Magazine 'EXTERIOR'. 


Q. Please introduce about VS-A Korea.

A. The VS-A group is specialized in the design of building envelope, also called ‘façade engineering’, which is a relatively recent specialization. We started in Paris in 1989 and since then, we opened office in Hong Kong (2011) and Seoul (2013). We exercise more than 700 studies, exceeding 400 projects over 30 countries.


Q. Could you please tell us how did you start working in Façade engineering field? (Naree KIM)

A. I studied Architecture in Korea and France, and worked in architecture firms in France and Netherland. Since I was a student, I was interested in engineers who has deep understanding of designs like Cecil Balmond and Peter Rice, and also interested in architects who have profound understanding of engineering like Renzo Piano and Jean Prouve. But I did not have enough information of actual knowledge so it was just a keen interest. Meanwhile, I had chance to work with VS-A group for the gallery façade project when I was work in French architecture firm ‘Architecture Auction’ after graduation. During these period, I experienced collaboration work of design and engineering, and it was quite exciting processes for me.

Afterwards, I stayed in Korea due to visa issue and in the meantime I worked in Korea Architecture Company for a while. From this experience I realized necessity need of design-engineering firms in Korea market. As I already got work offer from VS-A group, I started work in VS-A Lille office in 2010, and moved to VS-A Hong Kong office in 2012. In 2013, VS-A Korea was opened with Robert-Jan van Santen and Gontran Dufour who are directors of VS-A group and finally settled down in Korea office in 2014. It is not easy to work in Korea market comparing to France or Hong Kong, but it would be worthwhile to do if excellent skill and technology can be localization. Additionally, I hope more professional experts can contribute on development of Korean architecture field, and collaboration field of technic and design can be more revitalized in the advance.


Q. Could you please describe work of VS-A KOREA in detail?

A. In the last 20 years, it has become more and more necessary to achieve expressive and cost-effective facades, with high quality and certified performances. Today, the envelope fulfils increasing expectations in terms of comfort and energy consumption, and is designed in accordance with an increasing number of local and international regulations. We work as designers, interacting with Architects, Developers and Contractors on all kinds of programs and building types. Therefore, our scope of work covers not only glazed curtain-walls, but also extends to single windows, rain-screens, internal or external solar shadings, double-skin facades, building maintenance units… basically all items that establish architecturally and technically the complex relation between interior and exterior.


Q. Please explain projects that VS-A KOREA participated in.

A. Sempio fermentation research center located Osong had solar protection issue due to lack of appropriate façade. So we install external solar protection over the existing research center building, to get new facade image of the brand, as well as solar protection function & reduced cooling load.

Daishin Securities Headquarter project is a construction of 25 stories office building in Myeongdong, at the heart of Seoul.  Tower façade of repetitive protruded square windows represents strong and timeless image of company, Daishin securities. Exhaustive thermal studies has been carried out to achieve high energy performance. It is a LEED gold label acquirement.

We participate the 10th Korean Rural Architecture Competition Project with local architect and awarded 2nd prize. It was remodeling project of old spaces in rural area, into re-create spaces for local residents. We intend to create many in-between spaces in this project which can be semi-exterior or semi-interior. These spaces, often multi-functional can be occupied by the senior or the junior. Through these flexible spaces, we do wish to promote INTERCOMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN OLD & NEW in generations, as well as in building elements.


 Q. Korea Façade Association is established last year. As a façade consulting company, do you have any idea or suggestion for us?

 A. Korea Façade Association work for protecting rights and interests of façade companies as well as organizing various activities for local façade standard to be cognitively advanced. We hope more professional experts could have abilities to do independent development researches and appropriate curtain-wall rules and regulations for local’ circumstances should be established by law as it is absent currently. Furthermore, these rules and regulations should be separated from profits of company or business and do not deprive an essence of rules. But for this, it is very important to increase public awareness for gravity of architecture technology and we think it will take time and passion, hence, it would be great if Korea Façade Association can do role as a connector.


Q. In conclusion, please describe VS-A Korea’s management philosophy or vision or future plan.

A.For last 30 years, VS-A group focused on innovation to narrow the gap between design and technology of architecture. VS-A Korea is aiming for Korean localization of façade design and engineering based on great references and experiences of VS-A group. Ultimately, we aim to construct outstanding buildings with local human resource, local technic, and local manufactures.



Related articles

VERTICAL : L'interview avec la direction de VS-A

Presse - May 11, 2021

Dans le 5ème numéro du Magazine Vertical de WICONA France vous trouverez l'interview de Robert-Jan van SANTEN et Jérôme DAMIENS, direction de VS-A.

exé « Produits hautes performance : confort durable » Interview avec Robert-Jan van SANTEN

exé « Produits hautes performance » Interview avec Robert-Jan van SANTEN

Presse - Mar 16, 2021

3 questions à Robert-Jan van SANTEN, Architecte associé et fondateur des bureaux VS-A, bureaux d’études techniques spécialisés en façades

« Conception Paramétrique avec Rhino et Grasshopper » Publication avec une participation de VS-A

« Conception Paramétrique avec Rhino et Grasshopper » Publication avec une participation de VS-A

Presse - Mar 10, 2021

« Conception Paramétrique avec Rhino et Grasshopper » est un ouvrage dans lequel, VS-A, parmi d'autres bureaux d'architecture, d'ingénierie et de design partage ses expériences de conception paramétrique.