Canada Wood Trained Architect Designs Cheorwon Inter-Korean Forest Cooperation Center

By: Tai Jeong

Country Director, Canada Wood Korea

Canada Wood trained architect Seung Hee Kang utilized materials such as glulam (glue-laminated timber), CLT (cross-laminated timber) and wood-frame infill walls to construct the Cheorwon Inter-Korea Forest Cooperation Centre, a 2-storey, 1250m2 wood-concrete hybrid building near the border between North and South Korea.

The glulam post-and-beam superstructure supports two storeys across a horizontal radial plan while light wood frame infill wall panels of Canadian Spruce-Pine-Fir complete the vertical elevations. The abundant use of wood in the design offers a physical connection between visitors and nature.

The building supports efforts by the Korea Forest Service(KFS) to promote the use of wood in South Korea’s public building sector. In the past few years, the Korean wood building sector has received significant and sustained political support from KFS, especially in regions where forest resources are abundant. For example, a ‘wood first’ act was launched earlier by KFS to promote and support the increased use of wood in public structures funded by the government. This building, the second of its kind in Korea, serves the twofold purpose of forest knowledge education and demonstration of innovative wood building technologies. 

Mr. Seung Hee Kang, architect for this project is the Principal of Studio NOVA and Vice-Chair of Korea Wood Construction Association.  A major attendee of Canada Wood training and mission programs, Mr. Seung has been the pioneer in the use of wood for over a decade. He was also heavily involved in previous Canada Wood demonstration projects.

It’s worth noting that the project will apply for the 5-star Construction Quality Certification from Korea’s Wood Construction Association the highest wood building quality standards in the country. 

The Center is located in Cheorwon County right next to the border with North Korea, due to its northern proximity. The degradation of forestlands is a severe problem in North Korea.