Seoul National University’s Haedong Advanced Engineering Building: A Landmark in Mass Timber Construction

By: Tai Jeong

Country Director, Canada Wood Korea

GS E&C has wrapped up the construction of the Haedong Advanced Engineering Building, an innovative AI research facility at Seoul National University’s College of Engineering. This seven-story wooden building, designed by IDS Architect Office, is a milestone in Korea’s building industry. It highlights the growing trend of using mass timber in larger and taller buildings, reflecting developments seen in Canada and around the world.

The Haedong Advanced Engineering Building’s completion ceremony took place on April 25, 2024. This eco-friendly structure combines reinforced concrete and mass timber, covering a total floor area of about 10,000 m² across seven floors.

The building features Glulam (glued laminated timber) columns and beams, engineered and prefabricated by Kyungmin Industrial using domestic Korean Larch. To achieve the required two-hour fire resistance for seven-story buildings, the dimension of Glulam was thickened to satisfy the char rate standards in KS F1611-3.

To reduce noise and dust during construction on the active school site, the project utilized the Off-Site Construction method for the exterior walls. This involved prefabricating modular exterior wall units, complete with windows, cladding, and insulation, which were then assembled on-site. This approach minimized on-site work and disruption.

GS E&C highlighted the benefits of mass timber construction, emphasizing its strength, durability, and environmental advantages. They noted, “Mass timber construction leverages the strength and durability of heavy timber columns and beams while significantly cutting down on industrial waste and carbon emissions compared to reinforced concrete.” They also pointed out their experience with wooden modular housing and prefabrication technology, committing to further developing eco-friendly construction methods using wood.

Mr. K.C. Bae from IDS Architect Office, a leading architect in tall wood mass timber buildings in Korea, explained his design vision for the Haedong Advanced Engineering Building. He focused on three main ideas: creating a space that encourages active communication between researchers through skip floors and a central atrium; designing a flexible, open space adaptable to future research needs; and developing a symbolic low-tech space that contrasts with high-tech AI, using mass timber and exposed concrete to highlight the modern value of wood.

The Haedong Advanced Engineering Building has attracted significant interest from wood experts and organizations in Korea, with many site tours being organized to showcase this groundbreaking project.

Project Information
Land area: 12,881 m2
Total floor area: 9,997.2 m2
Building scale: 7 floors above ground
Designer: IDS Architect Office ( and IARC Architect Office (
Construction Management: Hanmi Global (
Builder: GS E&C (
Glulam manufacturer: Kyung Min Industrial Co., Ltd. (
Completion: 2024 
Photo credit: Mr. Young Chae Park