Seoul Foreign School, New High School

1211 Sfs C Joohwan Yoon 2

Seoul Foreign School, New High School

The first phase implementation of Ennead’s master plan for the oldest international school in Korea, the high school is intended to set not only a new standard for future phases of the development of Seoul Foreign School, but throughout Korea and beyond.

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The New High School is a beautiful and efficient machine for contemporary learning, rooted in its context while shaped by international best practices.

Peter Schubert, Design Partner

Traditional Korean architecture is marked by openness and privacy: a delicate balance of bringing the landscape inside, while at the same time providing separation. Two of the primary expressions of this are the use of framed views and screens

1211 Sfs Site

The New High School for Seoul Foreign School (SFS) follows in this tradition to support learning both within and outside the classroom. First, the fundamental building block of the school—the classroom—was rigorously studied and refined in collaboration with SFS teachers and administration until an ideal size and proportion was developed that was flexible enough to support nearly every desired teaching style and desk configuration imaginable.

The walls in the classroom were designed to be used as both writable and projectable surfaces, further increasing flexibility. In order to maximize the use of natural light, solar analyses were conducted to help design and determine the optimal configuration of exterior sun shades to allow natural light into the classrooms without excessive glare.

Sfs Solar

The resulting horizontal and vertical shades on the east, west, and south façades provide both necessary screening and access to light and views.

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SFS aims to provide its high school students with an environment that is a hybrid college / high school experience. To this end, the new building is designed to provide the types of “Third Spaces” for learning and collaboration (i.e. spaces that are neither the classroom nor the home) similar to what one would find on a university campus. The building is organized into two primary teaching wings which negotiate the complex topography of the site. Connecting the two classroom/lab wings is a central hub on every floor that contains both the “collaborative learning” zones and the departmental faculty offices.

The collaborative learning zones provide opportunities for learning and instruction to take place outside the classrooms. By locating the faculty offices immediately adjacent to the collaborative zones, new opportunities for student-teacher interactions are fostered as well. Space types currently absent on the SFS Campus such as a Multi Purpose Room, a “Maker Space” fabrication facility, and an open art studio loft will create additional new pedagogical opportunities. Meanwhile, every effort has been made to take advantage of one of the School’s cherished assets—its incomparable site—by drawing the landscape into the building through the use of natural materials and views.

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The new High School is a beautiful and efficient machine for contemporary learning, rooted in its context while shaped by international best practices. Ultimately, this is a design intended to set a new standard not only for future phases of development at Seoul Foreign School, but throughout Korea and beyond.


Seoul, South Korea
185,000 GSF
Classrooms, Laboratories, Multi-Purpose Room, Cafeteria, Art Studios, Fabrication Lab, Library, Outdoor Classrooms, Collaborative Learning Zones, Underground Parking


Ennead Design Team
Peter Schubert, Don Weinreich, Alex O'Briant, Todd Van Varick, Jacob Reidel, Gary Anderson, DuHo Choi, Colin Davis, Dalia Hamati, Jazzy Li, Amy Maresko, Kyung Il Min, Dona Orozova, Yong Roh, Lacey Schwartz, Paul Scrugham, Na Sun, Suzanne Troiano, Mingxi Zou
BAUM Architects
Landscape Architect
Andropogon Associates, Ltd.
Laboratory Planning
Jacobs Consultancy
Academic Programming
Paulien & Associates, Inc.
ChulSung Lee, Joonhwan Yoon