Building on years of collaboration between French and Korean institutions and companies, the French School of Seoul in Seorae Village will be revamped and enlarged through renovation that kicked off Friday.
The school, which includes a kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school, provides education in the French language. It was originally located in Hannam-dong, Seoul, and moved to the current location in 1985. The construction is expected to be completed by September 2018.
“The additional capacity of 200 students will contribute to reinforcing the partnership between France and Korea,” said French Ambassador to Korea Fabien Penone at the groundbreaking ceremony Friday.
“The building is the materialization of our future ambition and entrenchment of our presence in the heart of Seocho-gu, whose identity has been shaped by the school for more than 35 years,” said Regis Launay, president of the Student Parents’ Association.
From left: David-Pierre Jalicon, architect and president of the FKCCI; Kim Hee-cheul, CEO of Hanwha Total Petrochemicals; French Ambassador to Korea Fabien Penone; Regis Launay, president of the Student Parents’ Association; and Park Dong-hoon, CEO of Renault Samsung Motors (Yonhap)
“We envision our school to be a place of sharing the French language and culture, an open window to the world and a hub of academic excellence and success. It will be more than a building.”
The extension will improve the environment for working and studying, he noted, with new educational and recreational facilities designed by David-Pierre Jalicon, chairman of the French Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry and CEO of D.P.J. & Partners, a firm specializing in architecture, engineering, interior and retail.
Launay also thanked the embassy for its unwavering support, Hanwha Total Petrochemicals and Renault Samsung Motors for their financial support, the Seocho District Office as well as the teachers, students and their parents.
“The building embodies double meanings of protection and enlightenment,” said Jalicon. “The sturdy facade facing the street encloses the edifice like a soft hand, while the gym in the basement, library in the mid-level and classes on the third floor make up part of the total seven floors.”
In the multipurpose space connecting the underground and ground-level floors are a rock-climbing wall and a library, he added. The project marks a cornerstone in the development of French firms in Korea, according to the Frenchman.
By Joel Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)