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[Herald Interview] Heerim aims to be Asia’s top architecture firm

South Korean architectural firm Heerim Architects & Planners is aiming to make its services available to more countries around the world, mostly to emerging regions where architectural know-how is in big demand.

“Heerim hopes to become Asia’s No. 1 and the world’s fifth (largest)global architectural service provider by 2020,” Heerim’s chief executive Jeong Young-kyoon told The Korea Herald in an interview. “My goal is to plant our architectural style in as many places as I can.”
Jeong Young-kyoon
Jeong Young-kyoon

To jump into a leading position among the world’s companies, Heerim will strengthen its footing in foreign markets to ramp up its overseas orders so that by 2020 it can achieve annual sales of 1 trillion won ($988 million) ― which is more than sixfold its 2013 sales.

The 52-year-old architect believes this is a plausible goal as there is a sufficient competitive edge to Korean architecture since emerging countries such as Vietnam and Myanmar are eager to benchmark the planning and implementation of towns, airports and other infrastructure.

“With demand from newly emerging countries in Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East expected to continue to grow, we will make a more aggressive push into the field of high value-added special design, covering stadiums, airports and hospitals down the line,” Jeong said.

Incheon International Airport is one of the projects that Heerim has been working on. It signed contracts to provide design and supervision services for the first terminal of the airport in 1992 and the second terminal in 2011, which is slated to be completed in 2017.

Over the long haul, Jeong’s aim is to widely offer “design-build total services” that involve the practice of hiring a single contractor to provide both design and construction services.

Established in 1970, Heerim made its foray into the overseas market in early 2000, starting in areas in Southeast Asia, then moving into the Middle East.

“After the 1997 Asian financial crisis hit, I reached the conclusion that the only solution was entering overseas markets as the domestic construction market would become saturated.”

Heerim has established nine branches in six countries including Azerbaijan, where the firm has obtained a 46.8 billion won contract to provide design and construction management services for the construction of Baku Olympic Stadium.

By Park Han-na (
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Korea Herald daum