Cross # Towers / BIG

Courtesy of

Danish architects BIG have just shared with us the Cross # Towers, their latest project in Seoul. BIG’s residential towers in the Yongsan International Business District revitalize the Han riverfront into a new commercial and residential center for the citizens of Seoul. More images and information after the break.

Courtesy of BIG

Situated at the south-east edge of the Yongsan master plan designed by Studio Liebeskind for the Korean development group Dreamhub, BIG’s Cross # Towers will contribute to the developing skyline of Seoul and become a recognizable marker of the new cultural and commercial center of the city. BIG was selected to submit a design proposal for Yongsan International Business District among 19 international offices, including SOM, Dominique Perrault, REX and MVRDV.

The 21 000 m2 site is positioned next to the existing urban fabric in the future development zones of the Yongsan master plan. BIG’s design includes two elegant towers with a height of 214 and 204m. To meet the height requirements of the site, the exceeding building mass is transformed into an upper and lower horizontal bar, which bridge the two towers at 140m and 70 m height. The two towers are additionally connected through the arrival bar at the ground level – and a courtyard below ground.

Courtesy of BIG

“The Cross # Towers constitute a three-dimensional urban community of interlocking horizontal and vertical towers. Three public bridges connect two slender towers at different levels – underground, at the street and in the sky. Catering to the demands and desires of different residents, age groups and cultures the bridges are landscaped and equipped for a variety of activities traditionally restricted to the ground. The resultant volume forms a distinct figure on the new skyline of Seoul – a “#” that serves as a gateway to the new Yongsan Business District signaling a radical departure from the crude repetition of disconnected towers towards a new urban community that populates the three-dimensional space of the city.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

Courtesy of BIG

Both the upper and lower bridge introduce rooftop sky gardens accessible to residents, allowing for outdoor activities, while a courtyard at the heart of the development is an integral part of the overall architectural design. Dramatic views towards the neighboring towers and visual connections across the courtyard from the retail zone create an exciting space for the residents and visitors. The outdoor landscape is envisioned to draw from the charm of traditional courtyards combined with the modernity of the project. Pedestrians at the arrival deck which connects the towers at ground level can enjoy impressive views to the bridges above and to the submerged courtyard below.

Courtesy of BIG

“The typical tower inherently removes life from the city it occupies. Circulation is linear and social interactions occur only in lobbies or awkward elevator rides. We propose a building that triples the amount of ground floor – triples the amount of social interaction and reintroduces the idea of neighborhood within the tower complex.”, Thomas Christoffersen, Partner in Charge, BIG.

The development will offer over 600 high-end residences and amenities, including a library, gallery space and a kindergarten. BIG’s design ensures that the tower apartments have optimal conditions towards sun and views. The bar units are given value through their spectacular views and direct access to the roofscapes, activating the outdoor realm. The exterior facades are developed to correspond to the different orientations and solar conditions, creating a diverse facade which varies from the viewer’s vantage point and the position of the sun.

Courtesy of BIG

Architects: BIG
Location: Seoul,
Partner in Charge: Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen, Finn Nørkjær
Project Director: Andre Schmidt
Project Leader: Kamilla Heskje, Cat Huang
Project Team: Buster Christensen, Jeppe Ecklon, Tobias Hjortdal, Jakob Sand, Mikkel Marcker Stubgaard, Camila Luise de Andrade Stadler, Lorenzo Boddi, Karol Borkowski, Igor Brozyna, Eduard Champelle, Erik de Haan, Shun Ping Liu, Enea Michelesio, Daram Park, Lucian Racovitan, Teresa Fernandez Rojo, Tiago Barros, Julian Salazar, Laura Youf, Seung Hyun Yuh, Paolo Venturella
Engineers: Arup Dublin (SMEP) & Amsterdam (Lighting)
Landscape Architect: Martha Schwarz Partners (MSP)
Local Architect: SIAPLAN
Client: Dreamhub
Area: 96,534 sqm
Images: Courtesy of BIG

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "Cross # Towers / BIG" 03 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • ol
  • oliver aoude

    Damn you BIG best architects nowaday
    once again simple reasoning made a beautiful result

  • Jason Ro

    I like BIG. However these types of projects seem to forget that the very essence of a city is not to exist within one super tower but to live and interact with the CITY and all of it’s fabric. To me a self contained city within a building feel much more suburban than it does URBAN. I like the project but feel that these types of developments must be careful not to cross the line. the UNITE tried to what this is doing and I believe it failed last time I checked (and I like Corbusier).

    • Johs

      BIGness, I guess.. ;)

      • Dan

        So then, Jason, if you were commissioned to build a ~100,000 sqft. tower on a given land plot in some grand masterplan, what would you propose? I wouldn’t pin the blame for designing a tower on BIG, necessarily.

        I understand, and to an degree agree with, your point, but I’m not sure I’d be so quick to say BIG’s (or any architect for that matter) a blight on the idea of the city, since there are higher powers controlling that.

  • Jason Ro

    Just to follow up, I lived in Seoul for 10 years and that experience formed my urban perspective. I cannot imagine that living in a building, going to school in that same building and doing my shopping all in the same building would have provided me with an URBAN experience.

  • simonFotesque

    These guys are completely overrated. Every project
    isolates itself from the city, very pretentious and rather childlike. I think they are awful designers!

  • Zale

    Empty promises. Never has iconicism been so culturally redundant, their idea of the urban fabric is to swallow it up and burden context with scale. More concerned with identity than understanding appropriation or developing a relevant design criteria which may reflect how we may live or inhabit architecture. Renders make promises that can’t be kept, empty gestures that anaesthetise the senses.Heartbreaking!

    • BM

      Wow! Well put totally agree!

  • DChaseMartin

    I have to admit to being torn…about BIG. I’m an older architect, and really put off by Ingels; he seems the quintessential snake oil architect who has so damaged the image of the profession…
    I want to support the younger generation of thinkers in this profession, but he leaves so little to recommend; would that his work was actually architecture rather than design…but then he seems to be continuing a trend in the field. His rationale for some projects seems to be well based, until you he then presents the actual building…and then my heart stops.

  • Anduy Do

    So the Could Towers will be built, won’t they?

  • Evren

    Ok, so this is not a good project. Fine, I agree. But calm down a little bit, BIG is a good design office and they have many decent mid-scale projects. And I certainly don’t agree that he is damaging this profession more than any other starchitects.

  • Facundo Antonietti

    it has a huge dutch design influence, it’s the only critic i can recall, the rest about damaging architecture,about how bad icons within the city are or that it has no conection with the context is simply absurd. Not amazing or innovative, but yet interesting.

  • Derek

    The only thing absurd is the project and entire office itself.Absolute rubbish!

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  • nikki

    you can wright as much as you want guys, but you most certainly will never be as successful as BIG

    • johnny

      Depends how you define success. If success is winning lots of competitions and making money then so be it. If success is to create sustainable architecture which will stand the test of time enhancing peoples lives then that is another. It looks like people are aspiring to be star architects, which often is born out of the education system where the best render wins. BIG are very good at what they do, but are they great architects?

      • Dan

        1) Your logic makes the architects of old factories and sweatshops “successful architects.”

        2)BIG is too young to judge whether or not they’re successful architects by your standard. Your question at the end has no answer.

        3) You (and I) will never be a successful architect because you will never live long enough to see your test of time go through.

        4) However grand your vision, if you can’t convince a non-architect that your building is worth being built–be it with a render or drawings–you’ve lost.

        Do you accept that?

    • johnny

      Depends how you define success. If success is winning lots of competitions and making money then so be it. If success is to create sustainable architecture which will stand the test of time enhancing peoples lives then that is another. It looks like people are aspiring to be star architects, which often is born out of the education system where the best render wins. BIG are very good at what they do, but are they successful architects?

  • H-J

    So here’s someone who attended Rem’s LEGO seminar.

  • Antonia

    Zale said it all!

  • Chris

    You know, I really don’t think a pair of small landscaped rooftops are going to be stealing away the city’s thunder.. Nothing wrong with rooftop access for apartment dwellers in the city is there? At the very least it seems to be a fairly efficient design structurally and with the internal circulation..

    • Tom Peeters

      and you base the fact that these towers have efficient internal circulation on…..absolutely nothing?

  • andrereve

    The only thing absurd is…no design-step diagrams?

  • mvb

    The beginning of success is the end of Architecture.

  • jura

    geez, guys, what kind of social interaction and contextuality you expect from a tower?It is all an architectural smart talk-bitching. This one is at least fun and nicely proportioned. So i really dont get whats the problem. It seems that BIG is the boy to beat right now by all the frustacted and idealistic architects.