Location: Seoul, South Korea
Area: 320000.0 sqm
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Hiroyuki Kawano
From the architect. D-Cube City, located in the dense capital city of Seoul, Korea, sets a new standard in mixed-use transit-oriented development connected to the city’s busiest metro line. The new cultural and commercial destination is one of the city’s first fully integrated developments of its kind, made up of over 300,000 square-meters of high-rise office and hotel, a multi-level commercial retail, entertainment and cultural complex, and over six acres of public landscape, parks and plazas.
D-Cube City emerges as Seoul’s primary live, work, play, and stay destination—an authentic and vibrant pedestrian-oriented district with a six- level 80,000 square-meter retail complex and a major performance hall at its rooftop as its centerpiece. A 42-story landmark office and hotel tower rises from the commercial district, while a new public park connects the project to the Shindorim Station. Two adjacent 50-story residential towers complete the new urban complex. D-Cube City attracts millions of visitors annually, resulting in one of the most visited destinations in Seoul.
D-Cube City’s urban location near the Yeouido district, just south of the Hangang River in a predominantly industrial zone, used to be home to a large coal processing plant owned by Daesung. Immediately adjacent and connected to the Shindorim Station, the project creates a global example of sustainable, transit-oriented development resulting in urban regeneration and social advancement. The innovative transformation of the site into a mixed-use public district represents a major accomplishment for land redevelopment in Korea and is expected to be a catalyst for the continued growth and evolution of the area into a vibrant urban hub.
Jerde first entered the South Korean market in 1996 working with Samsung on the design for their new headquarters and associated retail entertainment district. D3 City’s developer, Daesung Engineering & Construction, commissioned Jerde based on the firm’s vertical retail expertise and innovative applications towards dense, highly integrated mixed-use projects.
To date, Jerde has led design on more than 25 projects throughout the region, including D-Cube City and Star City (2008) in Seoul; Changwon City 7 (2008); Color Square Stadium Mall in Daegu (2011); Habjung in Seoul, scheduled for completion in 2012; and Eunpyung New Town, scheduled for completion in 2014. In addition to Samsung, Jerde has been commissioned by leading South Korean multi-national companies Daewoo, Hyundai and Lotte, and has worked with major construction companies including Posco, GS Engineering & Construction, and Doosan Construction.
Intended to formulate a co-existence of nature and culture within a highly dense urban environment, D-Cube City’s artful vertical design incorporates elements reminiscent of traditional Korean landscape paintings of endless mountains and rivers. Among the project’s design highlights are building forms organic to Korea that are shaped like Asian lanterns which create warm, glowing light filtering through the exterior cladding at night to draw visitors into the project. There is also an experiential outdoor pathway climbing through the lantern buildings to the top of the retail complex that has the character of an Italian hill town executed in modern contemporary architecture.
Unique to Seoul, D-Cube City’s design interweaves natural expressions to create an urban oasis that redefines the district’s industrial past. D-Cube City uses entertainment, cultural and compelling landscape components to drive pedestrian activity, while further enhancing the surrounding circulation patterns. As a new landmark icon for the district, the high-rise office and hotel tower was designed by Jerde to symbolize energy growing toward the sky and the renaissance of the area as a major hub of Seoul, while referencing the site’s former coal plant smoke stacks.
Nature is brought through and into the complex as ‘secret’ living gardens and terraces, a series of cascading indoor waterfalls, and a glass-enclosed ‘skylight river’ sweeping through the ground level, offer an organic flow of spaces and sense of discovery. The project’s sustainable design features include photovoltaic panels, grey water use for plant irrigation, geothermal heating and cooling and recycled materials for landscaping.
The cultural center is covered with a green roof and includes a 1,277-seat performance hall and 420- seat event space with a shared lobby and outdoor garden plaza overlooking the city to the north. On multiple levels around the culture zone is a series of ‘Music Gardens’ driven by rhythm and melody. A new public park, called Millefleur Park (Park of a 1000 Flowers), connects the adjacent Shindorim Station to D-Cube’s street-level entry, while establishing a natural connection to the Dorim River across the street.
As the landscape and pedestrian-oriented elements extend vertically, they also traverse the spaces tucked below the street level. An underground garden and event space occupies level B02 as an entertainment district floor and additional connection between the station plaza and park. As a youth-oriented area, the district houses a food garden, Korean Jang, Sweet Castle, Noodle Museum and entertainment offerings.
Inspired by the dynamic culture of South Korea and the desire to re-energize the natural realm as an originating root of public culture, Daesung D- Cube City sets a new standard in urban social activity, influencing its people to evolve along side the natural and urban environment around them.