Dongdaemun Design Plaza / Zaha Hadid Architects

  • 26 Mar 2014
  • Featured Public Facilities Selected Works
©  Virgile Simon Bertrand

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects
Location: 281 Euljiro-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Architect In Charge:
Design Partners: Zaha Hadid with Patrik Schumacher
Zha Project Leader: Eddie Can Chiu-Fai
Zha Project Managers: Craig Kiner and Charles Walker
Zha Project Team: Kaloyan Erevinov, Hooman Talebi, Matthew Wong, Martin Self, Carlos S. Martinez, Camiel Weijenberg, Florian Goscheff, Maaike Hawinkels, Aditya Chandra, Andy Chang, Arianna Russo, Ayat Fadaifard, Josias Hamid, Shuojiong Zhang, Natalie Koerner, Jae Yoon Lee, Federico Rossi, John Klein, Chikara Inamura, Alan Lu
Zha Competition Team: Kaloyan Erevinov, Paloma Gormley, Hee Seung Lee, Kelly Lee, Andres Madrid, Deniz Manisali, Kevin McClellan, Claus Voigtmann, Maurits Fennis
Area: 89574.0 sqm
Year: 2014
Photographs:  Virgile Simon Bertrand

Local Architect: Samoo Architects & Engineers (Seoul, Korea)
Local Structure Consultant: Postech
Local Mechanical Consultant: Samoo Mechanical Consulting (SMC)
Local Electrical & Telcom Consultant: Samoo TEC
Local Façade Consultant: Mac M&C
Local Civil Consultant: Saegil Engineering & Consulting
Local Landscape Consultant: Dong Sim Won
Local Fire Consultant: Korean Fire Protection Engineering
Local Lighting Consultant: Huel Lighting Design
Local Quantity Survey Consultant: Kyoung Won
Local Cultural Asset Consultant: Josun
Local Acoustic Consultant: OSD
Local Noise / Vibration Consultant: RMS Technology
Local Energy Analytics Consultant: Daeil ENC
Local Maintenance Consultant: Doall CMC
Local Environmental Impact Consultant: Soosung Engineering
Local Planning Permission Consultant: Sewon P&D
International Structure/M.E.P.F. Services/Lighting/Acoustic Consultant: ARUP Engineers (London, U.K.)
Inernational Lanscape Consultant: Gross Max (Edinburgh, U.K.)
International Façade Consultant: Group 5F (Basel,Switzerland)
International Geometry Consultant: Evolute (Vennia, Austria)
Quantity Survey Consultant: Davis Langdon & Everest (London, U.K.)
Site Area: 65000 sqm

©  Virgile Simon Bertrand

From the architect. Design and Construction Process

DDP is the first public project in Korea to utilize the 3-Dimensional Building Information Modelling (BIM) and digital tools in construction. Throughout the design process, every building requirement was considered as a set of inter-related spatial relationships which will define the social interactions and behavioural structure in/around the project. These relationships became the framework of the design, defining how different aspects of the project, such as spatial organization, programmatic requirements, and engineering come together.

©  Virgile Simon Bertrand

With parametric building information modelling software and design computation, we were able to continually test and adapt the design to the ever-evolving client’s brief as well as integrate engineering and construction requirements. These technologies helped to maintain the originaldesign aspiration throughout the project’s construction. It also streamlined the architectural design process and coordination with consultants. The parametric modelling process not only improved the efficiency of workflow, but also helped to make the most informed design decisions within a very compressed project period; ensuring DDP’s success throughout life-span.


In construction, the benefits of using the parametric modelling techniques are apparent. The digital design model could be refined at any time throughout the design and construction to accommodate additional onsite conditions, local regulations, engineering requirements and cost controls. The team were able to have greater control of the design and details, with much greater precision than a conventional construction process; giving the client and the contractors a much better understanding and control of the project.

©  Virgile Simon Bertrand

The DDP façade cladding system is an exemplary result of such a process. Construction the exterior envelope of DDP was a challenge as the cladding system consists of over 45,000 panels in various sizes and degrees of curvature. This was made possible by the use of parametric modelling with an advanced metal-forming and fabrication process to develop a mass-customization system. Parametric modelling enabled the cladding system to be designed and engineered with much greater cost and quality control. Throughout the construction process, the cladding model was adjusted to incorporate various engineering, fabrication, and cost controls while maintaining the integrity of the original design.

Floor Plan

The completed façade incorporates a field of pixilation and perforation patterns, which creates dynamic visual effect depending on the lighting conditions and seasonal changes. It will take on different characters as the external condition changes. Sometimes, it will look as a singular entity; sometimes, it blends with the surrounding landscape as part of the complete ensemble of Dongdaemun. At night, the building will reflect all the LED lights and neon signs of the surrounding buildings. With the interplay of the built-in façade lighting, the building’s appearance will be animated and take on the characteristics of its unique urban settings.

©  Virgile Simon Bertrand

The client’s vision must be congratulated. The DDP design shows a commitment to preserve the site’s history and integrate the newly discovered history in an architectural landscape that revolves around the ancient city wall and historical artefacts – which form the central element of the composition. This external landscape transforms Seoul into a greener city, while voids and folds in its surface offers glimpses into innovative world of design below; making DDP an important link between the city’s contemporary culture, historic artefacts and emerging nature.

©  Virgile Simon Bertrand

DDP continues Korea’s architectural and engineering traditions at the forefront of technology. DDP is a built demonstration and celebration of the skills and passion of the team who helped to bring this fantastic building to life.

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Dongdaemun Design Plaza / Zaha Hadid Architects" 26 Mar 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • noname noname

    The future is a lonely and bleak place.

    • Yijun Wu

      If it is not the future we want, how can we call it a piece of architecture revealing the sense of future?

  • Heywood Floyd

    This is so funny…WHAT IS IT? No mention of program or use, just lots of bragging about how many parametrically modeled panels are on the façade. The written description is just like the work itself, vapid, culturally ignorant of everything but the architect’s intentions, conceived from the outside in. In 30 years we are all going to be looking back on buildings like this the way we look back at bad postmodern architecture from the 80′s. Hopefully.

    • Barry

      I don’t think so. We might look at more like we do Japan’s Metabolism. Your response worries me. Not because you’re wrong, but because it represents a growing egalitarian overreaction to something that is truly a real problem (“vapid” architects). Should we all work in cardboard, using local materials, and go for LEED platinum? That could get pretty dull. We’ll descend into prescriptive building code generated architecture pretty quick.

      I believe Zaha’s work should absolutely be done, but admit it represents a form of decadence.

      Just my opinion.

  • Nima Nian

    this is not Architecture…

  • Andreas

    Heading there now to check it out!

  • Steve

    Earth to Zaha, stop making space stations!

  • Letsabisa Lerotholi

    i worry that the Ms Zaha’s architecture will not out live he successfully. i support her bravely, but i dont see architecture here. These are blobs with room names.

  • El Stevo

    Setting aside the design, this is a real testament to advanced Korean construction technology

  • Tina

    One is allowed creative interpretation of what they perceive architecture to be.There is dialogue of the everyday and there are special narratives. There is room for all. I look for what the contemporary thought might be, only because I find joy and intrigue in those who present a difference case. Nature too is not rigid, there is a fluidity in structure that only nature can originate. Zaha and team… keep the narrative of diversity of space and form going. “There is room for us all under the sun”

  • Alexandre Collaço

    It’s Beautiful, It’s impressive, It’ very well detailed and lit and It’s Humanless
    Remembers me the Oscar Niemeyer’s buildings but with even more arid spaces.

  • Sangsuri Chun

    can find some more photos of DDP here

  • Sangsuri Chun

    It’s actually not that bad if you visit DDP. The space doesn’t seem to intimidate you and it is quite energetic and cozy.
    More photos of DDP: