Case Studies in Coastal Vulnerability: Boston, Seoul, Hamburg, Bangladesh & New York

Water floods the Plaza Shops in Manhattan after Superstorm Sandy, 2012. Photo: Allison Joyce/Getty Images.

This article originally appeared in the latest issue of ArchitectureBoston as “Troubled Waters.“ 

The challenges of sea-level rise cross boundaries of all sorts: geographic, political, social, economic. Proposed mitigation strategies will also necessarily shift and overlap. Here, we present five case studies from across the globe that offer intriguing ways—some operational, some philosophical—to address the threats associated with . Drawing on a research initiative focused on vulnerabilities in Boston, a team at Sasaki Associates developed these additional design-strategy icons to illustrate the layered approaches. They are adaptable, the better to meet the unique demands of each coastal community.

PAPYRUS Glasses Shop / Archi@Mosphere

Courtesy of

Architects: Archi@Mosphere
Location: Seoul, South
Area: 59.0 sqm
Photographs: Courtesy of Archi@Mosphere

HUB / Hyunjoon Yoo Architects

© Jihye Choi

Architects: Hyunjoon Yoo Architects
Location: Nokbeon-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul,
Design Team: HyunjoonYoo, Jinsung Huh, Insil Son, Jaehong Park, Moonchul Choi, Sunkeun Hwang, Seungho Ham
Area: 3,200 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jihye Choi, Youngchae Park

SCL – Seoul Creative Lab / Hyunjoon Yoo Architects

© Youngchae Park

Architects: Hyunjoon Yoo Architects
Location: 5 Nokbeon-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul,
Design Team: HyunjoonYoo, Jinsung Huh, Insil Son, Jaehong Mik, Moonchul Choi, Sunkeun Hwang, Seungho Ham, Hyuntak Cho
Area: 600.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Youngchae Park, Jihye Choi

Sang Seng Jae / Design Guild

© Hyo Chul Hwang

Architects: Design Guild
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Design Team: Haun Jun Choi, Sang Mi Jeong, Kang Kim, Jeong Young Chu
Chief Architect: Daewon Kwak
Area: 294.0 sqm
Photographs: Hyo Chul Hwang

Dragonfly / iArc Architects

© Archframe

Architects: iArc Architects
Location: Sangam-dong, Mapo-gu, , South Korea
Architect In Charge: Yoo, Kerl, Shin, Seunghyun
Co Architect: Lee, Jinwook
Design Team: Sohn, Kirak, Hong, Sungkwan, Kim, UiHun, Park, Sangkyu, Park, Youngsoo, Park, Jaehun, Park, Bumjin, Kang, Younggu, Hwang, JungHun, Lee, Hyungju
Area: 1,151 sqm
Photographs: Archframe

Seoul New City Hall / iArc Architects

© Archframe

Architects: iArc Architects
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Architect In Charge: Yoo Kerl
Design Team: Insu Pak, Tesoc Hah, Kirak Sohn, Jumi Kim, Bokju Jeong,Taesu Kim, Sangkyu Park, Hyoyeop Lee, Hakyeon Kim, Seoneun Park, Gyeongeun Kim, Sangwoo Lee, Taehyuk Kwak, Sunghyeon Cho, Songi Park
Area: 7590.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Archframe

White house / Design band YOAP

© Jae-Wook Cho

Architects: Design band YOAP
Location: Bangbae-dong, Seocho-gu, , South
Architect In Charge: Doran Kim, Inkeun Ryu, Hyunbo Shin
Area: 350.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Jae-Wook Cho

Rest Hole in the University of Seoul / UTAA

© Jin Hyo-suk

Architects: UTAA
Location: Jeonnong-dong, Dongdaemun-gu, ,
Design Team: UTAA, Architectural Students of the University of Seoul (Lee Sang-Myeong, Ha Ki-Seong, Baek Jong-Ho)
Area: 180 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Jin Hyo-suk, Kim Yong-soon, Courtesy of UTAA

Velo Towers / Asymptote Architecture

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Asymptote‘s Velo Towers, designed for the Yongsan master plan in Seoul, , are formed by vertical cluster of cylindrical volumes which were strategically stacked and rotated to maximize views, privacy and environmental conditions. Consisting of eight distinct residential components, each cluster is carefully choreographed to establish a strong visual connection with the adjacent Yongsan Park and distant Han River. These clusters are complimented by a series of roof gardens, shared amenities and internal circulation spaces centered around light filled open atriums.

House in Hyojadong / Min Soh + Gusang Architectural Group + Kyoungtae Kim

© Namgoong Sun

Architects: Min Soh + Gusang Architectural Group + Kyoungtae Kim
Location: Hyoja-dong, Jongno-gu, , South
Principal: Jin Hee Cho
Design Team: Min Soh, Jin Hee Cho, Kyoungtae Kim, Sung Young Kim, Kyoungdon Kim, Hannah Lee
Area: 254.12 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Namgoong Sun

National Library of Sejong City / Samoo Architects &Engineers

© Young Chae Park

Architects: Samoo Architects &Engineers
Location: Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South
Collaboration: KeunJeong Architects & Engineers Inc
Area: 21076.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Young Chae Park

Invisible Skyscraper Unveiled for Seoul

Infinity Tower / GDS Architects. Image Courtesy of

California-based GDS Architects‘ new proposal, dubbed Infinity Tower, is designed to disappear from its Korean skyline. How? Cameras will be mounted at six strategic points; thousands of LED screens on the facade will then broadcast the real-time photos captured and logged by the cameras. Though no estimated completion date has been announced, the developers have received construction permits to break ground. More about this incredible vanishing act and how it’s done at Fast Co-Design.

Honeybee Lounge / poly.m.ur

© Kyungsub Shin

Architects: poly.m.ur
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Design Team: Seungjun Oh, Sunki Whang, Jaeho Song, Hyunju Lim, Jiin Kim
Area: 208.02 sqm
Year: 2012
Photographs: Kyungsub Shin, Megabox

Magok Central Plaza Winning Proposal / Wooridongin Architects

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Located in the intersection of the pedestrian axis of Festival Street within the heart of Magok city in Seoul, the competition winning proposal by Wooridongin Architects for the Magok Central Plaza weaves itself into the surrounding city. The plaza is a great traffic node since it is where the subway lines 5, 9 and Incheon Airport train cross. Its close location to Han River greenery and ecosystem aligning with the River, Jungang Park and Green Area Connectors makes it to be part of a continuous open space system. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Jaehoon’s Jip-Soori / Moohoi Architecture Studio

© Park Young-Che

Architects: Moohoi Architecture Studio
Location: ,
Architect In Charge: Kim Jae-Kwan
Construction: Kim Jae-Kwan. Lee GI-Joo, Kim Tae-Hwan
Area: 298 sqm
Photographs: Park Young-Che, Courtesy of Moohoi Architecture Studio

Beyond the Screen / OBBA

© Kyungsub Shin

Architects: OBBA
Location: , South
Architect In Charge: Sojung Lee, Sangjoon Kwak
Area: 128 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Kyungsub Shin, Courtesy of OBBA

Lotte Amoje, Food Capital / Karim Rashid

© Lee Gyeon Bae

Architects: Karim Rashid
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Design Team: Juliette Hyunju Lee, Alex Loyer Hughes, Kamala Hutauruk, Mike Gibson, Mana Mohammadkhani
General Contactor: Kingsmen Korea
Area: 900 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Lee Gyeon Bae