Songdo International Business District / KPF

Songdo International Business District / KPF
Courtesy of KPF

Songdo International Business District (IBD) occupies over 1,500 acres of reclaimed land on the West Coast of Incheon, Korea. This waterfront master plan includes a diverse array of programmatic elements and is designed to be a pedestrian friendly city with walkable streets and an urban density that allows for an active street life. Signature features include, the New Songdo City First World Towers, Northeast Asia Trade Tower, the 100-arce Songdo Central Park, and the Songdo City International School.

Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Location: Incheon, Korea Photographs: H.G. Esch, KPF, Jaesung

New Songdo City First World Towers

© Jaesung

First World Towers is the first residential development to be realized in Songdo IBD. Housing 7,000 of the city’s 65,000 residents, FWT contains 2,545 apartments and live/work spaces, as well as a health club, a daycare center, and a seniors’ center.

Consistent with the design guidelines established by the master plan, inspired by pedestrian cities of Europe and North America, the design for FWT employs a number of unprecedented concepts such as a pedestrian-scaled street grid, continuous street walls, and figural open spaces.


Associate Architect: Kunwon Architects Project Area: 3,700,000 sqf

Northeast Asia Trade Tower

© H.G. Esch

Designed to be a landmark on the skyline of Songdo IBD, the Northeast Asia Trade Tower aims to both symbolize and embody the tenants of an international business hub in a free-trade zone. Occupying a site at the southern edge of Central Park, the tapering volume is a mixed-use development that combines office, hotel, and service apartment components, each with its own entrance lobby. The 1,010-foot-tall (308-meter-tall) tower offers views of the Yellow Sea, the city of Incheon, and the surrounding mountains.

Architect-of-Record: Heerim Project Area: 1,500,000 sqf

Songdo Central Park


KPF created mounds and canals in this 100-acre Central Park to reflect the surrounding natural context. Adjacent to the West Sea on the coast of Korea near Seoul, Songdo Central Park serves to connect to various civic and cultural destinations and the waterfront via a series of man-made seawater canals accessed by water taxi.

The combination of these natural and manmade elements makes this park the cultural and recreational heart of Songdo IBD. Within the park, a series of pedestrian bridges have been designed over the canal system, serving as focal points within the landscape and making for unique destination points.

© Jaesung

Throughout history, the bow bridge has been a popular structural form employed in Asian gardens, and footbridges are a common site in most Korean parks and gardens.


Deriving their form from the Songdo ConvensiA Convention Center (also designed by KPF), the pedestrian bridges in Central Park reflect an undulating, sweeping arc shape and exist as a family of structures with readily identifiable pieces arranged in different combinations when taken all together.

© Jaesung

Architect-of-Record: Yooshin Canal Engineering: Arup & Partners Park Engineering: Dae-Il and Ung-Do Horticultural Consultant: U.P. Hedrick Project Area: 4,400,000 sqf

Songdo International School

© H.G. Esch

KPF developed a state-of-the-art learning complex for over 2,000 students (K through 12) that facilitates diverse learning and teaching styles. KPF aimed to create distinct, yet related student communities through advanced planning and design strategies.

The design gives a unique material to each school community identity. Layers of stepped sections and sunken gardens separate these areas without creating barriers, invoking the interplay of solid and void that underlies traditional Korean design.

© H.G. Esch

Project Team: James von Klemperer (Design Principal), Gregory Clement (Managing Principal), Gregory Weithman (Project Manager), Methanee Massirarat (Senior Designer), Ming Leung (Job Captain), Chihiro Aoyama, Allison Austin, Jason Carney, David Goldschmidt, Aaron Kominos-Smith, Jinseuk Lee, Kangsoo Lee, Irene Molina, Marc Remshardt, Eric Smith, Xiaolu Zhou Contractor: POSCO E&C Associate Architect: Gansam Partners Consulting Engineers: Arup & Partners Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing & Lighting: Cosentini Curtain wall: CDC Facade Maintenance: Entek Acoustical: Cerami Project Area: 506,000 sqf

About this author
Cite: Christopher Henry. "Songdo International Business District / KPF" 14 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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