The Uncertain Future of Seoul, Korea's "Dream Hub"

Block H; Courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

According to Business Insider and a number of other real estate development outlets, the "Dream Hub" project in Seoul Korea that drew designs from internationally renowned architects including Daniel Libeskind -designer of the master plan - MVRDV, Dominique Perrault, BIG, REX, KPF and Tange Associates is on the verge of collapse. The Yongsan Development Corporation reportedly defaulted on a major loan repayment, citing difficulties in raising funds due to the real estate slump since the 2008 global financial crisis. The collapse of the project is still speculative, as it is unclear how the next round of loans that are to mature in June will fare.

The $28 billion real estate "Dream Hub" project was to develop 56-acres in central Seoul into a modern business hub. In its planning it included shopping malls, hotels, department store, apartment blocks, and mixed-use office towers. Follow us after the break for a recap of the projects that were planned for this development.

The Harmony Tower; © Studio Daniel Libeskind

The Harmony tower, designed by master planner of the Dream Hub Daniel Libeskind, is a 46-story office tower that is inspired by Korean Paper lanterns. The facets on the building's facade reflect the earth and sky in dynamic ways. The tower tapers at the base to open more area to public space at the street level and create a more expansive pedestrian plaza. It also contains unique winter gardens along its south and west facade, providing uses with natural ventilation and planted park settings within the high rise. The garden also functions to reduce heat gain and promote energy efficiency.

The Dancing Towers; © Studio Daniel Libeskind

The Dancing Towers, also by Studio Daniel Libeskind, are a trio of 41-story residential buildings that comprise of amenities  retail, parking and a commercial area at its podium.  The design of the towers is inspired by the Korean Buddhist Dance called SeungMoo.  Subtle rotations in the exterior frame along with the glass curtain wall give the illusion of motion.  The structure is composed of central concrete core and alternating cantilevered fin walls that support the buildings without columns, allowing them the "twist".

The Cloud / MVRDV; © Luxigon

MVRDV's luxury residential towers, The Cloud, features two high rise towers "connected in the center by a pixelated cloud of additional programs". The Cloud is accessible to all residents and provides community amenities and outdoor spaces that create a social environment for neighbors to meet one another. When it was first unveiled, The Cloud was the center of controversy and criticism because of claims that its centerpiece resembles the collapsing twin towers of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks MVRDV apologized, stating that it was not their intention to upset the public and that the inspiration for the design had nothing to do with 9/11 and that the inspiration came from a "real cloud".

The Blade © DPA / Adagp

The Blade, by French Architect Dominique Perrault, is a mixed use tower whose rhombus footprint gives the building a unique silhouette. The facade is a textured and faceted curtain wall system that reflects a multi-faceted view of the Seoul's skyline. The tower includes retail space, office space, and wellness lobbies at various heights throughout the building. The Blade has a series of sustainability and energy conservation strategies that range in the inclusion of landscape and green roofs, reusable energy measures, waste management measures and resource efficiency.

Cross # Towers / BIG

The Cross # Towers are a residential development designed by BIG. It includes two vertical towers that are connected by horizontal bands programmed as public bridges between the two towers. The bridges are landscaped and equipped for a variety of activities traditionally restricted to the ground. The roof-scapes are imagined as traditional courtyards that inspired interactions between residents and a flexibility for the use of public space.

Pentominium / Murphy/Jahn

Another residential tower, designed by Murphy/Jahn is the Pentominium Tower which will include high end units in two towers that are unified in a steel and glass lattice structure. The building offers four story skyparks that are designed within the high-rise to offer community space. Floor to ceiling glazing provides expansive views onto the city, while a secondary steel structure creates a movable screen that enables residents to adjust their privacy and shading. The bottom eight floors are reserved for office spaces along with retail concourses below grade.

YIBD Block C1-20 © Tange Associates

The C1-20 Tower by Tange Associates is a 25-story mixed use building that is comprised of educational institutions, a ‘synergy floor’ for events and exhibitions, a three-story fitness center, various regional headquarters for international companies, spaces for private clinics and a 3-star restaurant that opens up to the roof top terraces. It's unique faceted facade turns into a media wall that can be programmed to display digital artwork that contributes to the identity of Dreamhub's skyline.

YIBD Project 6 / REX; © Luxigon

REX designed Project R6 as an urban boutique residence for short-term business people, young urban professionals, and foreign residents. The units are small to accomodate users that will only be using them for short durations of time. To compensate for the small residences the building has a variety of communal functions within the building, and have generous views and daylight. The building is stratigied with blocks being pulled out horizontally to create terraces and diversity of units.

Block H; Courtesy of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates

KPF's Block H consists of a luxury 5-Star hotel and high-end serviced residential building. The design incorporates a distinct urban landscape and diverse program at the lower levels of the building to engage the social aspects of the street The tower contains casino, retail, and spa functions in the basement, and the firm proposed a podium building to accommodate a large banquet hall and other amenities for the hotel. .

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Cite: Irina Vinnitskaya. "The Uncertain Future of Seoul, Korea's "Dream Hub" " 23 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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