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Korea: The Latest Architecture and News

eVolo Skyscraper Winner 2014 Transforms Korean 'Hanok' Into Impressive High-Rise

Vernacular Versatility, recently awarded first place in the 2014 eVolo Skyscraper Competition, seeks to adapt traditional Korean architecture into a contemporary mixed-use high-rise. The vernacular design of the Hanok, the "antonym of a western house" and epitome of the Korean style, has disappeared from every town. Extensive urban development in the 1970s led to a boom in modern apartment dwellings and, consequently, a loss of established Korean vernacular architecture. Yong Ju Lee's proposal aims to reimagine the Hanok in one of the country's busiest districts, drawing people's attention to and stimulating their interest in traditional architecture with the intention that "it will eventually be absorbed into people’s everyday lives"

© Yong Ju Lee Model. Image © Yong Ju Lee Model. Image © Yong Ju Lee Visualisation. Image © Yong Ju Lee + 9

Ga On Jai / IROJE KHM Architects

© Jong Oh Kim
© Jong Oh Kim
Houses  · 
Seongnam-si, South Korea
  • Architects: IROJE KHM Architects
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 329.0 m2
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2013

© Sergio Pirrone © Jong Oh Kim © Sergio Pirrone © Jeong Sik Mun + 36

IT Convergence Building / Kyu Sung Woo Architects

© Won Yang Kim © Won Yang Kim © Goongsun Nam © Goongsun Nam + 26

Daejeon, South Korea
  • Architects: Kyu Sung Woo Architects ; Designers: Motomu Nakasugi, Dong Eun Jeong, Jisoo Yang
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 26023.0 sqm

Velo Towers / Asymptote Architecture

Asymptote's Velo Towers, designed for the Yongsan master plan in Seoul, Korea, 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.

Low Cost House / JYA-RCHITECTS

© Hwang Hyochel © Hwang Hyochel © Hwang Hyochel © Hwang Hyochel + 11

Houses  · 
Jangheung-gun, South Korea
  • Architects: JYA-RCHITECTS
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 100.8 sqm
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2013

Sejong Center for Performing Arts / Asymptote Architecture

New York based Asymptote Architecture have unveiled designs for a new Centre of Performing Arts in Sejong, South Korea. Described as celebrating "the cities emergence and growth as a place of stature and culture," the arts centre is designed to "seamlessly connect to the city fabric." Containing two theaters, the program of the building has been designed to create a unified experience, allowing for a "powerful and 'episodic' interiority and experience."

Incheon International Airport - Terminal 2 / Gensler

A few days ago, Korea's Incheon International Airport broke ground on its latest addition, Terminal 2. Gensler, in collaboration with the HGMY Consortium, designed the $2.5 billion project that will double the size of the country's busiest airport with its 72 gates and 7.4 million square feet of space. The project includes a second airport control tower, train station, parking facilities and an airside Intra Airport Transit (IAT).

Keep reading for the architects' description.

Honeybee Lounge / poly.m.ur

© Kyungsub Shin
© Kyungsub Shin
cinema  · 
Seoul, South Korea
  • Architects: poly.m.ur
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 208.02 m2
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2012

© Megabox © Kyungsub Shin © Kyungsub Shin © Megabox + 28

Magok Central Plaza Winning Proposal / Wooridongin Architects

Courtesy of Wooridongin Architects
Courtesy of Wooridongin Architects

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.

The Sarang Community Church / Seoinn Design Group

© Chae Soo Uk © Chae Soo Uk © Chae Soo Uk © Chae Soo Uk + 46

Churches  · 
Suwon-si, South Korea
  • Architects: Seoinn Design Group
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area: 12202.42 sqm
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2013

Video: A Conversation with Steven Holl inside the Daeyang Gallery & House

Journey through the flawless space of the Daeyang Gallery & House in South Korea and learn about the ideas behind the design from the legendary architect himself, Steven Holl.

Created by the architectural filmmakers from Spirit of Space, the first video takes you on a tour through the “miniature utopia” of the Daeyang Gallery & House. Although the notion of music plays as an underlining theme throughout the design, Holl encourages visitors to focus on the feelings that arise as the body moves through the space. He believes that “architecture can change the way you feel, like music… it can bring you into another world.”

Yongsan International Business District / REX

© Luxigon
© Luxigon

Architect: REX Location: Seoul, Korea Built Area: 115,500 sqm (1,240,000 sqf) Completion year: 2016 Program: 47,800 sqm of luxury housing for short-term residents, 27,000 sqm of retail, and 929 parking stalls Renderings: Luxigon and Rex

© REX © REX © REX © Luxigon + 37

Cross # Towers / BIG

Courtesy of BIG
Courtesy of BIG

Danish architects BIG have just shared with us the Cross # Towers, their latest project in Seoul. BIG’s residential towers in the Yongsan International Business District revitalize the Han riverfront into a new commercial and residential center for the citizens of Seoul. More images and information after the break.

Lollipop House / Moon Hoon

© Moon Hoon
© Moon Hoon

Would you live here? Designed by Seoul-based practice Moon Hoon, this single family residence for Giheung-Gu, Korea is organized around a central stair that branches to seven different living levels. Wrapped in a colorful facade of metal panels, the coloring choice provides a strong statement for the unusual residence along with conjuring images of a child’s favorite treat. The clients urged Moon Hoon to explore the idea of multiple living planes which has resulted in a skip floor setup with a study, living area, kitchen and dining area, master bedroom, children’s bedroom, attic playroom and upper level room, stemming from the circulation core. An atrium runs the height of the house and allows natural light to illuminate the interiors.

More images and drawings after the break.

Controversy over The Cloud forces MVRDV to Apologize

© Luxigon
© Luxigon

Dutch firm MVRDV has received harsh criticism since they revealed the proposal for two luxury residential towers in South Korea, named after its inspiration, The Cloud. The two towers are connected by a “pixilated cloud of additional program.” Critics are outraged, stating the design resembles the collapsing twin towers of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Busan Opera House Proposal / Peter Ruge Architekten

Courtesy of Peter Ruge Architekten
Courtesy of Peter Ruge Architekten

Peter Ruge Architekten shared with us their entry for an international competition to design a new opera and theatre house in Busan, Korea. The city of Busan has a specific geography consisting of mountain areas that connect directly to the Pacific Ocean, great nature, a high population density, and an urgent demand for public spaces to be used by the inhabitants. By taking advantage of these characteristics, they were able to develop the concept for their design. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Department Store Roof Garden / YKH


Recently opened, SOM designed, Lotte Department Store Gwangbok branch in Busan, Korea requested Yamasaki Ku Hong Associates Design Lab (YKH) to modify the existing ‘roof garden’ to allow and amplify users to enjoy the spectacular view of Busan Port. Additionally, the client requested us to find a way to increase ‘brand identity’ and ‘sales volume’. Existing conditions of roof garden with two separate observatories were not efficiently designed and more importantly were not connected; there were a possibility to increase two floors of additional retail area. YKH have come up with a new idea called, ‘Way-Pod’; Way Pod is derived from I-Pod, creating a hardware that could evolve with time. Way-Pod is comprised of ‘Way’ – free of charge, elevated view corridor – and ‘Pod’ – with charge, entertainment hardware for fun, culture and event.

Health & Sports Education Center of Kang-won National University / Idea Image Institute of Architects

Courtesy of Kang Chul-Hee and Idea Image Institute of Architects
Courtesy of Kang Chul-Hee and Idea Image Institute of Architects

Designed by Kang Chul-Hee and Idea Image Institute of Architects, the Health & Sports Education Center attracts local residents’ participation and heightens its value as a community sports center. Located on the eastern part of Kang-won University’s Choon-Chun Campus, it is somewhat secluded from its surroundings. So in order to adapt to the steep landscapem, the center’s swimming pool and education facility are designed with multi-level entrances, emphasizing a diverse entryway and an adventurous space. More images and architects’ description after the break.