Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
International Finance Center in Seoul, Korea by Arquitectonica
April 17th, 2015 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Arquitectonica
American International Group and the Seoul Metropolitan Government were partners in the development of this 507,075m2 / 5,458,153sf mixed-use project in which Arquitectonica designed the master plan, the architecture and portions of the interiors. The complex became a new hub for the financial, securities and insurance companies concentrated in Seoul. It features three international A-grade commercial office towers, a five-star hotel, three-level luxury retail mall, megaplex cinema complex, fine dining and drinking establishments and significant new outdoor public spaces. The site is located at the center of Yeouido Island, and will serve as a major pedestrian link between the subway station and Riverside and Yeouido Plaza Park.
The project is comprised of 3 office towers of 29, 32, 55 stories, ranging in height from 176m to 284m (577ft to 932ft), and a 38 story 5-star hotel tower with 434 rooms at 196m (643ft). The towers flank a central boulevard with drop-off court and face the park, with the tallest tower anchoring the center of the site. Each office tower immediately engages with a grand glass canopy entrance. A drop-off court with water feature demarcates the access point to the hotel.
The inspiration for IFC Seoul came from Asian landscape drawings that often depict very steep jagged mountains. Four vertical towers were designed to appear like monumental crystalline outcroppings that have been shaped by the forces of nature, each with their own erosion pattern. One of the challenges in designing a modern business development is how to remain expressive while addressing the issues of efficiency and adaptability and realizing that the contemporary workplace should also engage the city while offering places for human interaction. The project was designed to achieve all of these goals.
The glass towers are chiseled to create prismatic forms that accentuate the interplay of light and shadow on the glass façade. They embrace a green commons that forms the heart of the complex. At either end of landscaped parklands, two glass pavilions mark the entrances into the 3-level underground retail mall with direct access to the Yeouido subway station. The central spine of the mall will be lit in daytime from large skylight structures enclosing the entry pavilions. They form an angular, dragon-like figure that crouches at the southeast corner demarcating the subway entry. The figure sinks below the plaza level, tracing a serpentine path above the retail circulation path, and reemerges in a grand flourish over the central atrium beneath the entry plaza. At night, the glass atrium casts a soft lantern-like glow throughout the site.
The office buildings deliver efficient and flexible spaces, providing a range of different working environments suitable for a large variety of organizations. Expansive floor-to-ceiling glass and close to 10’ ceilings immerses the office spaces in natural light and provides magnificent, uninterrupted views across Yeouido Park, the Han River, to the mountains beyond. All buildings have new levels of intelligent-design built in, providing a modern, technology-enabled environment for optimal business performance. Features include advanced passenger and service lift systems, flexible air-conditioning, dual power supply, and a comprehensive communications and information technology infrastructure. Generous bay depths of more than 42 feet from elevator core to the perimeter wall ensure efficient use of space, while a raised floor provides flexible cable management throughout the building. Sustainability has been a key planning consideration, resulting in high levels of energy efficiency.
The 434-room five-star hotel features a range of conference rooms, ballroom, state-of-the-art health club and spa, and rooftop restaurant and bar. The double-height lobby features a sequence of escalators and elevators that circulate guests and visitors within the hotel and to the mall below.
Below grade, the retail mall provides a complete link with all the office towers, hotel function and assembly spaces and direct access, via a 1,050-foot moving walkway, to Lines 5 and 9 at Yeouido Station of Seoul’s underground subway network. Restaurants and shops line the pedestrian paths, playful escalators crisscross the levels, all leading to the lowest level of the mall where event courts are located below the skylit entry pavilions. Restaurants, food court and multiplex cinema animate the lowest level.
Outdoors a rich labyrinth of “outdoor rooms” infuses the center with energy and vitality. The landscaping features spaces for outdoor events, urban plazas with alfresco dining, an esplanade intertwined with art installations, and a great lawn for quiet relaxation. The sculpture garden and esplanade offer an outdoor gallery for displaying the work of renowned artists. Public benches, stone steps, urban outdoor furniture and café-style seating areas bring the plazas to life.