Launch Slideshow

PlayList for Libeskind's Master Plan for Yongsan

PlayList for Libeskind's Master Plan for Yongsan

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    A view looking Northeast along the Han River.

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    Site plan for Archipelago 21

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    Archipelago 21 concept sketch.

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    The new master plan connects the city to the Han River with public outdoor spaces.

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    Most new parts of the city will primarily serve pedestrians.

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    High-end retail at the ground level will unify the new district, with a cohesive plan of towers radiating outward from Yongsan station.

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    Studio Daniel Libeskind aims to weave the new parts of the city into the surrounding historic parts of Seoul.

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    A view of Archipelago 21 from the Han River.

The skyscraper designs, however, have not been without controversy. MVRDV’s contribution to the plan was a set of two towers that they dubbed "The Cloud," which featured a mid-height connection between the two towers. After their proposal struck a chord as being too reminiscent of imagery of the terrorist attacks of September 11, MVRDV issued an apology, and appears to be re-designing their towers. Incidentally, Libeskind’s plans for ground zero have also helped to inform his subsequent master planning projects, including those of the Yongsan International Business District: “The approach is about human beings, and creating a place with humanistic values,” Libeskind says. “Ground zero is a very different project, but also a really high-density project … with hundreds of stakeholders.” The experience in dealing with so many disparate agencies has made it easier to collaborate with all of the teams and entities involved in this project. 

While Libeskind concedes that the towers must be economically viable because they are “geared toward particular clientele,” he says that “each building has tough sustainability criteria,” noting that his team has hundreds of pages documenting the master plan’s sustainable attributes. The River Han will be accessible from each of the neighborhoods that make up Archipelago 21, and new development will cover the rail yards with parks in an effort to reduce hardscapes. Fewer roads than normal within the site reduce emphasis on cars for transportation; Libeskind has planned for a large "retail valley," which aims to be a pedestrian experience with parks and water features.

For more of ARCHITECT’s coverage on the Yongsan International Business District, check all of the entries in our Projects Gallery tagged Yongsan.