Despite reports of stalled skyscraper projects across the globe, at least one super tall tower is moving forward: On October 21, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates unveiled its slender, cone-shaped design for what will become one of Asia's tallest buildings.
The Lotte Super Tower 123, so named because it will have 123 stories, will be built over a transportation hub near the Han River in the Jamsil shopping and entertainment section of Seoul, South Korea. The light-toned glass and metal-accented structure blends a modern aesthetic with historic Korean art forms such as ceramics, porcelain, and calligraphy. “The tower’s uninterrupted curvature and gentle tapered form is reflective of Korean artistry,” said KPF design principal James von Klemperer, FAIA. “The seam that runs from top to bottom of the structure gestures toward the old city center."
The 1,831-foot-tall building, designed to achieve LEED Silver, will house the corporate headquarters for the Lotte Group, a 66-year-old, $50 billion a year Korean business conglomerate. In addition, the high-rise will serve as a mixed-use vertical community with five distinct zones: retail, office, residential, hotel, and observation. Construction is scheduled to finish in 2014. If completed as planned, it will be the world’s second tallest building behind Adrian Smith’s 2,684-foot-tall Burj Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
KPF is managing to stay busy during the recession with several large-scale commissions in South Korea. The New York-based practice developed the master plan for the Songdo International Business District, located on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land along Incheon’s waterfront, 40 miles west of Seoul. The $35 billion, 65,000-resident complex calls for offices, homes, shops, schools, and hotels—some of which KPF is designing. The firm’s 100-acre Songdo Central Park opened in August after three years of construction, and the 100-million-square-foot financial district developed by Gale International and Posco E&C, is expected to finish in 2015.
“Seoul has been a most fruitful place for our practice over the last 15 years,” says von Klemperer, who notes that KPF now has a small three-person office there. “South Korea has an outstanding yield of well-executed adventurous designs. There is a constant renewal and updating of buildings there, which gives rise to new opportunities for architects.”