Seoul Gets Its Own Landmark Shard Tower

While the finishing touches are being put on the Shard in London, architect Renzo Piano is looking east with the Landmark Tower that will featuring prominently in the new skyline of South Korea’s capital.

Renzo Piano is a prolific architect with offices in Paris, Genoa, and New York.  Piano began his career working for the important achitects Louis Kahn and Z.S. Makowsky before creating a name for himself.  In 1977 the Pompidou Centre in Paris opened and has since become a landmark within Paris and established the careers of Richard Rogers and Piano.  Since the Pompidou, Piano has accomplished many high-profile international projects often the museum or culture sector.  In 1998 Piano was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, one of the highest awards for architects.  More recently, in 2006, TIME magazine listed Piano as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, which is an incredible accomplishment for someone who designs buildings.

The Landmark Tower is said to use “double-helix external bracing” for the support of the conical skyscraper.   Piano has long been a major proponent of high-tech architecture, but this type of DNA-like construction has not been used on the proposed scale of the tower.  Using the blueprint of life as the literal blueprint of a building may be a bit dramatic, but structurally the criss-crossing spirals are meant to brace the tower against wind and adverse weather conditions.

The Yongsan International Business District will soon be a twenty building centre of commerce and spectacular architecture.  Overseeing the development of the 3,000 hectare site is Arup Group Ltd. who are working with the New York Studio Daniel Libeskind and Bjarke Ingels Group from Copenhagen in addition to Piano to execute the new development.  Deamhub Project Financial Investment Co. Ltd. is coordinating the development of the project.  Though contracts with the designers have yet to be finalized, it looks hopeful that Yongsan project will progress bringing new life to Seoul’s urban landscape.

The Landmark Tower is expected to reach a height of 620 metres (double the Shard’s height of a mere 310 metres), and will be the centerpiece of the development.  The Middle East is currently dominating the architectural world in terms of height, rate of building, and innovation of design, but the Yongsan project and Renzo Piano’s Landmark Tower could shift attention back east.

Words: Emily Sack 2012


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