South Korea’s new cultural tower designed to educate and unify
The concept for Cheongna City Tower in Incheon, South Korea, differs from other highrises in both purpose and message. Designed to emanate a sense of hope throughout the world, GDS Architects’ ‘invisible’ 446m tower design (aka Tower Infinity) illustrates a humbleness and innocence from which a cultural centre, observation deck and other community facilities will function.
GDS beat 146 entries from 46 countries to win Korea Land Corporation’s design competition in March with their crystalline shard design that they gave the slogan ‘In the absence of matter is the presence of hope’.
Charles Wee, Design Principal at GDS Architects said: “Too often in modern times, the phrase ‘Landmark Tower’ is indicative of a nation’s desire/ego to showcase a level of economic prosperity and technological achievement for others to envy. Rather than fall victim with trying to compete with the great iconographic landmarks of the world or develop another version of the “tallest observation tower”, our heart, minds and motivation were set to represent the Power of Absence and the Strength of “Nothingness” often referred to by Louis Kahn.”
Covering 110,425 sq m of site space the development will house a culture park, performance center, indoor waterpark, kids town, retail space, a museum, sports and fitness facilities and the second highest tower observation deck in the world at 392m.
Focusing on the educational purpose of the structure the tower uses technical ingenuity and innovation to create a space where experience and education combine. Michael Collins & Scott Callihan, Senior Associates at GDS said:
“Our shared belief in Society’s obligation for educating and mentoring our youth and steadfast determination to shy away from the typical themepark ride clichés led us to create more stimulating and rewarding user experience venues. This can be seen in the Views of the World, where users enter the elevator and upon ascent to the observation level, begins a user experience where all walls transform into actual views at their corresponding heights from significant observation towers/buildings around the world.
"This simulated experience is not intended to replace the actual experience, but inspire people to travel to these worldly destinations and discover an interest in cultures other than their own.”
Groundbreaking for Tower Infinity is scheduled in 2010 and completion in 2013.
Niki May Young
Charles Wee, AIA- President/Principal Designer
Scott Callihan-Senior Associate/Project Designer
Michael Collins-Senior Associate/Project Designer
Seonghee Kim, Brandon Sakuma, Humberto Barraza (USA)
Jae Young Jang, Goon Bo Hyun, Soobok Park, Sang Joon Park, Juneui Yu (Korea)