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Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, South Korea

Monday 24 Mar 2014

Breaking new ground in Seoul

All photographs: Virgile Simon Bertrand 
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ZHA & Samoo complete Dongdaemun Design Plaza, the first public building in South Korea designed using 3D Building Information Modelling software 

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) with local design firm Samoo Architects & Engineers this week celebrated the official opening of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul, South Korea. This is the first public project in the country to be completed using 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) and was the result of an ‘ever-evolving’ client brief.

Of the design process, ZHA states: “Throughout the design process, every building requirement was considered as a set of inter-related spatial relationships which will define the social interactions and behavioural structure in/around the project.

"These relationships became the framework of the design, defining how different aspects of the project, such as spatial organisation, programmatic requirements, and engineering come together.”

Now complete, the cultural hub is encased in over 45,000 panels that glide smoothly across its undulating façade. Parametric modelling was used for an advanced metal forming and fabrication process to create a mass-customisation system.

The final result is a gleaming silver façade that reflects the neon signs and LED lights of this busy commercial area. As the seasons shift and the sunlight intensity changes throughout the course of the day, so the reflection of the natural elements will be visible to all who pass by this immense new form.

The DDP has been created as a core design centre and cultural meeting place for Seoul residents and travelling professionals; ‘a catalyst for the instigation and exchange of ideas’ as ZHA puts it. The public spaces on offer include: a design museum; exhibition halls; a library; a children’s education centre; a media centre; a sky lounge; and numerous seminar rooms.

Like many of ZHA and Samoo’s projects, the silhouette of the DDP can easily be described as ‘organic’. Its bulbous form is a result of a complex site which includes an ancient city wall and various cultural artefacts uncovered during archaeological explorations conducted prior to construction of the planned cultural hub. The placement of these historical elements ultimately defines the form of this modern structure.   


Architectural Design: Zaha Hadid Architects
Local Design Institute: Samoo Architects & Engineers
Project Management: Kuwon Engineering, Heerim Architects & Engineers, GTS
Contractor: Samsung Construction

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