Creativity and design for the masses

Kerry Boettcher
Wednesday 06 May 2015

Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul welcomes over 8.5 million visitors in its first year

A new Zaha Hadid Masterpiece, opened last year, is the world’s largest three-dimensional asymmetrical architectural structure. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), which has already attracted millions of visitors is a new epicentre of design and the creative industries at the centre of the historic district of Seoul. The cultural centre comprises a variety of public spaces, including art exhibition halls, a conference hall, design museum/exhibition hall, design labs, media centre, seminar rooms, designers lounge, and 24-hour design market, allowing the DDP to present the widest diversity of exhibitions and events that feed the cultural vitality of the city. 

A place where the past, present and future, peacefully coexist, the DDP is an architectural landscape that revolves around the ancient city wall and cultural artefacts that were unearthed during the archaeological excavations that took place prior to starting construction. 

The design is the result of how the context, local culture, programmatic requirements and innovative engineering come together, allowing the architecture, city and landscape to combine in both form and spatial, creating a new civic space for the city. Integrating the park and plaza, it is a green oasis within the busy urban surroundings and gives visitors a place for leisure, relaxation and refuge. Voids in the park’s surface give visitors glimpses into the innovative world of design below.

The 30,000 sq m park reinterprets the spatial concepts of traditional Korean garden design: layering horizontality, blurring the relationship between the interior and the exterior. The building also sets many new standards of innovation, as the first public project in Korea to implement advanced three-dimensional digital construction services that ensure the highest quality and cost controls. These include three-dimensional Building Information Modelling (BIM) for construction management and engineering coordination, enabling the design process to adapt with the evolving client brief and integrate all engineering requirements. These innovations have enabled the team building DDP to control the construction with much greater precision than conventional processes and improve efficiencies. Implementing such construction technologies make DDP one of Korea’s most innovative and technological advances constructions to date. 

Kerry Boettcher

News editor

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