Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Seoul, Songdo and Meetings

May 2010 by Antony Wood

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After a busy week in Shanghai for CTBUH Chairman Professor Kim and myself (click here for a separate report on the Shanghai visit), we moved on to Seoul to begin the organization of the anticipated Seoul 2011 conference. It has been six years since I was last in Seoul, and the city has continued on its remarkable development of the past decade or two, managing to develop quality tall buildings within the historic fabric of this massive city, straddled across the Han River. In urban agglomeration terms (i.e. the continual city) Seoul-Incheon is one of the largest in the world, with 19.5 million inhabitants. Recent tall buildings of note include the Missing Matrix Building, Dongbu Finance Building, Bundle Matrix Building and the Northeast Asia Trade Tower.

Missing Matrix Building, MASS Studies Northeast Asia Trade Tower, KPF Bundle Matrix Tower, MASS Studies

My first full day in Korea saw a trip to Songdo, courtesy of Professor Young Kyu Ju of Korea University and the Korean CTBUH, where I was extremely impressed with the new city developing there. Expecting a massive urban building site, I was pleasantly surprised to find a new city already bedding in, centered around the fantastic Central Park and with the Northeast Asia Trade Center Tower standing proud at its head. Though not quite complete, we were allowed to visit the observation deck at the top of the NEATT Tower, and observe the great views out over Song-do and the Incheon bridge to the airport beyond. Several tall buildings of note are already complete or nearing completion in Song-do, including Songdo Posco E&C Center 1 & 2 and The # Central Park I and II.

A View of Songdo   
Songdo First World Towers, KPF The # Central Park I, HOK

As well as a plethora of conference venue site inspections, other important meetings that took place in Seoul included:

• a visit to CTBUH members Samoo Architects to meet the Executive Director, Mr. Kwan-Joong Kim, and other colleagues there;
• a tour of the Lotte Tower site starting construction courtesy of Mr. Jason Lee, Project Manager for Lotte Engineering & Construction;
• a very important meeting with Mr. Young Joon Lee, Vice President of the Building Housing Business Division of Daelim Construction. Daelim have kindly agreed to sponsor the next CTBUH-Illinois Institute of Technology architectural design studio convened by myself, based on their project site on the edge of the Seoul Forest, so myself and a bunch of advanced architectural students from Chicago will be back there next year to begin a design project similar to that conducted in Mumbai in the past two years;
• a construction tour of the Galleria Foret Towers (interior design by Jean Nouvel), courtesy of Hanwha Engineering & Construction

On the final night we joined for dinner with colleagues from the vibrant Korean chapter of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, to discuss the findings of the few days and make solid plans for the 2011 Seoul conference. I am thus pleased to announce that it will be a joint effort between Korean-CTBUH and CTBUH, and will take place at the Coex Convention Centre Seoul, 10th-12th October 2011, on the specific global theme of “Why Tall?” As always, watch this space for developments on both the Seoul and Shanghai conference/congress, as plans develop in the coming months.

CTBUH visit to SAMOO office. Left to right: Yong E. Choi, Principal, Samoo; Professor Young Kyu Ju, Korean CTBUH/Korea University; Professor Sang Dae Kim, CTBUH Chairman/Korea University; Antony Wood, CTBUH Executive Director; Kwan-Joong Kim, Executive Director, Samoo    CTBUH meeting at Daelim Construction. Left to right: Yoon Ou-Jong, Manager, Daelim; Crystal Yeojin, CTBUH Assistant; Antony Wood, CTBUH Executive Director; Professor Sang Dae Kim, CTBUH Chairman/Korea University; Lee Young Joon, Vice President, Daelim Building & Housing Business Division; Professor Young Kyu Ju, Korean CTBUH/Korea University
Galleria Foret construction tour. Colleagues from CTBUH and Daelim, including: Kim Kwang Min, Senior Manager, Daelim Housing design team; Yoon Ou-Jong, Manager, Daelim; Crystal Yeojin, CTBUH Assistant; & Professor Young Kyu Ju, Korean CTBUH/Korea University Lotte Tower Site Visit. Left to right: Professor Young Kyu Ju, Korean CTBUH/Korea University; Antony Wood, CTBUH Executive Director; & Jason Lee, Project Manager, Lotte Engineering & Construction

Acknowledgements: I would like to acknowledge the kind support of KONE in sponsoring my trip to Shanghai and Seoul, which has allowed CTBUH to increase its exposure in China, and progress plans for the upcoming CTBUH Seoul conference 2011 and 9th World Congress Shanghai 2012. I would also like to recognize the significant efforts and energies of Professor Li and his colleague Dr. Lu in facilitating our Shanghai meetings, and Professors Sang Dae Kim, Young Kyu Ju and the Korean CTBUH in facilitating my Seoul visit and our numerous productive meetings there.