This year will see a new addition in the top 10 list of the world's tallest buildings. The 555 meter tall Lotte World Tower that is currently under construction in Seoul, is set to reach heights never seen before in South Korea. If the architectural visualisation for the project is anything to go by, then we expect to see Kohn Pedersen Fox's soft and elegant 'bullet-like' form gracefully adorning Seoul's skyline any time soon. Like most contemporary multi-billion dollar projects, the Lotte World Tower had been riddled with controversy from its inception and has taken years on end to get implemented.
As expected, the design team at Kohn Pedersen Fox went for a modern aesthetic, being inspired by a rich history of Korean artistry in ceramics, porcelain and calligraphy. The tower's tapering curvature is sleek and imposing - even egotistical; and is testament to a culture that holds perfection as one of its defining principles. At 123 stories, the building is set to bring together a retail, office and 7-star hotel program. The building's top ten floors have been set aside for extensive public use and entertainment facilities and will feature a roof-top café and an observation deck.
The curtain walling system shines amongst all of the design team's manoeuvres. Like two elongated shells, the building's skin separates ever so slightly from the tower's shoot extending way after the last floorplan. At its zenith, the now bisected crown is transformed into an apex of two seams that run alongside each other - paying tribute to the old centre of the city. The architectural edifice stands structurally sound thanks to a concrete core that is surrounded by 8 concrete super-columns all resting on a concrete mat that is tied back to the core with steel outrigger trusses. Lateral loading is taken into account by belt trusses that are placed at every point of major programmatic transition. The pinnacle melts into the primary elements of the steel frame and gains a much appreciated transparency.
The Lotte World Tower has ambitions to achieve LEED Gold Certification and echoes the Lotte Group's tenet for environmental sustainability. Several sustainable design strategies were employed including photo-voltaic panels, wind turbines, external sun-shading devices and rainwater harvesting systems. It is easy for super-skyscrapers to be imposing to their immediate context; but Kohn Pedersen Fox has managed to come up with a design that is subtle enough to fit in a melee of an architecturally busy landscape. Inasmuch as the tower might not be the most stellar in the list of the world's tallest buildings, it sets an important local precedent for South Korea to follow.
Here's also another south Korean project you might find intriguing, Bowl-Shaped River Culture Pavilion By Asymptote.
Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Client: Lotte Group
Architect-of-Record: BAUM Architects
Structural: Leslie E. Robertson Associates, Chang Minwoo Structural Consultants, Thornton Tomasetti
MEP: SYSKA Hennessy Group
Cost: Rider Levett Bucknall
Other Consultants: CBRE, ALT Limited, Lerch Bates, Aon Fire Protection Engineering, Aon Global Risk Consulting, Fortune Shelper Consulting, RWDI
Main Contractor: LOTTE Engineering & Construction
Area: 505 300 sqm
Height: 555 m (123 stories)
Status: Under Construction
Photographs: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Jean Chung