The Cloud: Two Fused Luxury Residential Towers by MVRDV to Grace Seoul’s Yongstan District

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Samuel Nguma

Samuel Nguma is an Editor for Archute. He enjoys taking long walks and reading short stories. He is an ardent lover of architecture which he studied at the University of Nairobi.
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The Cloud is a set of two residential towers by MVRDV that will soon grace Seoul’s Yongstan District’s skyline. The project is part of the new Yongstan Dreamhub Project whose master plan was developed by Studio Libeskind. The Cloud sees MVRDV continue its exploration of vertical urbanism and it will be composed of 260 and 300 metre towers that coalesce to form a dramatic pixelated cloud. Positioned at the entrance of the new Yongstan Dreamhub, the towers will join forces with other architectural icons to extend Seoul’s business district in a bid to breathe new life into the city.

The north tower will be composed of 60 floors while its counterpart the south tower will have 54 floors. Midway in the elevation design of the development, MVRDV has positioned a pixelated 10-story floating podium that brings together shared programs for the residents of both towers. This is the star of the project, with MVRDV trying to reinvent the characteristic solitary feel of today’s skyscraper. In this suspended cloud we see the brilliance of the design team in its attempt to free the ground plane and create more space higher up the tower. This intervention creates ample space for the landscaped gardens designed by Martha Schwartz at the street level; while providing equal access to the more private but shared programs in the cloud.

Programmatically, the suspended cloud accommodates a large atrium that is surrounded by amenities like a sky lounge, a wellness centre, fitness studios, a number of pools, restaurants and cafes. On top of the podium, an interplay of additive and subtractive transformations create a series of public and private patios, gardens, pools and viewing decks. Access to these programs is facilitated by express elevators that connect residents on all floor of the towers.

The development offers a variety of residential typologies. The ground floor has a grand lobby that is surrounded by townhouses. Moreover, typical apartments range between 80 sqm and 260 sqm with some offering double volume interiors. With both towers being perfectly square in plan, four corner apartments could be planned in each floor, thus maximising views, daylight and cross ventilation. The top floors of both towers have been reserved for exclusive 1 200 sqm penthouses that will be the epitome of apartment city living in the entire development. Apart from residential functions, 9 000 sqm has been set aside for office-hotel programs.

Soon after the release of the proposed project to the public, MVRDV came under fire from architecture critics who claimed that “The Cloud” had a striking resemblance to the 9/11 explosion caused by the terrorist attack of the World Trade Centre twin towers. Jan Kinkker, spokesman to MVRDV, made a statement saying: “We’ve had quite a lot of calls from angry Americans saying it’s a disgrace. 9/11 was not the inspiration behind the design, the inspiration was a real cloud. It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process. We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt.”

Project Information

Architect: MVRDV
Location: Yongsan, Seoul, South Korea
Client: Dream Corporation
Architect-of-Record: SIAPLAN
Master Plan: Studio Libeskind
Martha Schwartz Partners
Area: 128 000 sqm
Under Construction
Luxigon, MVRDV

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About the author

Samuel Nguma

Samuel Nguma is an Editor for Archute. He enjoys taking long walks and reading short stories. He is an ardent lover of architecture which he studied at the University of Nairobi.
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