Dancing Dragons is a pair of landmark supertall mixed-use towers for the new Yongsan International Business District in Seoul, Korea. The buildings, which include residential, “officetel” and retail elements, consist of slender, sharply angled mini-towers cantilevered around a central core. The design aesthetic is highly contemporary yet informed by aspects of traditional Korean culture.
The mini-towers feature a dramatic series of diagonal massing cuts that create living spaces that float beyond the structure. This recalls the eaves of traditional Korean pagodas—a design theme echoed both in the geometry of the building skin and the jutting canopies at the towers’ base. The theme is extended in the building skin, which suggests the scales of fish and Korean mythical creatures such as dragons, which seem to dance around the core—hence the project’s name. (Yongsan, the name of the overall development, means “Dragon Hill” in Korean.)
Dancing Dragons’ scale-like skin is also a performative element. Gaps between its overlapping panels feature operable 600-mm vents through which air can circulate, making the skin “breathable” like that of certain animals.
In both buildings, the mini-tower cuts are clad in glass at the top and bottom, making for dramatic skylights above the units at the highest levels and a transparent floor beneath the units at the lowest levels. This offers the opportunity for special high-value penthouse duplex units with spectacular 360-degree views of downtown Seoul and the adjacent Han River, along with an abundance of natural light.