This 3.2-million-square-foot mixed-use development is located on the western edge of Central Park, the main open space of Songdo City. This development consists of six separate tower buildings that sit on two adjacent north south running blocks separated by a 20-meter public road. One key to the design is creating an internal public space that all six buildings share, a sort of city within a city. Our strategy is to integrate the 20-meter public road into the landscaped plaza like a stitch. Drop-off areas and parking happen at a sunken sky lit level so that pedestrians may cross at grade. As the road gently rises it crests two meters above the ground plane and the plaza dips gently underneath. The public road becomes a significant element within the overall plaza design. The bringing together of these public and private urban activities will create a very dynamic and memorable place. Another key to the design is the degree to which the six buildings relate to each other and to the future context of Songdo City. A spiral progression sets the general massing of the composition with the shortest building on the south west corner of the site and the tallest on the south east corner, moving clockwise around the site. The buildings are conceptualized as a series of north / south “plan” layers much like the layers of mountains and valleys in the Korean landscape. As a datum, we’ve kept an ideal planning dimension from the core to the perimeter glass wall and have allowed the ends of these layered slabs to curve and twist vertically. Adjacent buildings create a figural space between them and lock them together much like dancers create space on a dance floor. At key moments within the design the massing of the individual buildings is broken down with reveals and interlocking edges conceptualized as ancient wood joinery. These joints and reveals offer connections to various urban scales that happen naturally throughout a city. The long facades of the buildings are alternating panels of clear low iron, high performance glass and glass layered with copper mesh. The edges of the buildings consist of a high performance reflective glass heightening the curvature of their forms. Water harvesting, planted roofs and walls, efficient planning and use of materials, and solar energy collection comprise some of the strategies that will make this a “LEED” rated and sustainable design.
Ubiquitous Life Expo The new Ubiquitous Life Expo (U-Life) will be located at the southeast corner of the SustainableInternationalBusinessCenter in Songdo’s IBD. Simultaneously oriented to the street, park and sky, U-Life will be a highly visible landmark and showcase of sustainable systems, materials and technologies. Built into the design is the desire to make visible the strategies employed making this “living laboratory” the first LEED Platinum-Certified building to be built in Korea. The ground plan of U-Life isolates he vertical circulation lobby of the work functions from the more public and educational component of the building’s special exhibition hall. This 800-square-meter exhibition hall will tell the sustainable story of the Songdo IBD through large, intelligent and interactive displays. The U-Life building is oriented such that its visitors will be afforded view of two of Songdo’s most significant green spaces: Central Park and the co-gen plaza of the Sustainable IBC. The building thus serves as both a landmark from the exterior and a threshold from which to view Songdo.