Centrally located along a stretch of a man-made canal running through the heart of Songdo International Business District (IBD), the North Canal Walk project is a dynamic mixed-use development spanning five consecutive blocks from the Central Park to the River, and stitching together the business district with the north residential district.
Each segment is approximately 200 meters with the first four blocks (D1-D4) contain five-story buildings with glass storefront retail units occupying the ground and second levels, and three-story townhouse, luxury "office-tel" units—offices with residential features like a hotel—on the third, fourth and fifth floors. The buildings are linked by pedestrian passages on the second floor balconies, providing access to retail services. The fifth block in the development, D5, is planned as a public park.
The glass-front retail spaces comprise fitness club, bookstore, general stores, high-end restaurants, and other supporting facilities. These establishments are accessible from the street as well as the canal, which is protected from traffic and noise, encouraging pedestrian flow through the site.
The design inspiration for the North Canal Walk is that of a "stepping stone" whose units aesthetically and functionally act as stepping stones between important sites throughout the city, including a high-rise residential zone in the south, a commercial zone and hospital in the north, sports fields and public schools in the east, and Central Park in the west.
In order to create the "stepping stone", and to visually separate the retail and "office-tel" levels, wood louvers and metal screens are installed onto a base wall filled with pre-cast concrete panels and floor-to-ceiling-height windows. These two different materials are woven through entire site to create a variation of elevation.