The Blade - Yongsan International Business District

Dominique Perrault Architecture as Architects

Dominique Perrault has been selected to build a tower within the future Yongsan InternationalBusiness Center in Seoul, whose master plan was designed by Daniel Libeskind.

Dominique Perrault has unveiled on May 2,during a press conference in Seoul, an original silhouettetower reaching 300 meters high: The Blade.

In 2008, Dreamhub, a consortium of thirty of the largest Koreancompanies, has launched an international urban planning competitionfor the master plan of Yongsan International Business center(587, 000 square meters). Asymptote, Foster & Partners, JerdePartnership, Daniel Libeskind and SOM are involved. The projectnamed "Archipelago 21" proposed by Daniel Libeskind was selectedfollowing the competition. In September 2011 and for two months,Dreamhub has ordered to fifteen renowned international architecturestudios to design towers within the master plan.

Today, in the heart of historic Seoul, along the north bank of the HanRiver, the South Korean capital begins a makeover. At the centerof public transportation of Seoul, linking the various parts of themetropolis with one another, the Yongsan International BusinessDistrict is about to know a metamorphosis and to become a newsymbol and growth engine for 21st century.The Yongsan International Business Center, ambitious program ofnearly 3 millions square meters, is organized as an archipelago ofvertical buildings inter-connected a by large park.Connected to three other major business centers of the city, the futureBusiness Center is developed away from the large monofunctionalcomplexes, offering beyond the offices areas, housing, shops andmany government facilities (cultural facilities, education and transportinfrastructure).

Dominique Perrault, the only French architected invited, takespart again in Seoul’s transformation. After the completion of EwhaWomans University, the architect, through a unique architecturalstyle, participates to the identity of the future business district.

By its silhouette and its dynamic allure, the tower establishes itself inthe area as a geographical landmark. Its mysterious shape appearslike a totem, an iconic figure.It is not a square or a round building, but a rhomboid prism, arrangedin a way that makes it look different depending on the angle ofapproach. Inspired by its slender shape and sharp edges, the towerhas been named The Blade.

Within the effervescence of the emerging architectural styles, The Blade contrasts by being rooted in the urbanreality, in a dialogue of light and reflections with the neighbouring towers. Like an optical instrument, its façadefragments and then reconstructs the neighbouring landscape to create a new one.

In the way of a sheath, the skin of the tower is clad with glass, reflecting light and its environment, thus releasinga luminous halo which envelopes the silhouette of the tower. This vibration of the building’s skin appears anddisappears according to the viewing angle, creating a living architecture, transforming itself with the movementsof the sun and the changes of light.

The project sculptures the void like a luxurious material, offering space, light and views of the grand Seoul landscape.The Grand Lobby, the Business Forum, the Wellness or the Panorama Lobby constitute as many cut-outs in thetower volume, dedicated to promenades and relaxation. This superposition of voids contrasts with the constructedvolume of adjacent towers and accentuates the lightness of the tower prism.The voids offer respirations and accommodate collective spaces open to the landscape. At night, they dematerializethe silhouette of the tower, which appears then like a precious carved stone.

Dominique Perrault inaugurated Ewha Womans University, Seoul, in 2008. He has designed in 2011, for GwangjuDesign Biennale, Korea, an “Urban Folly”, named the Open Box.

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