Cross # Towers by BIG


Cross Towers by BIG

Skyscrapers in Seoul: Danish architects BIG have designed a towering apartment block for Seoul that will be shaped like a hashtag.

Cross Towers by BIG

Height restrictions prevented the architects from planning taller buildings, which is why they added the two bridging blocks to their proposals.

Cross Towers by BIG

The towers will be located in the Yongsan International Business District, which was masterplanned by New York architects Studio Libeskind, and will provide over 600 apartments, as well as a library, a kindergarten and a gallery space.

Cross Towers by BIG

Roof gardens for residents will cover the surface of both the bridging blocks and a submerged courtyard will be provided below ground level.

Cross Towers by BIG

The buildings are planned just around the corner from a pair of towers designed by MVRDV, which caused a stir a few months ago due to their resemblance to the exploding World Trade Centre on 9/11. See images of that project here.

Cross Towers by BIG

See more projects by BIG here, including their recent proposals for a 150-metre-high skyscraper in Vancouver.

Cross Towers by BIG

More details from the architects are provided below:


BIG’s residential towers in the Yongsan International Business District revitalize the Han riverfront into a new commercial and residential center for the citizens of Seoul.

Cross Towers by BIG

Situated at the south-east edge of the Yongsan master plan designed by Studio Liebeskind for the Korean development group Dreamhub, BIG’s Cross # Towers will contribute to the developing skyline of Seoul and become a recognizable marker of the new cultural and commercial center of the city. BIG was selected to submit a design proposal for Yongsan International Business District among 19 international offices, including SOM, Dominique Perrault, REX and MVRDV.

Cross Towers by BIG

The 21 000 m2 site is positioned next to the existing urban fabric in the future development zones of the Yongsan master plan. BIG’s design includes two elegant towers with a height of 214 and 204m. To meet the height requirements of the site, the exceeding building mass is transformed into an upper and lower horizontal bar, which bridge the two towers at 140m and 70 m height. The two towers are additionally connected through the arrival bar at the ground level - and a courtyard below ground.

Cross Towers by BIG

“The Cross # Towers constitute a three-dimensional urban community of interlocking horizontal and vertical towers. Three public bridges connect two slender towers at different levels – underground, at the street and in the sky. Catering to the demands and desires of different residents, age groups and cultures the bridges are landscaped and equipped for a variety of activities traditionally restricted to the ground. The resultant volume forms a distinct figure on the new skyline of Seoul – a “#” that serves as a gateway to the new Yongsan Business District signaling a radical departure from the crude repetition of disconnected towers towards a new urban community that populates the three-dimensional space of the city.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

Cross Towers by BIG

Both the upper and lower bridge introduce rooftop sky gardens accessible to residents, allowing for outdoor activities, while a courtyard at the heart of the development is an integral part of the overall architectural design.

Cross Towers by BIG

Dramatic views towards the neighboring towers and visual connections across the courtyard from the retail zone create an exciting space for the residents and visitors.

Cross Towers by BIG

The outdoor landscape is envisioned to draw from the charm of traditional courtyards combined with the modernity of the project.

Cross Towers by BIG

Pedestrians at the arrival deck which connects the towers at ground level can enjoy impressive views to the bridges above and to the submerged courtyard below.

Cross Towers by BIG

“The typical tower inherently removes life from the city it occupies. Circulation is linear and social interactions occur only in lobbies or awkward elevator rides. We propose a building that triples the amount of ground floor – triples the amount of social interaction and reintroduces the idea of neighborhood within the tower complex.”, Thomas Christoffersen, Partner in Charge, BIG.

Cross Towers by BIG

The development will offer over 600 high-end residences and amenities, including a library, gallery space and a kindergarten. BIG’s design ensures that the tower apartments have optimal conditions towards sun and views.

Cross Towers by BIG

The bar units are given value through their spectacular views and direct access to the roofscapes, activating the outdoor realm. The exterior facades are developed to correspond to the different orientations and solar conditions, creating a diverse façade which varies from the viewer’s vantage point and the position of the sun.

Cross Towers by BIG

  • Stu

    I’m Seouled on this.

  • Chris

    Hell, its cool. Nice having the access as well as the landscaped roofs more accessible to the residents. Structurally should be pretty rigid as well.

    • Break

      A safe place of letting your children's run along, somewhere in 200+ meters above ground. And they are not known for climbing over fences and jumping from buildings…. YAY!

  • Jürgen

    Looks foggy in Korea.

    • robin

      No, that's just Luxigon pumping up the fake atmosphere….

      • Dani

        I think they do renders themselves.

        • robin

          No they don't. But when they do, it looks like interior renders of their Kimbal Art centre, which looks amateurish.

          • Dan D

            I hope you're telling us this because you work at BIG, and not because you heard it down some deep, long grapevine with great potential for inaccuracy.

            I also hope your judgement of amateur vs. not is based on your vast experience professionally producing renders for architects.

            And I know for a fact those foggy ones aren't Luxigon.

      • Reminds me of the Citadel in Half Life 2 ;)

    • josh

      Maybe its an alternate universe Korea, where vaseline just naturally grows on every camera lense….

    • rafael

      not luxigon, its "MIR" go to

  • qhsj

    This is right next to the exploding version of it I see. should be a hilarious place to live in 10 years. I can make the diagonal and/or twisting version if someone would be so kind as to award me the contract…

  • Colonel Pancake

    It's so……………..B.I.G.

  • mart

    I loved it, just would change the browny of the renders.

  • DChase Martin

    Chidish, simplistic, ugly, silly tripe. I was hopeful that this current economic disaster, rendering so many talented and skilled architects unemployed, would at least have had the upside of changing the direction of "outrageous architecture" back to the respectable and thoughtful, measured and grounded, intelligent and scholarly profession to which I aspired, during which we got the Guggenheim, Salk Institute, Farnsworth, Crown Hall, Kimball…to name just a few. Instead, we get Ingels…good luck to us.

    • amsam

      Haters gonna hate.

    • John Smith

      I have to disagree after just visiting the Farnsworth House it is anything but thoughtful and grounded. Importing Travertine from Italy just because Mies felt concrete or local stone wasn't the right shade. Thoughtful? Really? Is it sustainable and "grounded" to have the architect come to site to pick and chose which stone is laid in which place? No wonder the budget was left behind,the Farnsworth House is prime example of modernism's selfish indulgence.

    • Dan D

      I hate it when people blame architects for not being sensitive to "our troubled economic times," when a grandiose design is presented. If you've been practicing, you'll know that work isn't coming in from left and right. They were hired to do two towers…as was MVRDV…as was Perrault…was REX. BIG claims to be purveyors of iconic architecture. Whether that's good or not, who knows…but that doesn't mean their architecture isn't thought out. And I would argue that OMA is as scholarly as it gets, and that there are many successful offices with the same level of scholarly pursuit.

      And you didn't work with Kahn, Wright or Mies. You're running on the laurels given by critics you personally know just as little about. There were just as many "unhappy architects" wishing for the old thoughtful grandeur of ornament. Instead they were stuck with Mies (good luck to them).

      I'd be careful before I strut around proclaiming the end is nigh with a glass of whiskey in one hand and a cigar in the other. Time are changing. You either stay in the past and get left behind, or you get the commission to build. I would argue BIG has done the latter.

  • Marco

    Form Follows Fashion

    On the scale of pretentious fantasy-scrapers, it’s not even bad. But I’m dying for some architecture these days. Wake me up when we’ve arrive at the age of post-formalism, will you?

  • I've been quite hard on the last BIG designs, but, I must say, I like this one more than the other entries. The design seems quite consequential and it's not just "scheme for scheme's sake" (and it's also nicer than MVRDV's submission).
    I'm still not so convinced by the facade, at least I don't see this huge variation based on context and views (this one is typical of BIG's explanation…), those still remind me of offices or hotels and there is no residential character yet.
    I would see how people will react and interact with the building itself, I kind of like the roof gardens, but due to the towers proximity and the hight of those bridges (horizontal towers..? really?) they will probably have wind issues at least on the upper one.

  • Toomi

    hooray no twists, just blocks, arrows & renders

  • Sammi

    If this means that “master planner” Daniel Libeskind won’t be designing anything, I’m cool with that!

  • OIO

    Please not again! On the originality scale, it is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a project already drawn 60 times. On the pertinence scale, it has zero value. At best it is a gimmick!

    "show-off" architecture done by the new boys band of architecture…

  • JayCee

    Its in Seoul. In Korea. A city up there with Dubai and Azerbaijan on the "big new buildings of little significance" scale.

  • SoTo

    It's banal, like some kid came up with an idea based on what he could do with Lego or Jinga blocks.

  • ogierdebeauseant

    Eye popping stuff. Just hope Libeskind doesn't do any of the designs.

  • LOW

    Very OMA'ish… I dig

  • Sanjit

    It's some relief that Daniel Libeskind is not getting to design any of the buildings here. But BIG's work is almost as bad as anything Libeskind would do by himself if someone were stupid enough to give him another chance. So there's not much benefit here.

  • shmark

    Step-by-Step Instructions on how to "Luxigon"

    1. Render an otherwise mediocre building.
    2. Open image in PhotoShop
    3. Create New Layer called "atmosphere"
    3. Select a brush with the largest diameter available and turn Hardness to 0%
    4. Select a reddish color with opacity set to 70%
    5. Click on corner of image, set Layer to "Overlay" or "Soft Light"
    6. Repeat with as many colors as needed until you've reached something evocative.

  • The “Bars”, at their intersections with the towers, create several floors of less than ideal apartment space (windowless rooms, remoteness from elevators, etc.) I’d be interested in seeing how the architects solve such issues, and if their solutions are marketable.

  • Wow, some pretty caustic words out there.
    And please stop dissing Libeskind (you critics should try designing it yourself).
    BIG is brilliant. Kudos to them.

  • Vince

    Another new image/symbol/brand or whatever…
    But where is the architecture? You know guys, where the people live…
    And I don't even mention the urbanity of this…thing

  • Zino

    I love it. Clever, artful, rational, good for socialization… more park space.

  • mas

    Libeskind is designing a few of the towers in Yongsan. He masterplanned, and then most of them were split up, but he got to keep some I guess.

  • I'm glad that i can see plans and renders at the same time. If there could be more detailed drawings and technical details it would be better.

  • dee

    where are the plans?
    the intersection of volumes creates inefficiency, and loss of potential office space.

  • Elliot

    Love the design but this “cluster of stepped towers” connected by bridging points is everywhere now, like the Tencent building in Shenzhen and this one: Surprisingly enough, also in Shenzhen.