Skyscrapers in Seoul: Chicago architects Murphy/Jahn have designed two towers under one roof for the western side of South Korea's new commercial centre, the Yongsan International Business District of Seoul.
Containing mainly apartments, the 320-metre-high Pentominium skyscrapers will conceal sheltered gardens and balconies behind the lattices of glazing that make up their exterior walls.
Some of these courtyards will occupy four-storey-high voids in the floorplates, while more gardens will be located on the penthouse floor and on a bridge that connects the two buildings at its centre.
Staircase and elevator cores will be positioned in the north-east corners of each block, giving residents of each apartment a view towards the Han River in the south-west.
The firm was commissioned alongside fifteen other architects to design towers for the Yongsan International Business District, which was masterplanned by Daniel Libeskind and which is the biggest urban development project in South Korea. Due for completion in 2024, the masterplan was commissioned by South Korean developer DreamHub.
The text below is from Murphy/Jahn:
The Yongsan International Business District will set a new standard for an integrated global city.
Situated on a high-profile site in the western side of the district, plot R5 houses a signature topend residential building, 320m in height, which will attract the most exclusive clientele from both Korea as well as the rest of the world. These Pentominium units will provide unsurpassed urban living experiences, with spatial and privacy features normally associated with individual houses.
In order to maximize window views and create a sense of exclusivity through minimizing the number of units per floor, two slender towers were chosen for the design. A simple square footprint provides the geometry basis for each tower floor. To take advantage of the desirable vistas to the southwest, the cores for the towers are shifted off center towards the northeast elevations. The resulting U-shaped usable areas can then be divided into one, two, three, or four units per floor, most with view access to the southwest.
Around each unit, the enclosure façade moves in and out from the square tower footprint to create customized bay windows, wintergardens, and enclosed balconies. An exterior screen of vertical and horizontal bars is located outboard of the balconies. The primary module of the screen is 5.0m tall by 3.0m wide to align with the façade geometry. In areas where increased privacy is preferred, such as bedrooms and bathrooms, additional vertical bars are added within the primary module.
In addition to becoming the signature design feature of the project, the exterior screen provides four distinct benefits:
1. Provides solar shading to the façade, reducing the cooling load of the building
2. Enhances privacy between towers
3. Creates a visual and structural framework in which balconies and interior room projections can be inserted.
4. Maintains an ordered, clean visual appearance in front of the shifting enclosure façade behind.
The façade layering of exterior bar screen, to balcony/terrace, to enclosure façade creates a three-dimensional space in lieu of the traditional two-dimensional façade. This zone breaks down the barrier between interior and exterior areas, helping to provide the experience of individual house living in a high-rise urban context.
At various heights in each tower, structural bays are carved out of the sides of the building enclosure to create four-story high skyparks. Each skypark will be developed to provide a distinct amenity experience for the Pentominium residents, from a place of meditation, to an exterior lounge, and a sporting/exercise zone. Open joint glass panels in the exterior screen here help to temper these spaces climatically, while still maintaining an exterior experience for the residents.
Amenity functions are located at a mid-height level of the towers. A platform with both interior and exterior areas connects the two towers here, allowing residents to have their own private garden and lounge area in the sky. At the top of the towers are private roof gardens for the ultraexclusive single floor unit super villas.
Officetel units, with circulation separate from the Pentominiums, are located in the bottom eight floors of the east tower, as well as an adjacent four-story podium building. Secure parking for the Pentominium units is located in the basements below, with direct elevator access to each floor as well as the retail concourses below grade.