Songdo International Business District (IBD) is being developed on 1,500 acres of reclaimed land in South Korea along Incheon’s waterfront, 40 miles from Seoul and just seven miles from Incheon International Airport. Developed by Gale International and Korea’s POSCO E&C, this master-planned metropolis is a model of sustainable, city-scale development and innovation.
The Gateway Center, which is defined by six office towers over three city blocks, will be become one of Songdo’s premier office complexes. The heart of the city’s business district will consist of the Gateway Center and the three adjacent blocks to the north that make up the International Plaza.
The six towers of the Gateway Center will create a striking silhouette in the emerging New Songdo City. Although the towers are essentially square in plan, they are clad in undulating and flowing reflective glass surfaces that will clearly mark the gateway into the New Songdo City.
The curvilinear surfaces and fluid forms create a natural design progression along Park Avenue. Starting from the F-1 and F-2 blocks, the design of the successive blocks escalates in expression and departs from the Cartesian geometry of a typical office building.
The project will create a unique and vibrant complex that synthesizes Korean aesthetics in the context of modern architecture while respecting the guidelines of the master plan and the emerging context of this new city.
The Gateway Center will be a LEED Silver Certified project. The Center will incorporate innovative technologies to reduce and conserve energy and material and create a healthy and sustainable environment.
“Sky Plane” Concept
At the core of the Songdo IBD master plan is a public green space named after Central Park in New York City and is anchored at one end by the Northeastern Asian Trade Tower (NEATT), which, when constructed, will stand as Korea’s tallest building. Surrounding the core are various commercial residential districts designed to be a lively pedestrian area in the spirit of great “hub” cities around the world. The Gateway Center’s location adjacent to the park and the tower marks the beginning of the central office district and contributes to the master plan “sky plane “ concept.
The 3,400,000-GSF, mixed-use Gateway Center is comprised of three blocks: F6-1, F6-2, and F7. The Center is situated at the southernmost point of Park Avenue, on the western edge of Central Park. As a result, the Center is a figural gateway into the New Songdo City. This arrival experience is formed by the multi-level Gateway Plaza located on the southern edge of the site. The Plaza is defined vertically by two of the six towers comprising the Center. These towers sit atop a four-story retail base and an underground parking facility.
The flowing forms of the towers are derived from the symbolic understanding of the site, recognition that the New Songdo City is at the boundary of the sea and land and that the Gateway Center juxtaposes new and old, life and work. These dualities are integral to the national identity of Korea and are embodied in the yin and yang of the Korean flag. This curve forms the basis of the formal creation of the tower design.
Towers A, B, and C are situated to define the street edge along Park Avenue, while Towers D1, D2, and E form a counter geometry that is reflective of the residential street grid to the east. Stretched between these two groups of buildings and anchored by the Gateway Plaza is an urban park that connects the entire Center.
Towers A and B are linked by a shared retail base with an atrium at the center that provides a public front door to the complex. Infused with natural light and enlivened by the surrounding retail shops, this environment along with the pocket park between F6-1 and F6-2 affords pedestrian connections between Park Avenue and the Park, and begins the transition from the activity of the city streetscape to the relative calm of the Park.
Located at the southern edge of the Gateway Center, Tower C offers a more singular presence and is envisioned as a potentially desirable location for a corporate headquarters. The mixed use program is further defined by Towers A, B, and C being strictly for office use; while Towers D1 and D2 are designed as officetel (residential apartment). Tower E is a unique hybrid condition and consists of both office and officetel.
The towers and podium have rooftop gardens sheltered by high glass screen walls. The gardens will offer the building occupants refuge from the city below throughout the year.
Client: Gale International
Project: Gateway Center at Songdo City
Location: Incheon, South Korea