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South Korean Architecture : Buildings

Key Contemporary Architectural Developments, North East Asia

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Architecture in South Korea

We’ve selected what we feel are the key examples of South Korean Architecture. We aim to include buildings that are either of top quality or interesting, or ideally both.

We cover completed buildings, new building designs, architectural exhibitions and competitions across South Korea. The focus is on contemporary South Korea buildings but information on traditional buildings is also welcome.

We have 4 pages of South Korean Architecture selections with links to hundreds of individual project pages.

Korean Architecture : news + key projects (this page)

Korean Building Developments : A-E

Korean Building Designs : F-O

Korean Buildings : P-Z

South Korea Building – Latest Designs

Korean Architecture News – latest additions to this page, arranged chronologically:

National Library of Sejong City – 27 Sep 2013
Design: Samoo Architects & Engineers
National Library of Sejong City Korea
photo : Giovanni Zanghi

The National Library of Sejong City is the first branch facility of the National Library of Korea and is planned to be built in the Multifunctional Administrative City of Korea, also known as Sejong City. Designed by Samoo Architects & Engineers with the motif of a book page being turned over, a simple geometry of a gently curved paper forms the basis of the design and creates a unique outline that is easily recognizable as one of the landmark buildings of the city. As one of the strategies in designing the building, the library was also planned to become an Emotional Library, a place where analogue and digital formats converge for the convenience of the users and to maximize the possibilities of the library.

HyunDai Pavilion Yeosu Expo – 16 Sep 2013
Design: UnSangDong Architects
HyunDai Pavilion Yeosu
image from architect

A really unusual building form – neither rectilinear nor organic, but hovering somewhere in between. The architects state, “The power of actualizing the eternal possibility and the imagination about the nature and the city is appeared in order to express their philosophy and high technology of HyunDai.”

Tower Infinity, Seoul – 12 Sep 2013
Design: GDS Architects
Tower Infinity Seoul
image from architect

GDS Architects is pleased to announce that it’s 450 meter tall Tower Infinity observation tower designed by Charles Wee, has received Permit approval for construction near Incheon International Airport just outside of Seoul, Korea. GDS in collaboration with Samoo Architects and A&U were awarded first prize in a National Design Competition sponsored by Korea Land Housing (LH) to provide Design and Engineering services for the 450 meter tall Observation Tower poised to become Korea’s National Landmark back in April 2011.

Jaehoon’s Jip-Soori (Korean term for revitalization of house), Seoul – 2 Sep 2013
Design: Kim Jae-Kwan, Moohoi Architecture Studio
Jaehoon's Jip-Soori
photo : Young Chae Park

From the old Korean residential zone, it is difficult to find one-story house. But even 42 years ago since this building has been built, there were a lot of one-story house. However, four-story apartment houses, which are also called as ‘multiplex housing’ or ‘multiple dwelling’ occupy most of residential zone. This is because people removed old houses and extended dimensions and then built new houses to make more profits from rent. Therefore the old houses are often surrounded by higher buildings.

Ecorium of the National Ecological Institute, Seocheon, Chungcheongnam-do – 29 Aug 2013
Design: Samoo Architects & Engineers, Grimshaw Architect
Ecorium of the National Ecological Institute South Korea
photo : Young Chae Park

Within the Ecoplex lies the Ecorium, a landmark facility and a purpose-built exhibition facility. Designed by Samoo Architects & Engineers in collaboration with Grimshaw Architects, the Ecorium is composed of various greenhouses and controlled environments in order to reproduce the global ecosystem of five different climatic zones ranging from the tropical to the polar regions. Designed with the concept of ‘Nature’s Odyssey’, the individual climate zones are grouped by a linear podium which also functions as the main exhibition circulation path providing various experiences to visitors.

Buk Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul – 25 Jul 2013
Design: SAMOO Architects & Engineers
Buk Seoul Museum of Art South Korea
photo : Young Chae Park

Like a serene white mass integrated into the hill this new building revitalizes the region which is mostly composed of monotonous high-rises apartments and provides a nature-friendly cultural space in which the green flow of the park integrates with the art museum to become a single entity.

HH Resort Hotel and Spa, Gangneung, South Korea – 25 Jun 2013
Design: Richard Meier & Partners Architects
HH Resort Hotel and Spa South Korea
image from architect

Construction has started on the 150-room HH Resort Hotel and Spa designed by Richard Meier & Partners Architects. The new resort complex at Gangneung, South Korea, will be a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel composed of elegant guestrooms, a world class restaurant and a wellness spa that reflect the local culture, a Banquet Hall, Amphitheater, Exhibition Hall, Beach House and various amenities.

Confucianism and Culture Complex, Andong, South Korea
Design: SAMOO Architects & Engineers
World Confucianism Sunbi Culture Park & Korean Cultural Theme Park South Korea
image from architect

Confucianism and Culture Complex South Korea – 20 Jun 2013
The World Confucianism•Sunbi Culture Park & Korean Cultural Theme Park is a complex designed to become a hub for Confucianism and traditional culture in Korea. Located in Andong of Korea, a place well known for its preservation of traditional core values, the project aims to create a new center that will provide a unique experience for its global visitors. The whole complex consists of two major parks with distinct purposes.

Heaven For Real Church, Daegu
Design: TheeAe LTD.
Daegu Church Building
image from architect

Heaven For Real Church – 18 Jun 2013
The site is located urban area close to the down-town of Daegu, one of the biggest Cities in South Korea. In contrast to its locality, this town is isolated from the major city development. The community gets older, and young couples have been moving out to other towns to provide better education for their children.

Gangnam Style – Chungha Building, Seoul
Design: MVRDV
Chungha Building
photo : ShinkyoungSub
Gangnam Style Seoul – 12 Jun 2013
Just before a Korean pop-song became a global success on YouTube for the first time in history, and Gangnam became world famous as the nouveau riche hangout of the South-Korean capital Seoul, MVRDV was commissioned to redefine a building on Gangnam’s chic Apgujung Road. Even though the Chungha building was completed in the 1980s it was already outdated in a street dominated by flagship stores.

Seoul Recycle Plaza
Architect: Samoo Architects & Engineers
Seoul Recycle Plaza Building
picture from architects

Seoul Recycle Plaza – 30 May 2013
Samoo Architects & Engineers has won the design competition for Seoul Recycle Plaza with the design concept of ‘Story Box’, which aims to promote recycling of goods and the creation of a hub for gathering, processing, and re-marketing of recycled goods.

Kangneung Speed Skating Arena & Sports Complex, Gangwon-do, east coast of South Korea
Architect: Samoo Architects & Engineers
Kangneung Speed Skating Arena & Sports Complex Masterplan
picture from Samoo Architects & Engineers
Kangneung Speed Skating Arena – 27 Mar 2013
Located on a 440,000㎡ site that was once used for garbage disposal, the site is now covered with abundance of pine trees. The main concept of the masterplan was to utilize nature, arena, and the plaza as ‘three layers’ to produce a layout that would communicate and harmonize with the surrounding environment. The masterplan would link the arena with the various sports facilities such as figure/short-track skating arena, ice-hockey arena, and a park that will be located north of the site.

The Presidential Archives Korea in multi-functional Administrative City, South Korea
Architect: Samoo Architects & Engineers, Seoul, Korea South
The Presidential Archives in multi-functional Administrative City
picture from Samoo Architects & Engineers

Presidential Archives Korea – 31 Jan 2013
The Presidential Archive conveys a sense of rigidity and authority due to the seriousness of its purpose. Therefore, the project aimed to be an archive where people could visit comfortably without feeling intimidated. People can enjoy viewing the historical records from nearly a century ago, and experience the history of former Korean presidents by walking along the hills and the waterside park.

H House, Seongbuk-dong, Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
BANG by MIN emerging design group
H House Seoul South Korea
photo : Joonhwan Yoon

New Korean House – 9 Jan 2013
Located at the alley of Seongbuk-dong where community of village has formed for a long time, ‘H-House’ is a house to keep the meaning to show the virtue secretly. This house reveals itself without clumsy and stimulative feeling in the scenery of old alley, suitably for its name.

French Restaurant, Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
BANG by MIN emerging design group
French Restaurant in Gangnam-gu Seoul Korea
image : Choi, Jungwoo

French Restaurant in Seoul – 5 Jul 2012
‘La Ville de Pins’ is a French Restaurant Remodeling project in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, which is the hottest district at metropolitan area in the city of Seoul, Korea. I thought that the conciseness might tell the message more strongly in the age when the extraordinary designs are rampant formatively and visually. Therefore, I designed this space only with white color and shapes of extremely moderated straight line on the whole.

Velo Towers Seoul
Design: Asymptote Architecture
Velo Towers Korea
image © Asymptote Architecture

Velo Towers Seoul – 13 Jun 2012
Asymptote Architecture principals Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture are pleased to announce the launch of the Velo Towers, within the Dreamhub development in the Yongsan District. Asymptote’s building is designed as an integral part of the master plan accommodating several new projects that are situated along the newly planned Yongsan Park.

Kukje Gallery Seoul
Design: SO – IL
Kukje Gallery Building
photograph : Iwan Baan

Kukje Gallery Seoul – 13 Jun 2012
After 3 years of design and construction, SO – IL, the architectural studio of Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu, complete a space for Kukje Gallery, in the historic neighborhood of Samcheong-ro in Seoul, South-Korea. The new building greatly expands the gallery’s programming possibilities with the addition of a 16 x 9 x 6m day lit gallery space, a 60 seat auditorium, offices and art storage spaces.

Diagonal Tower, Seoul
Design: SOM
Diagonal Tower Building
image © SOM/Crystal CG

Diagonal Tower – 1 Jun 2012
A case study in efficiency, SOM’s design of the 343-meter (1,125-foot) tall Diagonal Tower successfully integrates massing, structure, and performance to minimize wind loads, reduce construction costs, provide dramatic views, and meet strict energy codes—all while maintaining an iconic skyline presence.

Archipelago 21 Seoul
Studio Daniel Libeskind
Archipelago 21 Yongsan International Business District
image © © Ray-us corp

Seoul Masterplan – 31 May 2012
Archipelago21 – a masterplan for the major redevelopment for the Yongsan International Business District – dramatically reinvents the landscape of Korea’s historic capital city. This sustainable urban development is made up of over 30 million square feet of built area and will include a new international business district, world-class shopping, residential neighborhoods, cultural institutions, educational facilities and transportation, all sited in a large urban park along the Han River.

Dancing Towers, Yongsan Business District, Seoul
Studio Daniel Libeskind
Dancing Towers Buildings
image © Crystal

Dancing Towers Seoul – 30 May 2012
These Korean skyscraper buildings form a mixed-use development that consists of three 41 story residential towers, (a total of 834 total residential units). The design is “inspired by the traditional Korean Buddhist Dance known as Seung-Moo. The subtle rotation of the towers creates the illusion they are dancing, as inspired by the long sleeves of the Seung-Moo dancer’s traditional costumes, gracefully propelled by the dancer’s movements”.

Harmony Tower, Yongsan Business District, Seoul
Studio Daniel Libeskind
Harmony Tower Seoul Building
image © Crystal

Harmony Tower Seoul – 30 May 2012
This Korean Skyscraper Building is part of the new Yongsan International Business district (YIBD) development in Seoul, is an iconic, 21st century sustainable office tower that is 46 floors. The design for the tower is inspired by YunDeung, traditional Korean paper lanterns. The concept is to create a tower as a faceted lantern, whose multiple planes reflect the sky and the earth and capture the light on its differing angles, creating a glowing gateway and beacon in the YIBD site.

Daeyang Gallery and House, Seoul
Design: Steven Holl Architects
Daeyang Gallery and House Seoul
photograph : Iwan Baan

Daeyang Gallery and House – 29 May 2012
The private gallery and house is sited in the hills of the Kangbuk section of Seoul, Korea. The project was designed as an experiment parallel to a research studio on “the architectonics of music.” The basic geometry of the building is inspired by a 1967 sketch for a music score by the composer Istvan Anhalt, “Symphony of Modules,” which was discovered in a book by John Cage titled “Notations.” Three pavilions; one for entry, one residence, and one event space, appear to push upward from a continuous gallery level below.

Yongsan Tower Building, Seoul
Yongsan Tower Building
image : Luxigon

Yongsan Tower Building – 17 May 2012
Another intriguing building located in the Yongsan International Business District, alongside a series of major new buildings designed by world-famous architects. The building forms a gateway to YIBD from Hangang-ro.

South Korea Building – Recent Designs

The Blade, Seoul
Dominique Perrault Architecture
The Blade Seoul
image : 2012 © Luxigon / DPA / Adagp

The Blade Seoul
Dominique Perrault has been selected to build a tower within the future Yongsan International Business Center in Seoul, whose masterplan was designed by Daniel Libeskind. “It is not a square or a round building, but a rhomboid prism, arranged in a way that makes it look different depending on the angle of approach. Inspired by its slender shape and sharp edges, the tower has been named The Blade”.

Cross Towers, Seoul
Cross Towers Seoul
image : MIR

Cross Towers Seoul – 3 May 2012
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. 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.

Busan Opera House
various architects
Busan Opera House design
picture : Matteo Cainer Architects Ltd

Korean Opera House Design + Korean Opera House Architecture Contest
Busan is the fifth largest port of the world. The Busan Opera House is located in the Busan North Port development area. This zone is home to a cultural complex department, museums, a maritime culture center, a cruise center, waterfront causeway, public parks, an opera, a theater and a business district.

South Korea Office Buildings

Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea : International Design Competition

Korea Buildings

Major South Korean Buildings, alphabetical:

Asian Culture Complex, Gwangju
Kyu Sung Woo Architects
Asian Culture Complex Korea
picture from SGLA

Asian Culture Complex Korea
Busan Cinema Center, Busan
Coop Himmelb(l)au Architects
Busan Cinema Center
image ©, Vienna

Busan Cinema Center : Architecture contest
Busan World Business Centre
UNStudio Architects
Busan building
image : UNStudio 2007

Korean building
Dalki Theme Park + Shop, Heyri
Dalki Theme Park
photograph : Yong Kwan Kim

Dalki Theme Park
Dancing Dragons, Yongsan, Seoul
Dancing Dragons Seoul
image © AS+GG

Dancing Dragons Seoul
Digital Media City Landmark Tower, Seoul
Digital Media City Landmark Tower
image from architect

Digital Media City Landmark Tower
Element House, Anyang
Rintala Eggertsson Architects
Element House
photo : Park Wan Soon

Element House
Galleria Hall West, Seoul
Seoul building
photo : Seoul building, UNStudio 2007

Seoul building
Jeongok Prehistory Museum
Jeongok Prehistory Museum South Korea
photo from architect

Jeongok Prehistory Museum
La Maison Hermès Dosan Park, Seoul
La Maison Hermès Dosan Park Seoul
picture © Masao Nishikawa

La Maison Hermès Dosan Park Seoul
Gwanggyo City Centre Competition
Gwanggyo Competition
image from MVRDV

Gwanggyo Competition, near Seoul
Songdo Convensia, Incheon
Songdo Convention Center
photo : JaeSungE

Songdo Convensia
Universite Feminine d’Ewha, Seoul
Dominique Perrault
Seoul architecture
image from Dominique Perrault

South Korea building
The Yellow Diamond, Seoul
Jun Mitsui & Associates + Unsangdong
The Yellow Diamond
photo : E-Jae-seong, Shinkenchiku

The Yellow Diamond

More South Korean Architecture projects online soon

Location:South Korea

Incheon Urban Design Competition : Incheon Metropolitan City, 2009
Incheon Metropolitan City
picture from organiser

Garak Market Development, Seoul

Japanese Buildings

Chinese Buildings

South Korea Architecture Competition

Buildings / photos for the South Korean Architecture page welcome

South Korea Buildings