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Yongsan International Business District

An international 3-stage competition among select invited teams was an opportunity to create a new international business district along the Han River in Seoul. This district will include offices, malls, hotels and apartments that will become a signature district of Korea. The public plazas of Yongsan will draw from the tradition of the square or piazza, where architecture is used to define and animate flexible central spaces for meeting, markets and celebration. These open and flexible spaces are needed to anticipate and accommodate a variety of events and exhibitions. Critical to the success of these spaces is the clear visibility along the streetscape that draws people in to the plaza’s internal attractions. The kit of landscape elements used in various combinations to activate the plazas of Yongsan include gardens, pedestrian retail promenades, dynamic water features and sculpture, pop-up branding retail pavilions, interactive multi-media features, multi-level lighting, distinctive paving, and a variety of seating in sun and shade including movable chairs and benches. This project was created as part of a collaborative team at Thomas Balsley Associates, in tandem with Field Operations and SOM; all images are courtesy Thomas Balsley Associates.