December 19, 2008 It looks like a cross between an ancient Mayan citadel and a far-off space port where Han Solo would happily dock the Falcon, but the Gwanggyo Power Centre is actually an award winning design for a self-sustaining city that is moving towards reality in Korea. Consisting of a series of circular, terraced buildings that appear as hills covered in greenery, the project will be located in a forested area 35km south of Seoul and will incorporate a mix of public amenities, retail, housing, office and parking space.
Designed by Dutch architecture firm MVDRV, the planned high-density town or "Power-center" will support 77,000 inhabitants will act as a central node with a view to encouraging further developments in the area, an approach used extensively in Korean town planning in recent times.
As well as bringing a dose of outdoor living to the urban high-density environment, the vertical terrace gardens are designed to improve climate and ventilation and will feature a centralized irrigation system. Inside the "hills", hollow cores form atriums linked by voids which provide natural light and ventilation, and on lower floors, public spaces connect the atriums and link the towers.
Overall, the mixed-usage space provided by the design will include 200,00m2 of housing, the same for a mix of culture, retail, leisure and education, 48,000m2 of office space and 200,00m2 for parking.
The concept design from MVDRV (derived from the names of its three founders and principal architects, Winy Maas, Jacobvan Rijs and Nathalie de Vries) was selected as the winner of the developers competition for the Gwanggyo Power Centre earlier this month. The budget and timeframe is not yet not finalized, but a concept plan and feasibility study by the Gyeonggi provincial authority’s Urban Innovation Corporation is expected to be completed in 2011. A consortium lead by Daewoo will develop the project.