South Korea’s Disturbing Plans for Capital City Twin Towers

Plenty of blogs, tweets, and news sources are still buzzing about the death of Kim Jong Il, and what it means for the future of our country’s already fragile relations with North Korea. But we’re still picking our jaws up off the ground after reading this news regarding their neighbors to the South, released just a week before the timely demise of the “fearless leader”…

The image below is the proposed building design for two connected luxury residential high-rises to be constructed in the business district of South Korea’s capital city, Seoul– A 260 meter tall tower and a 300 meter tall tower, connected by a “pixelated cloud” of additional program offering amenities and outside spaces with wide views. However, as you may have noticed by now, it bears a distinct resemblance to the World Trade Center’s twin towers after the attacks of 9/11, with the aforementioned “cloud” structure seemingly mimicking the explosion of smoke and debris that occurred as the towers collapsed.

But this story gets even more eerie. As source Talkitect points out:

“The two towers are positioned at the entrance of the Yongsan Dreamhub project, a master plan designed by Studio Libeskind, extending the business district of the South Korean capital Seoul.” You may remember that Daniel Libeskind designed the original “Freedom Tower” plan but then it was scrapped because power players hated it (there was lots of drama). Libeskind is still credited with the WTC Master Plan—really, it’s even on the Studio Libeskind website…”

So is this Daniel Libskind’s ultimate middle-finger to his former employer? …Or merely a cross-culture architectural abomination lost in translation? Why on Earth would the city of Seoul, or government of South Korea want to convey this kind of attitude toward the United States, who have a long relationship of protecting the country from Northern oppression and attacks? Perhaps we should point the blame at Dutch architecture firm MVRDV, who contributed the above design to Libeskind’s Yongsan Dreamhub master plan.

A quick glance at the comments on Gawker proves that many are surprisingly willing to look beyond the similarities and actually approve of the buildings from a design standpoint. But whether an intentional “tribute” or just a disturbing cultural faux-paus, we’re willing to bet this building plan never sees the light of day. Instead, let it serve as a perfect classroom example for architecture students of when bold design choices DO NOT outweigh practical thinking.

Sources: Gothamist / Gawker / Talkitect