The Editor's Pick: Architecture: Velo Towers, Asymptote

Recently The Yongsan International Business District proposals have been revealed with various approach in terms of skyscrapers. I have already written on BIG's Yongsan Towers proposal in a previous post. Another two-in-one tower has been unveiled today; Asymptote recently revealed its Velo Towers proposal. Yongsan is geographically situated in the center of Seoul, South Korea, with an area of 21.87 sq km (8.44 sq mi), a population of 227,400 and a density of 10,000/sq km (27,000/sq mi).
Velo Towers, Yongsan International Business District, Seoul, South Korea
© Asymptote Architecture

Many blogs have noticed the singularity of this tower in form in comparison with the other proposals… except that of BIG — a pair of towers, too —, similar, not in form, but strategically. This strategy can be explained given regulations in Seoul known to be very strict. If so, the treatment of BIG's and Asymptote's parcels require specific solutions, at least different than proposals of SOM, Kohn Pedersen Fox associatesREX, Dominique Perrault Architecture, Tange Associates, among others.
Velo Towers - Exterior of ground level, © Asymptote Architecture

Suggested articles: Architecture: BIG Unveiling plans for Yongsan International Business District, Seoul, ULGC.
also: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates: Yongsan International Business District - Block H, Designboom.
Yongsan International Business District 'Project 6'/REX, archdaily.
The Blade | Dominique Perrault Architecture, archdaily.
Pentominium | Murphy/Jahn, archdaily.
YIBD Block C1-20 | Tange Associates, archdaily.

I am particularly curious about the choice for such a design — I was curious about BIG's design strategy, too. First in Asymptote's Velo Tower, bridges are used as connectors in a similar strategy as in BIG's Yongsan Towers. Here is my point of view. The highly, densely concentration of high-rise buildings in the center of global cities may make centers vulnerable to disruptions in terms of quality of life, work and leisure; these include air, views and natural light.
Velo Towers - Faceted facade, © Asymptote Architecture

These elements are essential in terms of making place attractive in comparison with other places — this means a high competition between places within cities at various scales. For example, central Seoul is known for its scarcity of land due to high concentration of human activities.
Velo Towers - Entrance to lobby © Asymptote Architecture

Recent urban developments on the center may affect not only the quality of existing places — living conditions, health, jobs, leisure, as well as people as places and people interact. Hence, the inclusion of placemaking as tools in architects' projects now becoming a norm.
Velo Towers - site model, © Asymptote Architecture.
Note BIG's Yongsan Towers on the left.
As cities have become more powerful economic actors in the world economy, architects must develop more intuitive and efficient strategies, design tools, and architectonic and construction systems that promote attractive, safety, community vitality and economic growth.
Velo Towers - Sky bridge, © Asymptote Architecture
In this context the concept of 'smarter growth' and the redefinition of 'placemaking' have captured the imagination of architects as new opportunities to re-interrogate, if not to break down, the conventional typology of skyscrapers.
Velo Towers - Sketch, © Asymptote Architecture

Place and people mix seamlessly — we now work, live and play in the same place. In this context, these two towers — BIG's Yongsan Towers and Asymptote's Velo Towers — illustrate shifts in architects' research that include placemaking as aforementioned.
Velo Towers - Elevation, © Asymptote Architecture
Velo Towers - level 23-27 © Asymptote Architecture

Back to the Velo Towers. One my have noticed a similarity in the treatment of the pair of towers in BIG's Yongsan Towers and Asymptote's Velo Towers: multi-use bridges as connectors as well as courtyards on top. The first bridge on the ground has a large cut-out section at the center that allows for diffusion of natural light and air as multiple direction; the inclusion of green features as a programmatic strategy.
Velo Towers - Section, © Asymptote Architecture

Then, not only does the rotation create voids between each volume maximizing views, light and air, but also it facilitates the inclusion of terraces with green features making these surfaces accessible to users. On the ground, a park, designed with the same ambitions as the tower, surrounds the skyscraper.
Velo Towers - Diagram, © Asymptote Architecture

Building fact

Project: Velo Towers, Yongsan International Business District
Architects: Asymptote Architecture
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Status: Competition, 2012

Source and images originally appeared on designboom.

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