Annals Of Architecture

Sometimes technology leaves me speechless. Look at the HashTag Towers project in Seoul, Korea. And ask yourself, “What Ever Happened To American Ingenuity?
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Cross # Towers by BIG

3 May 2012

Cross Towers by BIG

Danish architects BIG have designed a towering apartment block for Seoul that will be shaped like a hashtag.

Cross Towers by BIG

Height restrictions prevented the architects from planning taller buildings, which is why they added the two bridging blocks to their proposals.

Cross Towers by BIG

The towers will be located in the Yongsan International Business District, which was masterplanned by New York architects Studio Libeskind, and will provide over 600 apartments, as well as a library, a kindergarten and a gallery space.

Cross Towers by BIG

Roof gardens for residents will cover the surface of both the bridging blocks and a submerged courtyard will be provided below ground level.

Cross Towers by BIG

The buildings are planned just around the corner from a pair of towers designed by MVRDV, which caused a stir a few months ago due to their resemblance to the exploding World Trade Centre on 9/11. See images of that project here.

Cross Towers by BIG

See more projects by BIG here, including their recent proposals for a 150-metre-high skyscraper in Vancouver.

Cross Towers by BIG

More details from the architects are provided below:


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.

Cross Towers by BIG

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. BIG was selected to submit a design proposal for Yongsan International Business District among 19 international offices, including SOM, Dominique Perrault, REX and MVRDV.

Cross Towers by BIG

The 21 000 m2 site is positioned next to the existing urban fabric in the future development zones of the Yongsan master plan. BIG’s design includes two elegant towers with a height of 214 and 204m. To meet the height requirements of the site, the exceeding building mass is transformed into an upper and lower horizontal bar, which bridge the two towers at 140m and 70 m height. The two towers are additionally connected through the arrival bar at the ground level – and a courtyard below ground.

Cross Towers by BIG

“The Cross # Towers constitute a three-dimensional urban community of interlocking horizontal and vertical towers. Three public bridges connect two slender towers at different levels – underground, at the street and in the sky. Catering to the demands and desires of different residents, age groups and cultures the bridges are landscaped and equipped for a variety of activities traditionally restricted to the ground. The resultant volume forms a distinct figure on the new skyline of Seoul – a “#” that serves as a gateway to the new Yongsan Business District signaling a radical departure from the crude repetition of disconnected towers towards a new urban community that populates the three-dimensional space of the city.” Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner, BIG.

Cross Towers by BIG

Both the upper and lower bridge introduce rooftop sky gardens accessible to residents, allowing for outdoor activities, while a courtyard at the heart of the development is an integral part of the overall architectural design.

Cross Towers by BIG

Dramatic views towards the neighboring towers and visual connections across the courtyard from the retail zone create an exciting space for the residents and visitors.

Cross Towers by BIG

The outdoor landscape is envisioned to draw from the charm of traditional courtyards combined with the modernity of the project.

Cross Towers by BIG

Pedestrians at the arrival deck which connects the towers at ground level can enjoy impressive views to the bridges above and to the submerged courtyard below.

Cross Towers by BIG

“The typical tower inherently removes life from the city it occupies. Circulation is linear and social interactions occur only in lobbies or awkward elevator rides. We propose a building that triples the amount of ground floor – triples the amount of social interaction and reintroduces the idea of neighborhood within the tower complex.”, Thomas Christoffersen, Partner in Charge, BIG.

Cross Towers by BIG

The development will offer over 600 high-end residences and amenities, including a library, gallery space and a kindergarten. BIG’s design ensures that the tower apartments have optimal conditions towards sun and views.

Cross Towers by BIG

The bar units are given value through their spectacular views and direct access to the roofscapes, activating the outdoor realm. The exterior facades are developed to correspond to the different orientations and solar conditions, creating a diverse façade which varies from the viewer’s vantage point and the position of the sun.

Cross Towers by BIG

See also:


31 thoughts on “Annals Of Architecture

  1. Damn… and I thought artspeak was ugly…. archspeak is hideous!

    There’s a lot going on here… most of all, at core it’s a spectacularly ugly building. BIG is getting too big for its, um… britches (apparently, that IS a Danish word… go figure).

    Take a good look at the graphic image of the little Korean kids playing on one of the rooftop green areas (daycare?)… of note: one modern Korean kid is hoop rolling (gee, really ?), & why are both boys chubby? Is this Danish humour?

    Google “BIG Beach and Howe” to see an intriguing – if not anxiety provoking – twisted tower BIG are designing in my town… we’re talking about an earthquake prone city on the Pacific Rim earthquake zone… yowzers! Note that the tower is slimmer at ground level, and plumper as it rises up. Not much different from a squarish baseball bat -yet another phallic symbol… oh you boys… oh you Danish boys!

    1. Ugly? YES!! But impressive in its own way. I was looking over the DEZEEN web-site… … …no people, just automatons, robots in post-apocalyptic landscapes. Is this the future?

      Where are the gardens, the forests, the farms? Intellectuals on the right, troglodytes on the left. Ready… … …MARCH!!

      H.G.Wells’s climax… … …”turn-about is fair play”.

      Those children on the rooftops… … …What’s happening 100 stories below? Homelessness? Plague? Riot?

      I wonder about people who dream for eternal life. Not for me. As the poles drift further and further apart, what happens in the middle?

      Blade Runner, Redux?

      —– —– —–

      Look mom, I’m a pessimist!!


  2. YES.

    That’s the overall feeling I got as well. Where are the people & the people places? Ok, so these are pie in the sky (!) architectural renditions, but they’re so so COLD and mechanistic. So yes, Blade Runner, Redux. Check out any architectural site and the same theme plays… over and over.

    What I sense is that the continuing isolation of people via social media is manifesting itself architecturally.

    I’m very much afraid that for global design firms the financial success (and visual nightmare) that is the latest Dubai & Quatar architecture has also developed into THE trend in contemporary architecture… BiNoTaFa… billionaire no taste fantasies. UGH. I’m guessing that architectural firms are catering to the rare paying customers & corporations (the uber rich) out there who don’t seem to be affected by these difficult $$$ times.
    Keep in mind that, by and large, 80’s corporate architecture is (unfortunately) very recognizable, very cold, and very very ugly… again, “$$$-dictated” style. You’d think they learned…

    Only an optimist could recognize and communicate what you’re seeing,.. so pessimist…? Nah!

    1. Now that we’re talking about it, I’m going to research this trend… … …which I’ll call… … …what should we call it? Future Alternatives? Give it a name that invokes the “future” but keeps “sustainability”, the “rural values”.

      “Rural Values” [or whatever] meaning not the religious right, but [its so hard to say in non-political terminology] just [the term is so general, so overused; but somethings are just…] …”TRUE.

      Good-faithed marital fidelity. Community control of resources. Etc.

      “Look at me, Ma,” he said, laughingly. “I’m a politician”

      Some conservatives are necessary to astound the Occupy crowd. Economic conservatives. You’re probably NOT in agreement with me on this, [you Communistic artists and photographers!!!] but I believe there is VALUE in tradition. Just that “Tradition” must include every one’s tradition. I bet even a trans-gendered couple, where the “man” became a woman and the “woman” became a man, still want FIDELITY. Still want to shop in a coop grocery.

      But this was supposed to be a rant-free zone.

      So let the political barbs fly. My two liberal daughters still love their conservative father.


      1. And well they should… your lucky daughters, that is.

        Future Alternatives… bravo… and let it begin here!

        And so… the Greyhairs Rrrrevolution of the early 21st c. begins! We’ll call it GRrrrr… kinda apropos, don’t you think? In a historical sense, we’ve actually been set up to make the next great human step forward happen.

        I learned a significant thing when my son was a baby… when he’d have a “bad” day… crying, fussing, not willing to nap or refusing to eat, etc… that was the sign to me that he was at the cusp of a big personal physical or psychological change. And, wouldn’t you know it… next day he was back to his cheerful self; but with a new tooth, or suddenly speaking his first word, or actually crawling across the room!

        Now, on a larger perspective, I see that also happens in the lives of the adults around me, in the ebb and flow of my country’s politics, the shifts in global humanitarianism, etc, etc. And as each change builds then stalls then breaks through to manifest in this world, I see each one goes thru the same cycle of “bad” days/behaviour to sudden clarity, forward movement and a certain state of grace, of peace. Proportionately, at a global scale, for positive change to occur it takes great amounts of time, money and cannon fodder… re, Syria.

        We’re not on opposing sides here…. I feel we’re dancing more around the centre than we realize.

        So… tell me more about economic conservatism.

        Now, you say Communistic?… na ah. If you know my background, you know this is NOT so. Soft socialist… aka Scandinavian style… that’s more like it. Passionate energetic discussions about the left/right extremes… yes. Parental dictatorial directives are still being attempted, but mostly ignored and recognized as a an expression of a fear -filled ego. We aim for deeper communication.

        Tried to stay away from rants… but… you know… meh!

      2. Check out the “EKOSTORIES” on wordpress which I just found. Same concerns, I think.

        If you’re a communist, then I’m a Baptist fundamentalist.

        See ya!!!


      3. 1 – ekostories – may 9, 2012

        2 – ADDENDUM: How about “GreyHairs Grrrevolution” Grr back atcha!!

        3 – See the below posts on architecture.

  3. Hee hee… oh yes… GreyHairs Grrrevolution it is!

    MediaCity 2010… dense, dense, dense…. with a few exciting treasures like The Mythological City p 285…. and Vegetal City illustration pg 460-61. Can you tell my forte is visuals?!

    Ekostories… niiiice find TD. Especially since he’s local to me, AND wrote about my favourite
    place at my alma mater, the Nitobe Gardens @ UBC. I had to leave a comment…

    I guess the large picture for me is a basic disinterest in generic large commercial/residential architecture.
    What does turn me on is: innovation in large architecture (like the new Seattle library), blueprints, and esp small or tiny housing on freaky-weirdly shaped lots in really odd places,and the stunning innovations that it takes to create a jewel of a home out of all that… NO boxes on a hillside made of ticky-tacky… ha ha!

    Having said that, I am very concerned about the LACK of public spaces that are full of nature. Trees, grass, corn, water, etc is IMPERATIVE as an antidote to soul deadening urban concrete/pavement deserts. And always always always… lots of public art (which doesn’t mean the standard “Ode to Aluminum” crap either).

    It’s too easy to get discouraged… I do this all the time. You’re right… a little research online can be very rewarding!

    Still and all….archispeak,,,, yetch!

    1. I AM NOT COOL!!! [heh heh] How dare you. Don’t you see me in my warrior custom so I can hide from the heathen hordes?? Aren’t you afraid of me??

      Please mommy, I’m so a’scared!!


      1. Oh right… forgot I’m afraid of you.

        Warrior (I envision you as Don Quixote)… and who are your ‘heathen hordes’? Boredom? Middle aged manga “girls”? Reality tv? Those Kardashians?
        Danish architects?
        Awwww… who would be afraid of Don Quixote?
        Seriously though… I really am afraid of you… and bonus points for creeping me out too.

        Re-discovered Amy X Neuberg tonight… love her song Shrapnel.
        ” …an emotionally affecting examination on the ineffectual attempts to sweep away tenacious doubts and regrets.”
        Even relaxing listening is cerebral for this gal… ha ha!


  4. When it comes to music, it’s always CBC2 radio 10-12 at night, “The Signal” with Laurie Brown. Reminds me of nights at the cottage in the Laurentians… in bed after lights out undr the covers surreptitiously trying to pick up the signal of an American station for the cool music… Detroit, NYC…
    For an audio taste of the playlist, click the Audio tab, and then click on the playlists.
    So, now I’ve crossed the threshold into pusher. You’ll get hooked.

    And yes, this photo is quite extraordinary. Nicely composed and thought out.


    1. gothcha! Like

      I want to put a photo of myself on my blog. Here’s the set-up… … …I”m wearing cargo shorts… … no shoes,so shirt,… … …standing, unsteadily, on my “StrongArm” cane, a bit hunched over as I do because standing makes me dizzy… … …with a vacant, but determined face… … …just there. My edema prone legs exposed, my heel bandaged Old, tired, and appreciative.

      Wadda think?. … …

  5. Love your contrariness!

    Curmudgeons unite! Babies are “fussy”, women are “difficult” or a “cunt / bitch” , men are “jerks / arrogant assholes”, etc, etc. But us old folks have our own word…. curmudgeon.
    No offense intended… wink, wink.

    — btw… spell check on the blog doesn’t recognize cunt… oh you poor geeky boys!


      1. I so miss George… took my son to see him for his 16th birthday… in between rocking with laughter, Max would look at me sideways… like, “… my Mom loves this cool dude too?” I think that’s the moment it clicked for him that I was a human being, not just the same old parental unit.

    1. mixed feelings about this. As a computer person you probably know all the pro and cons of each side. I’m scared. But laws and rights are constantly evolving. One can only hope. Another evolutionary change. Hopefully NOT a revolutionary one.

      1. The first time I heard the term “Homeland Security” out of George W’s mouth I experienced such a cold shiver up my spine. Along with that shiver, the first thought that popped into my brain was “gestapo”. Some of what I’m seeing/hearing happening down there (I listen to NPR all day at work… ok, ok, it’s not perfect, but it IS American news media) can be very scary for us nice & diligent little beavers up north. Most of us have relatives/friends living south of the 60th.

        Ok, so we have a different perspective living in Canada. We know way more about America than you guys will ever know about us. Fair enough since there’s 10x as many people in the US than in Canada (320 million vs 34 million).

        As Pierre Trudeau said, “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”

        Since 9-11, the often repeated official excuse/reason, “to curb terrorism” , seems to be used to effectively eke away more and more public freedoms from US citizens… esp privacy – in barely noticed increments – day by day by day. I lately get the feeling the citizens of America are the proverbial mouse swimming nonchalantly in the sauce-pot water, while the heat slowly rises to boiling.

        My spidey sense is up full tilt.

        Just saying…

  6. Interesting dialogue there, boys! But back to the architecture – why always straight lines and no curves? If they want to create a building shaped like a typographical symbol, what about an ampersand & – or is that too unstable?

      1. Seems a house can be any shape if you have the wherewithal and a clever architect! I know that little house between the rocks in France very well, and one that isn’t in this collection is a house shaped like a clumsily made snowball near Geneva, Switzerland. Couldn’t find it on Google so perhaps it’s been demolished. I also once visited a house that revolved like a sunflower.

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