An architectural landscape that incorporates historic features into its design to add to the vitality of the city. 

The Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) has been designed as a cultural hub at the centre of Dongdaemun, Korea, a historic district of Seoul that is now renowned for its 24-hour shopping and cafés. DDP is a catalyst for the instigation and exchange of ideas and for new technologies and media to be explored.

The variety of public spaces within DDP include exhibition halls, convention halls, a design museum, laboratory and archives, children’s education centre, media centre, seminar rooms and a sky lounge; all of which enable DDP to present the widest diversity of exhibitions and events that feed the cultural vitality of the city.

It is also an architectural landscape that revolves around the ancient city wall and cultural artefacts discovered during archaeological excavations preceding DDP’s construction. These historic features form the central element of DDP’s composition; linking the park, plaza and city together.

The design is as a result of how the context, local culture, programmatic requirements and innovative engineering come together, which allow the architecture, city and landscape to combine in both form and spatial experience – creating a whole new civic space for the city.

In turn, the DDP Park encourages leisure, relaxation and refuge – a new green oasis within the busy urban surroundings of Dongdaemun. To achieve this, the design integrates the park and plaza seamlessly as one, blurring the boundary between architecture and nature in a continuous, fluid landscape. Voids in the park’s surface offers visitors a glimpse into the innovative world of design below, highlighting the DDP as an important link between the city’s contemporary culture, emerging nature and history.

The 30 000 square meter park reinterprets the spatial concepts of traditional Korean garden design: layering, horizontality, blurring the relationship between the interior and the exterior – with no single feature dominating the perspective.

Many contributions and innovations are encouraged to feed into each other through the DDP; engaging the community and allowing talents and ideas to flourish. In combination with the city’s exciting public cultural programs, DDP is an investment in the education and inspiration of future generations.

DDP’s unique design and construction sets many new standards of innovation such as making it the first public project in Korea to implement advanced 3D digital construction services that ensure the highest quality and cost controls. These include 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) for construction management and engineering coordination, enabling the design process to adapt with the client’s evolving brief and integrate all engineering requirements. These innovations have enabled the team building DDP to control the construction with much greater precision than conventional processes and to improve efficiencies. Implementing such construction technologies make DDP one of Korea’s most innovative and technological advanced constructions to date.