Designs revealed for Seoul Valley development

3 December 2020
  • Henning Larsen
  • Henning Larsen


South Korea

Henning Larsen reintegrate long-empty site into city centre

Henning Larsen has released images of the firm’s design for Seoul Valley, a 360,600 sqm development located in the heart of Seoul. The design challenge was to reintegrate the long-empty site back into the city by merging office, retail, hotel and residential facilities within an extensive public podium intended to renew urban life.

Infrastructural barriers have long isolated the site from its surroundings, which is sandwiched between the sprawling rail yards of Seoul Station and an eight-lane freeway. “For well over a decade, Seoul has been actively working to revitalise its urban fabric, focusing on the spaces between buildings and the pedestrian links," explains Jacob Kurek, Partner at Henning Larsen. "Seoul Valley fits into that vision, promising to bring public life back to the centre not just through shops and amenities, but through a design that focuses on public comfort, greenery, and local tradition.”

The Valley's three large towers subdivide into smaller masses to reduce the sense of scale and create community between the spaces at ground level, where gardens, terraces, and courtyards run between the shops, cafes, and restaurants. “By dissolving the scale at the public levels, we not only make it feel more liveable, but nod towards the beautiful structures of old Seoul," says Kurek. "Our hope is for Seoul Valley to become a home to not just high-end shops but also craftsmen and artisans.”

Seoul Valley employs an ‘inside out’ retail scheme that prioritises visitor experience over commercial frontage. In particular, the Valley acts as an urban shortcut between the main station, Seoullo 7017 Skygarden and Seosomun Park. This outdoor passage allows access to restaurants and views into the shopping areas, attracting passersby who were not necessarily interested in or planning to enter a mall. “As an industry, we’ve known for a long time the benefits of daylight, exterior views, greenery…but such benefits are often pushed to the side in favor of maximizing frontage in commercial design,” explains Kurek. “Shopping in the future won’t necessarily be about coming out of the shop with a bag, so our goal with Seoul Valley was to have both.”

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

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