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A FREE-FLOWING RHYTHM

by Suzanne Miao on Jun 17, 2013 in Architecture
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Launched last October in downtown Seoul, the newest Jerde Place project, Mecenatpolis, provides an integrated mixed-use, open-air retail and cultural park for the neighbourhood of Hapjeong

Located in the evolving Hapjeong neighborhood in downtown Seoul, adjacent to the Hapjeong train station, Mecenatpolis is a transit-oriented destination inspired by the elegant form and curve of a natural canyon.

Developed by GS Engineering & Construction Corp, Sejin, the 295,615 sq-m development features three high-rise luxury residential towers and one high-rise class-A office tower (all executed by local Korea firm Eawes) above an open-air mixed-use public realm designed by The Jerde Partnership, replete with retail, dining and vibrant communal spaces.

Based in Los Angeles and headed by founder Jon A. Jerde, one of the judges at the Perspective Awards 2013, the firm is known for integrating local culture and organic public spaces to create popular destinations that attract millions of visitors annually. “We were very thoughtful during the design process about how to successfully integrate the project into the existing urban fabric,” says Eduardo Lopez, Jerde senior design principal.

“The organic design evolved by reinforcing key connections through the site from the station to the surrounding neighbourhoods, creating a fluid pedestrian experience within the retail, while making the best use of the location in this emerging neighbourhood and next to one of Seoul’s busiest transportation hubs.”

The open-air village comprises nearly 90,000 sq-m of retail and dining, as well as an events auditorium and public park. Terraced balconies, glass bridges, landscaped roof gardens, water features and a grand central plaza all reinforce the idea of a fluid and choreographed circulation system at the core of the retail complex.

The free-flowing rhythm incorporates the region’s age-old concept of a ‘unified well’ to shape the main central plaza that is Mecenatpolis’ core gathering area, which showcases an active water feature and an abundance of open-air public space and restaurant seating areas, designed to draw people inward. A multi-purpose hall, designed as an iconic lantern piece with beautiful wood panelling, sits adjacent to the cultural park, where sculptures from local students will be displayed.

The organic design of the Mecenatpolis complex evolved by reinforcing key connections through the site from the station to the surrounding neighbourhoods, creating a smooth pedestrian experience within the retail, while making the best use of its location in an emerging neighbourhood next to one of Seoul’s busiest transportation hubs. The high-rise towers include more than 160,000 sq-m of luxury housing units and nearly 50,000 sq-m of creative office space.

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