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Unveiled> Lotte Super Tower
KPF-designed tower would be third tallest in the world
The 1,820-foot-tall Lotte Super Tower, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, will be one of the tallest buildings in the world when completed.
Courtesy KPF
The tower's profile is inspired by ancient korean caligraphy.

Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox
Client: Lotte Group
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Completion: 2014

The Lotte Group, an Asian conglomerate based in South Korea, has begun construction on what will be the tallest building in the Far East and the third tallest in the world after the Burj Dubai and the Abraj Al Bait Towers in Saudi Arabia. The 123-floor Lotte Super Tower will stand 1,820 feet tall and will encompass a diverse program that includes 3.5 million square feet of retail, office, residential, and hotel space. The top of the tower will house a public observation deck.

While the commission originally went to SOM, which produced a design for the tower, the job is now in the hands of Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF). The client gave the designers one directive: Make some reference to Korean culture. The architects looked to the nation’s arts, specifically its calligraphy, abstracting the smooth curves of the characters into the tower’s gently tapering and symmetrically bisected form. The curtain-wall system, which will feature high-performance, low-e coated glass, includes vertical fins that run the height of the tower. Situated every three meters, or every other wall panel, the extruded aluminum fins taper along with the building from 800 millimeters deep down to 400 millimeters deep, providing substantial sun shading along the way.

While the superstructure has yet to be finalized, the current design proposes a hybrid system of steel and concrete. KPF is also investigating renewable energy features, including a wind turbine at the top of the building and a plan to harvest cooking oil to use as biodiesel.

A version of this article appeared in AN 19_11.18.2009.

Aaron Seward