A vertical City with a green Glow

A vertical City with a green Glow

Gwanggyo Power Center

The Dutch firm MVRDV creates a vertical city with green terraces and intends to solve the problem of densely populated cities this way.

South Korea has problems with its urban agglomeration. The country doesn’t know where to put all its citizens. New concepts and designs are supposed to solve the issue of urban density, especially in Seoul. Here, people focus on vertical building with mixed usages. So-called Power Centers integrate public life with private life, meaning the stacking or sequencing of shopping, culture and leisure time next to residing, working and education.

The Dimensions

The MVRDV architects promise pragmatic diversity. With the design of the Gwanggyo Power Center the Dutch team of architects has won the design competition on creating a new small town in 2008. 35 km South of Seoul this new town is planned to be erected for about 77,000 inhabitants.

From afar, Gwanggyo Power Center rather reminds of a green hilly landscape than of a highly complex town construction. Inside the green, hill-shaped high-rises, 200,000 sqm are planned for residential areas, 48,000 sqm for offices, 200,000 sqm will be available for parks.

The Peculiarity

Ring-shaped elements are stacked on top of each other, ending in pointy towers of various heights. The five highest of them will be used as living quarters, while the other usages are spread across the remaining six towers. The individual towers are connected with each other through a common floor area. This is supposed to increase the visual connection between the buildings, strengthening the feeling of togetherness among people.

By pushing in the outer walls on the rings each floor has outdoor areas or terraces. These terraces are framed by plants which are responsible for the green appearance of the towers. Rows of hedges planted in pots are planned, completely surrounding each floor.

The watering of the plants is supposed to happen in a sustainable manner and in a way that makes sense from an energetic point of view, something the terracing of the individual floors contribute to. Surplus water of the upper floor plants trickle right down to the plants on the next lower floor. An additional retention system in the form of a lake which is planned to be fed by surplus rain water is supposed to contribute to sustainability. Glass façades guarantee an optimal use of sunlight and will help saving energy.

Cut-outs in the oversized hills create an atrium situation here and there. This way, small public squares and halls appear in between for culture and leisure time. These atriums will also be advantageous to those inhabitants who have the necessary change for a loft.

Just a nice Idea or a realistic Project?

The idea of the vertical city by MVRDV as a solution for densely populated places of this world has its supporters. The green layout of a city is definitely an impressive and fascinating image and can loosen up the city structure. To which extent the low hedges influence the climate and the ventilation of the complex still needs to be tested.

The design of Gwanggyo Power Center has been handed over to Seoul’s local authorities and is planned to be thought through and completed by the end of 2011. We are eager to see about the impact the green hilly landscape by MVRDV will have on the cities of the future.

Project details




Design: 2008


for 77,000 inhabitants


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billmarket17's picture
billmarket17 28. November 2014 - 18:25

This is an awesome project. Every apartment owner could be a gardener. Even more, if some of them wants to have more than a garden in his backyard or balcony, then he should resort to an outdoor designer, like this landscape architect in Jacksonville, FL to help him to create a unique landscape.

anniepark1's picture
anniepark1 5. December 2014 - 15:38

It would be spectacular and fascinating for us to be able to build such cities. This project looks like a city of the future and hopefully we'll see it for real soon.

anniepark1's picture
anniepark1 5. December 2014 - 15:44

It's an ambitious project and we will see more of that in the future. It's also a sustainable city, however, carrying for so much vegetation will require a big water supply. The guys at the risk based assessments in Louisiana made some good points on the limitations of the water sources. We should come with ingenious solutions for that too.

parascheva's picture
parascheva 5. December 2014 - 17:11

This is a power center indeed and it would be amazing if this project could be realized in more than one city. Those towers look like the ones that we are seeing in fantasy movies and the children will certainly enjoy them. Finding interesting solutions for the clean air problem will attract more investor for this kind of projects. You can check out the Middletown Air Conditioning And Heating if you want to adopt one of the new air conditioning technologies.

antonovici's picture
antonovici 13. December 2014 - 17:31

It has a green glow indeed and it look amazing. This is the perfect example of the fact that it is important what materials are you using inside and outside and how the light is helping the material to show its real power. If you use the granite countertops Keller TX you will see how amazing your room will look especially in the afternoon sun.

galihadiputro87's picture
galihadiputro87 6. April 2015 - 5:44

It would be spectacular and fascinating for us to be able to build such cities. This project looks like a city of the future and hopefully we'll see it for real soon. http://goo.gl/wIUCib | http://goo.gl/Shw2BH | http://kdrcyber.com/review/cipto-junaedy/ | http://goo.gl/KvliXx

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