Foster to design major sustainable development in South Korea

Aug 31, 2009
  • Article by Online Editor

Foster + Partners have announced that they have won the international competition to design the masterplan for the expansion of the Incheon Free Economic Zone in South Korea. The firm will collaborate with PHA and Mobility in Chain to devise the self-sufficient, sustainable development, located to the northeast of Seoul on KangHwa and OnJin-gun islands.

The 300 square kilometre site has a ‘transportation spine’ running through its centre, around which the zone will develop organically. Phases of construction will last 10-15 years, during which time the population is expected to grow from 35,000 to 320,000.

There will be three distinct areas within the masterplan, all connected by a Light Rapid Transport system. The north of KangHwa island will be a centre of inter-Korean economic cooperation, taking advantage of the nearby Incheon airport and the area’s proximity to North Korea. The south of KangHwa island will be a mixed-use area, combining green technology industry with community, cultural and residential buildings. OnJin-gun island will be transformed into a sustainable resort. The plan will eventually connect North and South Korea, and the Incheon airport, via the world’s longest bridge.

It is anticipated that the Incheon Free Economic Zone will become a national centre for sustainable industry, manufacturing photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, and developing new products and technology at a research and development institute in the south of KangHwa.

As well as acting as a centre for sustainable industry, the buildings and landscaping of the site itself will incorporate sustainable features such as biomass energy generation, the use of hydrogen fuel cells and hydroponic roofs. At present the land is predominantly used for agriculture, so the masterplan envisages introducing terraced farming on the roofs of the industrial buildings.

Grant Broker, a design director at Foster + Partners, was quoted on the firm’s website as saying, “Working at a very strategic level, we saw the masterplan as an opportunity to explore the sustainable potential of this extraordinary island, exploiting its pivotal position close to Seoul and its rugged landscape.”

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