11 may 12  | inhabitat

Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Unveil Dancing Dragons Towers With Scaly, Breathable Skin

by Mark Boyer

When architects Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill design a new building, people tend to pay attention. With projects like the Burj Khalifa and Kingdom Tower under their belt, the firm is one of the world's leading skyscraper designers. So naturally, we perked up today when AS + GG unveiled Dancing Dragons, a pair of striking supertall skyscrapers that will reshape the skyline of Seoul, South Korea. Inspired by mythical Korean dragons, the 88- and 77-story towers feature a breathable scale-like skin through which air can circulate.

We get the dragon part, but what about the dancing? "There's a sympathetic and complementary relationship between the two masses at the level of the cuts, almost as though they were dancing," explains Adrian Smith in a press release.

With operable 600-mm vents through which air can circulate, the towers’ scale-like skin is actually a performative element that will be used for ventilation. The design team also includes Chicago-based energy and engineering firm PositivEnergy Practice, which is providing consulting on the two towers’ energy-efficient systems. Some of the green features will include photovoltaic arrays on the roof surfaces, radiant heating, fuel-cell cogeneration units at the basement level,  and triple-glazed windows to minimize heat loss.

The angular, mixed-use skyscrapers will be located in Seoul’s Yongsan International Business District, and they will be part of the larger Yongsan master plan by Studio Daniel Libeskind. The 450- and 390-meter-tall towers will include residential, “officetel” and retail elements. V-shaped massing cuts at the top and bottom of the mini-towers help reinforce the buildings’ angular geometry, and the cuts are arranged in a radial pattern that can be seen as viewers at ground level move around the towers. According to Smith + Gill, those massing cuts are meant to echo the eaves of traditional Korean temples.