Out There: Studio Daniel Libeskind’s Archipelago 21, Seoul, Korea

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A downtown development meant for living.

“Bbali! Bbali!” Koreans cry—faster, faster!—and no city is building the future faster than Seoul. Rivaling Tokyo as the world’s largest megalopolis, the South Korean capital has led the way in replacing grim apartment blocks with parks, cultural complexes and neck-straining skyscrapers. Perhaps the most ambitious makeover is Studio Daniel Libeskind’s Archipelago 21 for the Yongsan International Business District, a new downtown development nearly twice the size of New York’s Hudson Yards. No project features a longer roster of A-list architects, including Renzo Piano (who designed the tallest spire) and Danish wunderkind Bjarke Ingels. But what makes Libeskind’s master plan, scheduled to be completed in 2016, a livable (rather than theoretical) model for the cities of the future is his insistence on restoring residents’ access to the waterfront, as well as burying shopping and parking underground “to give public space back to the city,” he says. Given the resurgence of cities and urban living, Seoul is a preview of the metropolis to come.

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